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Robert Charlebois & Louise Forestier

Robert Charlebois & Louise Forestier

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Album Review

Never before and never after in the history of Québec rock music has an artist undergone such a profound transformation in such little time. Robert Charlebois' previous album was a collection of acoustic folk songs in the French tradition of singer/songwriters Georges Brassens and Félix Leclerc: intelligent but clean and well-spoken. In 1967, Charlebois went to California. He came back a rock & roll dynamo, a stage beast. Ditching his three LPs of guitar strumming, he started anew and recorded Robert Charlebois/Louise Forestier with a rock band and the Quatuor du Jazz Libre du Québec, Quebec's first free jazz quartet. He worked with poets Claude Péloquin and Marcel Sabourin to write psychedelic lyrics closer to the spoken dialect of Québecers, while including plenty of trippy plays on words (Sabourin could be very surrealistic at the time). "Lindberg" can be considered the first Québec psychedelic rock song. Released as a single, it had a tremendous impact on the flower power generation, if only because it included swearing — something never heard before on the prude province's airwaves. "California," "La Marche du Président," "Lindberg," "CPR Blues" also feature singer Louise Forestier and are all mind-expanding rock songs, each one revolutionary at the time. "Engagement," a seven-minute stone jam, established Charlebois as a screamer, a mad performer. Everywhere on this record his sense of melody persists, but the arrangements, the freedom, the license were unheard of. A Québec artist, used to the severeness of Québec culture, had seen San Francisco and simply couldn't do things the right way anymore. This album had a similar impact on young Québecers as the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band — and, honestly, it's almost as good. Anyone, French speaker or not, interested in psychedelic rock will enjoy this wild album. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Biography

Born: 25 June 1944 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Genre: French Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Robert Charlebois is one of the most enduring figures in Quebec rock history and surely has been the most influential during his career which spans five decades. During this time he started as a folk singer, shocked Quebec by turning to an extreme psychedelic rocker, came back to a singer/songwriter credo, and evolved as time went by into an adult pop/rock star. He also acted in a few TV series at the beginning of his career and as a businessman...
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Robert Charlebois & Louise Forestier, Robert Charlebois
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