Chants dans la Nuit

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Octobre released their fourth studio album, the 1977 L'Autoroute des Rêves, on a major record label (CBS). For the first time the group had access to a decent recording budget and could work with extra musicians, even a small orchestra. Scaling things down a little, they put together a big concert on March 9, 1978, at the Théâtre Saint-Denis in Montreal. The quartet was augmented by a four-piece horn section and three female vocalists. Many considered this performance to be the group's finest hour and luckily it had been recorded. Chants dans la Nuit came out a few months later. It presents a cross section of leader Pierre Flynn's strongest compositions, from "La Maudite Machine," by then an obligatory encore, to "Le Vent Se Lève," one of the best achievements from the then-current album. All pieces were completely rearranged to make the most out of this expanded lineup, and two songs were released for the first time. The 11-minute "Brazilia," a South-American extravaganza beginning with an impressive solo by bassist Mario Légaré, can be considered the Holy Grail of Octobre fans, since this live album was not reissued on CD and the song was never released elsewhere. "Le Chant du Souterrain," an energy peak in the group's performance at the time, was kept alive by Flynn, who continued to play it during his solo career (a live recording of it from Octobre's 1989 reunion show was also included on the collection 1972-1989). Sound quality is very good, especially when compared to other Quebec live recordings from this decade, and the performances are top Octobre ("L'Oiseau Rouge" and "Voyage en Mer" are simply incredible, the show-opener "Survivance" surprisingly gripping). It's a shame Chants dans la Nuit was not entirely reissued on CD. A collector's item.

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