Raôul Duguay

Alllô Tôulmônd

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Raôul Duguay's first solo LP, Alllô Tôulmônd (a creative spelling of "Hello Everybody"), remains his best effort. It yielded a classic track, "La Bittt à Tibi." Very shortly it became strongly identified with the Quebec nationalist movement. Duguay sings of his native region, the rural Abitibi (northwestern Quebec), over a playful music that combines elements of progressive rock and Quebec traditional music (including a performance by famous violinist Monsieur Pointu). The singer puts self-identification on the same level as universal love, punching in all his favorite symbols, including 33 "ô" syllables in the word "colonisé" (colonized) -- a not-so-gratuitous tour de force some people have yet to notice. Written for the most part with Michel Lefrançois and performed by members of Maneige and Robert Charlebois' band, the music shifts between driving art rock numbers (in "Tôuttt Étô Bôuttt," Duguay tries so hard to sound heavy it becomes comical) and touching ballads like "Le Désert" and the beautiful "Le Vôyage." The latter, written and sung with Quebec poet/playwright Michel Garneau, stands among his most memorable compositions, a 12-minute piece constantly shifting between 3/4 and 4/4 meters, a reflection on Truth (capital "T" please) over an uplifting melody. Duguay's voice -- especially his strong vibrato -- requires some getting used to and anybody unable to appreciate the French lyrics will lose an important dimension of this album. Nevertheless, as a product of the '70s it is still worth hearing. Most of the tracks have been included on CD collections, but the LP itself has not been reissued.

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