Robert Charlebois

Robert Charlebois, Vol. 1

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This was Robert Charlebois' very first LP. His beginnings had little to do with all that came after. Therefore, this album holds only limited interest, mostly to collectors. Released in 1965 by the record label Select (a home for young folksingers at the time), Robert Charlebois, Vol. 1 introduced a young (he was 21 years old) singer/songwriter, a follower of Félix Leclerc, Léo Ferré, and Jacques Brel, similar in style to his contemporaries Jean-Pierre Ferland and Claude Léveillé. The lyrics were clean, sung in Parisian French with a special care devoted to enunciation -- a class act all the way. The song "La Boulée" had already gotten him noticed in folk clubs. The other numbers on this LP added little more. Two exceptions are worth noting: "Hommage à João Gilberto," a bossa nova that already announced the singer's fondness for Latin rhythms, and "Les Canayens, Y Z-Ont Ça de Bon," where he used a language closer to popular Québecois and first showed his talent for the satire. The vocal delivery remains restrained, well-groomed. The only glimpse of originality can be found in the arrangements, which push things into the jazz realm. Choosing Paul de Margerie and his jazz ensemble to back him up was not an innocent choice, and foretold the inclusion of le Quatuor du Jazz Libre du Québec on his fourth LP, the groundbreaking Robert Charlebois Louise Forestier.

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