Raôul Duguay

On S'M Ô Kébèk

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On S'M Ô Kébèk smells like the end of a record contract. Raôul Duguay's fifth and final album for "Capitol" is a hodgepodge of old tunes and unreleased material packed as a three-sided LP (actually a double album, but side four was left blank); the number "three" holds a special meaning in the singer's spirituality. Side one presents songs from Duguay's first three LPs: Alllô Tôulmônd, L'Envol, and M. The selection feels strange, and not only because his biggest hit, "La Bittt à Tibi," is missing. Side two contains two unreleased studio cuts. "Côrps et Âme" is a forgettable ballad foretelling his early-'80s material (Chanteur de Pomme, Douceur). "Ô Kébèk," written with Claude Lemay, is more interesting. A hymn to Quebec, it bears the prog rock stylings of the keyboardist's group, Pollen (Duguay appeared on their sole LP in 1976). "Le Vôyage" is an old favorite, here recorded live in February 1978. Side three is comprised of a 19-minute piece, "Ô Ôu l'Invisible Enfant Ôu" (Ô or the Invisible Child Or). Also recorded live, it consists of a mantra. The sitar establishes the mood, followed by some acoustic guitar to accompany the 33 lines of text and a long keyboard chord during which the singer exhorts the audience to join hands. The recording is crude, and for a piece meant to establish a link between performer and audience and to invite meditation there is an awful lot of coughing and interruptions. The bottom line is: no track here is essential or even important. This long-deleted LP will interest only the completist (and turntablists looking for virgin vinyl).

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