Jean-Pierre Ferland

Les Vierges du Québec

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Three years after the release of Soleil and much touring, Jean-Pierre Ferland came back with Les Vierges du Québec (The Virgins of Quebec). This time, exit the orchestra, the lush arrangements, and the soaring melodies. Written with guitarist J.P. Lauzon, this album is plain rock, featuring a stripped-down quartet of musicians. It remains somewhat audacious (although a lot less so than Jaune and Soleil). The outstanding track is the opener, "Qu'est-Ce Que Ça Peut Ben Faire" (which could be translated to "Who Cares"). Its mini-Moog line makes it instantly recognizable, its "rejected bum" topic made it an enduring song covered by many younger rock stars. Yet, the album's best-known song is the ballad "T'es Mon Amour, T'es Ma Maîtresse," although not in this straight solo version -- it was re-recorded the same year as a duet with Ginette Reno and that syrupy version became a huge hit in francophone countries. "Women's Lib" is surprisingly reactionary in regards to feminism, but it fits the crooner persona of the singer -- it would have gained from a more tongue-in-cheek attitude. "Simone" and "Le Motel Alfred" offer two good rock moments, while "Sniff...Sniff..." must be one of the most charming 50-second songs ever recorded. "Bonsoir" answers one of Ferland's earlier songs, "Bonjour" (from the 1969 LP Un Peu Plus Loin). The title track shows ambition, but its overlong instrumental overture and its Pink Floyd-esque modulated electric piano are not strong enough to lift the weak melody. A good album overall but less striking than the previous two, Les Vierges du Québec is the last of Ferland's art rock period and was reissued on CD.

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