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Upon Velveatur

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Album Review

Although Roger Rodier is Canadian, this rare early-'70s singer/songwriter album sounds almost as if it could have been made in Britain, such is its similarity to folk-rock recordings of the time by the likes of Al Stewart. In fact Rodier faintly resembles Stewart vocally, and has an inclination toward gentle, slightly sad songs mixing acoustic guitar, orchestration, and female backup vocals (a combination used by Nick Drake on Bryter Layter). But his voice, as a singer or composer, isn't nearly as distinctive as that of, say, Stewart or Drake. Upon Velveatur is a passable effort in this tributary, Rodier's mildly lisping singing evoking both delicate sensitivity and a certain sense of detached observation. He and his songs are a little troubled, but not distraught, with the exception of "While My Castle's Burning," whose angrily strummed guitars, dramatic strings, and vitriolic vocals project muted rage, albeit of a fairly inarticulate kind. Its mixture of placidity and brooding reflection might casually recall Drake, but Rodier wasn't working on as high a level. [The 2006 CD reissue on Sunbeam adds five bonus tracks, four taken from 1969 singles, the other from the 1972 non-LP B-side "Easy Song." Generally speaking, these are less ornate than the material on Upon Velveatur, though they have a similar light folk-rock base; "Have You?" sounds a little like George Harrison's folkiest early solo material, and the two songs from the first 45, "L'Herbe"/"Tu Viendras," are sung in French.]

Biography

Genre: Vocal

Years Active: '70s

Roger Rodier put out an obscure album on Columbia in 1972, Upon Velveatur, that was very much in line with the folk-rock-oriented singer/songwriter trends of the era. It was at least as much indebted to British sounds from that genre as North American ones, however, with its gentle breathy vocals, subdued melancholy, and combination of predominantly acoustic guitars with subtle strings and some female backup vocals. Prior to the LP, Rodier had issued a couple of singles on the local Montreal label...
Full Bio
Upon Velveatur, Roger Rodier
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