Saturday, November 29, 2014

Hybride - 1977 - Ca n'a Pas D'Importance

Ca n'a Pas D'Importance

01. À mes amis inconnus
02. Réponse à moi-même
03. Golf E 330
04. Ménage
05. Trouble
06. Un désir
07. 20000 ° réveil
08. Mon Pégaze

Robert Defer [aka Robby]: guitar
Bernard Heck [aka Barney]: vocals
Michel Arnold [aka Doudou]: guitar
Joseph Dato: bass
Jean-Jacques Martinez: drums

Obscure pearl coming from France, the group Hybride has little known history, being active in the second half of the 70s, when it launched its unique and rare album. The guitarist was Robert Defer, who joined Ange in the early 80s and other small local groups.
The disc "Ça n'a pas d'importance", 1977, is divided in 8 short tracks of typical hard rock of the late 70s, with a few doses of prog and other ballads. Lyrics in French and good work on guitars, with some fuzz moments, and heavy drums mark the sound. Emphasis on "À mes amis inconnus", "Trouble" and "Mon Pégaze", but the sound is quite competent, with several good moments.

Hard rock band HYBRIDE created in Belfort (Franche-Comte), where hailed her guitarist Robert Defer and much better known prog simfo-rock group ANGE. Apparently following the example of his famous countrymen HYBRIDE  too soon began to execute Progressive Rock and even with the prefix Heavy.

Gnadenloser Paarungstrieb - 1978 - Gnadenloser Paarungstrieb

Gnadenloser Paarungstrieb 
Gnadenloser Paarungstrieb

01. Erwin The Funky Refrigerator(6:17)
02. Mindsurfer’s Serenade(14:35)
03. Gnadenloser Paarungstrieb(8:55)
04. R.R.S. Blues(8:53)

Captain Ilor/guitar,bass
Swara Samrat/vocals,bass,flute,moog
Karl Deter/drums,percussion

This is one of a number of Coloured Rain LP releases issued in generic customised sleeves. Although the front cover states "FOR RADIO USE ONLY" at the top right, and "Coloured Rain promo" at the bottom, these were never promo items but were on general sale at inflated prices from the label's mail-order service. Some copies came with an extra voting card, which explains the "Coloured Rain Charts" pretend promo copy series.

Two pressings exist...
Pressing 1: printed orange labels
Pressing 2: black labels (some written on with wax marker)

Standard series sleeve (written on with wax coloured marker) with insert.
The insert credits the album as: Interpreted by Captain Ilor, Swar Samrat and Friends.

Lots of screaming guitars, bubble basses, hammond sounds and weird stories about a funky refrigerator named Erwin and other psychonautic events.Only 100 copies (audiophile 180-gram) of this megascarce prog/psychrock highlight were manufactured in handlettered laminated promo covers with insert. This testpressing was produced because the planned cover painting by cartoonist GERD BAUER did not get ready and the musicians could not wait any longer, but were not satisfied with other design concepts. We’re still waiting for the comic cover!

The video is from Captain Ilor's 1982 album

Cochise - 1972 - So Far

So Far

01. Cajun Girl 3:20
02. Blind Love 4:20
03. Dance, Dance, Dance 3:52
04. Many Times 3:10
05. Diamonds 3:20
06. Thunder In The Crib 3:52
07. Up And Down 5:30
08. Wishing Well 2:55
09. Midnight Moonshine 5:25

Stewart Brown - Vocals, Guitar
B.J. Cole - Steel Guitar
Mick Grabham - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Rick Wills - Bass, Vocals
John Willie Wilson - Drums
Steve Marriott - Piano, Vocals
Roy O'Temro - Drums

In my opinion, there are basically two sides to Cochise - when they played country-rock, they played mellow, laid-back, quiet and pleasant (but very talented and well-written!) country-tinged songs that were uniquely theirs and unlike any other band.  I don't think a comparison with, say, Creedence Clearwater Revival would do them justice - the two bands were nothing alike.  Where John Fogerty would belt out his lyrics, Cochise would take it nice an' easy, as if inviting you to sit down on a sunny day and sip on a glass of lemonade...  Where they (Cochise) actually rocked, their country tinge would disappear and they would sound more like a great 70s blues-rock band, not unlike Free or Bad Company!   B.J.'s pedal steel was still very much present in the mix, and it was weird to hear this essentially made-for-country instrument on such decidedly non-country numbers, but at the same time it all somehow worked!

Cochise - 1971 - Swallow Tales

Swallow Tales

01. Love's Made A Fool Of You (02:51)
02. Jed Collder (03:18)
03. Down Country Girls (01:49)
04. Home Again (03:41)
05. Lost Hearts (03:25)
06. Strange Images (02:03)
07. Where I Sing The Blues (04:09)
08. Another Day (05:16)
09. Axiom Of Maria (07:02)
10. Can I Break Your Heart (05:03)
11. O Come All Ye Faithful (01:20)

– John Gilbert – lead vocals
– Mick Grabham – acoustic & electric guitars, vocals
– B.J. Cole (Brian John Cole) – pedal steel guitar, dobro
– Ricky Wills – bass, percussion, vocals
– John “Willie” Wilson – drums, percussion, vocals
– Tim Renwick, Cal Batchelor – solo guitar (08)
– Caleb Quaye – piano (04,06,10)
– Steve Marriott – piano & backing vocals (07)
– Nigel Olsson – harmony vocals (06)
– Dick Taylor – producer

Cochise was largely the brainchild of former Plastic Penny lead guitarist Mick Grabham.  When Plastic Penny folded Grabham started recruiting for a new band,  Formed in 1969 the original Cochise lineup featured the talents of former Bluesology singer Stewart Brown, pedal steel guitarist BJ Cole, ex-Taste drummer John 'Willie' Wilson, and former Jokers Wild bassist Ricky Wills  Having played the college and club circuit, they found a backer in the form of Andrew Lauder who helped get them a contract with United Artists.
Following a personnel shakeup that saw original vocalist Steven Brown replaced by former Might Joe Young singer John Gilbert (Brown decided to retire from music and head off for a life in the Mediterranean), the band returned with their sophomore release - 1971's "Swallow Tales".  Self-produced the album found  B.J. Cole and Mick Grabham picking up all of the writing duties which meant the band's overall sound remained largely unaltered with another heavy country-rock feel to the bulk of these eleven tracks.  If you were into early 1970's country-rock/Americana groups like The Band, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Poco, etc., then tracks like 'Jed Collder' and 'Another Day' were probably going to be right up your aural alley.  I certainly didn't have a problem with those efforts, but I'll readily admit that I was partial to the group's more commercial (read rock) oriented songs like 'Home Again' and 'Why I Sing the Blues'.  That said, even on their best efforts these guys lacked a certain originality that would have served to segregate them from the tidal wave of competitors.

- If their 'toughened up' cover of Buddy Holly's 'Love's Made a Fool of You' served as your introduction to the band, you probably weren't going to be all that impressed.  The performance itself wasn't bad, but simply didn't have enough going for it to make you forget the original (or the score of other cover versions).  Not the smartest choice of a US single
- Penned by Grabham, 'Jed Collder' was a straight-ahead country-rocker that's always reminded me a bit of what The Band might have sounded like had they decided to record a truly commercial album.  
- Kicked along by Cole's pedal steel guitar, 'Down Country Girls' had an even stronger country-rock influence.  With an up-tempo melody it was one of the tracks that actually grew on me the more I heard it.
- 'Home Again' was a pretty pop ballad that also served as one of the album's most commercial offerings.  While the track served to showcase Gilbert's voice (he had a nifty haunting edge in his delivery), the secret weapon on this one was actually Rick Willis' dynamic bass.
- Largely because it found them stepping away from country-rock, 'Lost Hearts' was a welcome change of pace.  Musically this one had an interesting Spanish influence.  Wilson's pounding drums and Grabham's acoustic guitar solo actually gave the song what was almost a Flamenco feel to it.  Very nice !!!      
- Kind of a bluesy ballad, 'Strange Images' was okay, but never really kicked into gear.
- Dropping the country-rock influences for another straight ahead rocker, 'Why I Sing the Blues' was side one's best performance.  Once again, the rock genre served to showcase Gilbert's likeable voice and while the song wasn't the most original offering you've every heard, if sounded surprisingly rugged and pounding.  Maybe it's just my ears, but I think you could hear the late Steve Marriott's ragged voice on backing vocals.
- 'Another Day' started side two with the album's prettiest melody and the song that was actually best suited for commercial airplay (which probably explains why United Artists ignored it).  Imagine a really good Rusty Young and Poco song and you'll get a feel for this one.  
- I've never been sure what to make of 'Axiom of Maria'.  The song started out with a weird instrumental segment and then drifted into a odd country-tinged number that never really found a groove to settle into.  The church bell closing didn't do a great deal for me other, though I will admit that Grabham turned in the album's best solo on this one.
- 'Can I Break Your Heart' was another country-rock number, but this one had a great melody, showcasing the band's tight knit harmony vocals.
- Arranged by Cole and clearly intended to showcase his pedal steel guitar, the album ended on a pretty instrumental version of 'O Come All Ye Faithful'.

Cochise - 1970 - Cochise


1. Velvet Mountain (Mick Grabham) - 3:26
2. China (Grabham)-3:55
3. Trafalgar Day (B. J. Cole) - 5:08
4. Moment And The End (Cole) - 5:58
5. Watch This Space (Stewart Brown) - 3:56
6. 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) (Paul Simon) - 3:39
7. Past Loves (Brown) - 3:38
8. Painted Lady (Grabham) - 7:03
9. Black Is The Colour (Traditional) - 0:56

*Stewart Brown - Guitar, Vocals
*B.J. Cole - Dobro, Guitar, Pedal Steel, Cello, Steel Guitar
*Mick Grabham - Organ, Guitar, Piano, Keyboards, Vocals
*Rick Wills - Bass, Vocals
*John Sly Wilson - Percussion, Drums, Vocals

 There was a lot of talent involved in the making of Cochise's debut album. Guitarist Mick Grabham went on to play in Procol Harum; bassist Rick Wills would later join Foreigner; B.J. Cole would be an in-demand pedal steel player on many sessions over the next few decades; drummer Willie Wilson would play with Pink Floyd; Dick Taylor, who'd just left the Pretty Things, produced; and Storm Thorgerson of Hipgnosis (famous for working on Pink Floyd LP covers) designed a striking and, for the period, daring cover of a woman's unadorned breasts.

The credits on a resume don't always guarantee an outstanding album, however, and Cochise is one of those '60s-turning-into-'70s records that treads an uneasy line between eclectic diversity and a lack of direction. It's so-so period 1970 British rock, distinguished just slightly by a more country-ish flavor than the norm, courtesy of Cole's pedal steel. It's not country-rock, however, and some of the songs in fact owe little or nothing to the form.

Numbers like "Painted Lady" and "Moment and the End" are tense, meandering hard rock tunes; the latter cut, in fact (as well as sections of some others, like "Velvet Mountain") sounds kind of like late-'60s/early-'70s Guess Who LP filler. There's a wistful rural feel to parts of the material that suggests some promise, but that mood's shattered by an unnecessary, pedestrian heavy rock cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "59th Street Bridge Song."

Catharsis - 1977 - Et S'Aimer... Et Mourir

Et S'Aimer... Et Mourir

01. Dis oui (4:01)
02. Et s'aimer (2:36)
03. Dza (4:17)
04. Vie (5:51)
05. Tia (5:23)
06. Et mourir (11:08)

- Yves Deroubaix / guitar, vocals
- Roland Bocquet / keyboards, vocals
- Charles Eddie / percussion, piano, bass
- Charlotte / vocals
- Patrick Moulia / vocals

Catharsis - 1976 - Le Bolero du Veau des Dames

Le Bolero du Veau des Dames

01. Palace (5:39)
02. Tango (2:45)
03. Docteur Pleu (6:02)
04. Styx (3:07)
05. Melba (5:10)
06. Le Bolero du Veau des Dames (10:31)

- Roland Bocquet / organ, piano, vocal
- Carles Eddie / percussions, vibraphone
- Claude / guitar, sitar
- Michel / bass

Le Bolero Du Veau Des Dames (76) is the first album of new material for Catharsis since Pop Poèmes of 73, because the following two releases (32 Mars and Illuminations were both recorded in 71 along Masq, their debut album. This album stands a bit apart in Catharsis' discography as there are only of the four usual members (the other reappearing for the following year's S'Aimer Et Mourrir. Replaced by members Claude and Michel (no last names given), the quartet probably signed their most symphonic oeuvre (although I've not heard half their albums) and arguably sounded the least like Floyd, although there are still some strong hints. BTW, don't be fooled by the vol 5 on the Spalax Cd reissue, this is their seventh album.

Although an organ-dominated sound, Catharsis' music sounds a tad different, as Bocquet's organ is a Farsifa, rather than the usual Hammond. Right from the first notes of Falace' you'll see easily that you are in a very different kind of musical realm. Some tracks like Melba still have a Floydian streak, but most include a fair bit of very tasteful brand of symphonic rock between Camel and Genesis. As with all Catharsis albums LBDVDD is hardly clocking around the 30 minutes mark.

The best track of the album is clearly the 10-mins title track, which spends all its duration throughout, changing through a myriad of moods and ambiances much like a better version of Camel (and even sometimes close to Caravan and Genesis) and French compatriots Carpe Diem. Also among the better tracks is Docteur Pleu, which has some delightful spacey sounds as well as some near-orgasmic breathing over a not-so steady beat, before breaking into a very Genesis-type of close. The weaker track would be Tango, with its staccato rhythm, but even then this is a stretch call it bad.

Catharsis might just stand as one of France most singular groups, this album is probably their proggiest (in the light of symphonic prog) and it seems that Catharsis has forgotten a bit their psych roots and developed a stronger symphonic sound. .

Catharsis - 1975 - Illuminations


01. Aube (3:43)
02. La mort des amants (3:06)
03. Ballade des pendus (3:49)
04. En revenant de la noce (2:00)
05. Mignonne allons voir si la rose... (1:58)
06. Le canard blanc (2:31)
07. Illuminations (3:11)
08. Poèmes du 17e siècle (2:13)
09. Alchimie du verbe (2e partie) (7:35)

- Patrik Moulia / guitars, percussion
- Charlie Eddi / drums, percussion
- Yves de Roubaix / bass, guitar
- Roland Bocquet / keyboards
- Allain Geoffroy / piano, charango
- Charlotte / vocals, percussion

This is a unique sounding record where soprano female vocal melodies with acoustic guitar and drums dominate the sound. This is mellow, atmospheric and often dark sounding music with no lyrics. Not a lot of variation although synths, piano, percussion and bass are used as well. Her vocals remind me of Synne from IN THE WOODS... although the music here doesn't come close to what IN THE WOODS... brings to the table.

"Aube" opens with the birds singing as synths, vocal melodies and percussion arrive and contine throughout. Lots of atmosphere. "La Mort Des Amants" opens with strummed guitar as percussion, synths and vocal melodies rise to the surface. "Ballade Des Pendus" has a steady drum beat as organ and affects come and go. Vocal melodies arrive after 2 minutes. Cool song. "En Revent De La Noce" has an almost circus-like melody slowed down, with vocal melodies over top.

"Mignonne Allons Voir Si La Rose..." features keys with vocal melodies. She laughs a couple of times during this one. "Le Canard Blanc" has these light sounding keys, almost classical-like with more vocal melodies. "Illuminations" opens with organ and vocal melodies as heavy drums come in. "Poemes Du 17e Siecle" is a brighter more uptempo track as she uses her vocals in unique ways like she's having sex. She laughs out loud at one point. "Alchime Du Vertbe(2e Partie)" features piano, strummed guitar and the birds are back.

Catharsis - 1973 - 32 mars

32 mars

01. 32 mars (11:08)
02. Masq (4:16)
03. Les Chevrons (4:59)
04. 32 mars (3:07)

- Yves de Roubaix / bass, guitar, vocals
- Charlie Eddi / drums, percussion
- Roland Bocquet / keyboards, vocals
- Patrick Mouila / vocals, guitar, percussion

Want a groovy and psychedelic sounding album? One that is a bit peculiar yet fun? Well then this might just well satisfy your needs. Starting with a cool organ playing a catchy tune, this grows to a full spectacle of psychedelic and experimental showmanship. From the entire band playing in a full fledged lineup to the solo piano playing and then to tribal percussion and other instruments (such as a wacky style sax), this opening piece has the full gamut of what this band was capable of - not only in terms of playing and instrumentation but also in being able to create varied psychedelic textures and soundscapes. This track alone is such great fun to listen to; it's a great ride made up of smaller segments that make it up a varied whole. The goofiness shown in some parts of the tracks balances the more psychedelic and spacey parts but does not ruin them at all; on the contrary, it adds distinction to their sound. The whole album flows very naturally from one track to the other, linked by the common sound and style, the organ and the occasional humorous additions. The drumming here is very good, as it gives the great flow of the album and the excellent rhythm that the album has. The organ gives it a somewhat transcendental aspect, and is balanced out by the other instruments and the way the music is arranged. I find the tunes to be very well organized. "Les Chevrons" for example starts out with the organ dominating it but ends up with the whole band joining in a beautiful harmony and a gorgeous vocal line. This album is well worth checking out!

Too bad it is so short an album! Once it's over, you'll want to listen to it again.

Catharsis - 1972 - Les Chevrons

Les Chevrons

01. Ouverture (2:17)
02. Rien (5:17)
03. Solstice (3:06)
04. Les Chevrons (4:30)
05. Sirius (6:33)
06. Chelum (6:56)

- Yves de Roubaix / bass, guitar, vocals
- Charlie Eddi / drums, percussion
- Roland Bocquet / keyboards, vocals
- Patrick Mouila / vocals, guitar, percussion

By 1972 the line-up of Catharsis was shortened to a quartet, which would carry the band until its demise.Niles Brown, Charlotte and Allain Geoffroy were all gone and the style of the band was limited to a typical bass/guitar/organ/drums format.The remaining members Roland Bocquet, Yves de Roubaix, Charles Eddie and Patrick Moulia recorded the next album at the Studio Davout in Paris.The single ''Les chevrons'' was quite succesful and the album was finally released on Saravah under the title of ''Vol.2-Les chevrons''.

The non-presence of an extended core worked well for Catharsis and the hypnotic, sinister sound of their incosistent debut was replaced by a much more energetic approach, which was still rooted in Psychedelic Rock, but bursts strong amounts of passion and dynamics.In fact they added in their style a certain and pronounced Classical flavor, always in dark and haunting realms, often getting into serious drama with the presence of obscure chants.The music remains in the hands of Roland Bocquet, who drives Catharsis' ideas through his long organ fanfares to symphonic, psychedelic and intense textures, which can be both relaxed and bombastic.Moreover the band now holds some similarities to ANGE's debut album, having a muddy production surrounded by captivating Classical influences.A very short offering by Catharsis again, clocking at only 30 minutes, ''Les chevrons'' suffers a bit from some needed variety, as the whole album seems to be covered by Bocquet's organ moves with little space for guitar-driven textures or any other activity far from the lush keyboard arrangements.

This is a certain improvement over ''Masq''.Organ-based Psychedelic Rock with obvious symphonic vibes, played with power and passion.Recommended.

Catharsis - 1971 - Masq


01. Masq (6:16)
02. 4 art 6 (8:44)
03. Cantique (6:59)
04. Tunnel exatique (7:19)

- Roland Bocquet / organ, piano, glock, vocal
- Niles Brown / guitar, violin, clochettes, vocal
- Charlotte / vocal, violin, crecelle, clochettes, grelots
- Yves de Roubaix / guitar, vocal, crecelle
- Charles Eddie / percussion, tarabocca
- Allain Geoffroy / charango, piano, moulinette, vocal
- Patrick Moulia / guitar, tambourin, scie, guimbarde, crecelle, harmonica, vocal

A French band with a very distinctive sound centered around Roland Bocquet's ghostly Farfisa organ. Their first album (recorded March 1971 at Studio ETA) was a mixture of easily accessible tunes, strange wordless chanting, high hippie spirits, Arabian elements, strong percussion and a few avant-garde excursions. Their music had a very spontaneous feeling, as if the group was assembled for some kind of occult ritual using music to reach a higher consciousness. Arguably they had some common ground with the early Pink Floyd and Amon Düül philosophically, but it lead to other conclusions musically. Masq is also notable for its surrealistic cover design.

Three members quit the group before Les Chevrons (recorded December 1971) but their sound didn't change much. There were more tracks and they were more compressed (giving way to more melodies), but this didn't spoil the characteristic spontaneous feel of their charming music.

Quite a lot more material was recorded in 1971, but not released until 1975. 32 Mars contained the title track in a long (11:30) and short (3:06) format, in addition to the tracks "Masq" (a hit single in France) and "Les Chevrons" in alternate versions. Clocking in at just 23 minutes it was short even for French albums of the time.

Illuminations contained recordings from June and November 1971 featuring Charlotte's distinctive chanting on many tracks. Her academic vocal training shines through (the members were former music academy students), sometimes close to Donella Del Monaco in Opus Avantra. The musical variety was greater than before, ranging from the trancendental "Aube" via uncommon treatments of music from the 17th and 18th Century, to the childish "Mignonne Allons Voir". Among these short pieces are some of Catharsis' finest recordings. For the next two albums, Catharsis reduced themselves to background musicians for Bernard Verley's spoken, sung and sometimes bellowed recitations of verses by Rimbaud. However, the albums are good in their own right.

After a break, Roland Boquet introduced a revamped Catharsis line-up in 1975. Lei Boléro Du Veau Des Dames was a more down-to-earth effort containing rather ordinary instrumental music similar to the better movie soundtracks. This was nice background music but lacking a bit in intensity.

Catharsis' last album Et S'Aimer El Mourir was remote from their early albums, even if it reunited many old members. Their approach was now more jazzy, perhaps comparable to late seventies Camel or even Schicke, Fuhrs & Fröhling minus their mellotrons. After this, Roland Bocquet recorded a great solo album.

Four long tracks on this debut album from a group that had their own distinctive sound, even though they were obviously Floyd-inspired, but with some more symphonic touches than Pink had. Indeed outside the strange ethereal female vocals, courtesy from Charlotte, but the groups was a septet. Through a percussive and gradual start, the track develops into an interesting psych rock, over which Charlotte's vocals (sometimes joined by the others) are soaring, then bizarre effects and percussion derail the progression of the title track and render its outcome unpredictable. We are going thru a few Bolero (Ravel) measures, than joined scats vocals, then an uncertain landing. Rising from that shaky ground and with baffling percussions and effects, 4 Art 6 develops slowly, remaining a bit irritatingly on low dynamics that when they finally come to acceptable level, there are some very weird (even a bit objectionable) vocals.

Actually the main interest of this album is also its flaw, because the scat vocals are over-used throughout the duration of the album. And starting the flipside, Cantique is not about to change that with Charlotte's scats taking on a mystical or liturgical note and if the male pagan chants coming just after, then superposed to Charlotte's. tunnel Extatique is hust more of the same that youy'fe so far abnd even induce a slight boredom or irritation.

By the time they would be recording their second album in December, Catharsis was only a quartet, having lost Charlotte, one keyboardist (Geoffroy) and a guitarist (Brown) along the way. Reputedly their best album, Masq is certainly a charming album that does bear the era that saw it born, a rather enjoyable piece of symphonic psychedelia, but repeated listening could prove somewhat difficult if one is not entirely comfortable with Charlotte's aerial scats.

Cano - 1979 - Rendez Vous

Rendez Vous

01. Rebound
02. Entente
03. Clown Alley
04. Sometimes The Blues
05. Other Highways
06. L'autobus de la pluie
07. Floridarity Forever
08. Mime Artist

ANDRE PAIEMENT / vocals, acoustic guitar
RACHEL PAIEMENT / vocals, acoustic guitar
DAVID BURT / acoustic guitar, electric guitar
JOHN DOERR / electric bass, trombone, programming
WASYL KOHUT / electric violin,mandolin
MICHAEL KENDEL / grand piano, electric piano, synthesizer, vocals
MARCEL AYMAR / vocals, acoustic guitar
MICHEL DASTI / drums, percussion

With this effort, disaster struck! Obviously their label A&M saw their talents and wanted them to achieve national success by breaking them in the Western provinces, so they brought in Jim Valence (the man behind the yet-unknown Bryan Adams, who appears in one track doing back-up vocals) who had certain ideas on how to achieve success - he would certainly do with his protégé. So he forced his ideas on the now-septet (André Paiement is conspicuously absent from this album >> related?), introduced them to a new concept of presentation including new artwork. If the album title hints at a wink at bilingual policies, the ugly artwork is typical of what was being done in the late 70's in Mid-West Canada: this looks like a Streetheart album artwork.

Right from the upbeat funky-folk-jazz into rock Rebound and Clown Alley, the shorter more straightforward rock music sound disastrous (as if Cano is only going through the motions) and Valence is obviously unable to get them to correct their unconvincing English singing to par. This is plainly obvious on the atrocious Floridarity Forever.

However not everything is bad on this album as Other Highways gives us a good wink of the old days and Autobus is a semi-jig sung in French, light years better than the rest of the tracks. The longest track is the finale (clocking at a meagre 5:30) is also worthy of a positive note. Little more to raise the proghead's enthusiasm, though.

Cano - 1978 - Eclipse


01. Soleil mon chef
02. Earthly Mother
03. Cercles de la nuit
04. Rumrunner's Runaway
05. Moon Lament
06. Ça roule
07. Bienvenue 1984

ANDRE PAIEMENT / vocals, acoustic guitar
RACHEL PAIEMENT / vocals, acoustic guitar
DAVID BURT / acoustic guitar, electric guitar
JOHN DOERR / electric bass, trombone, programming
WASYL KOHUT / electric violin,mandolin
MICHAEL KENDEL / grand piano, electric piano, synthesizer, vocals
MARCEL AYMAR / vocals, acoustic guitar
MICHEL DASTI / drums, percussion

With their third album (yet to be re-issued on CD), Cano kept their high standards. Graced with an impressive photo-montage, this album appears to be at least thematic (if not conceptual) about the planet and space movements and time cycles. While the Northern-life preoccupations that were prevalent in their first two opuses are absent, they chose another pleasant direction for their musical wanderings.

From the first moments of Soleil Mon Chef's intro (and its weird funny-scruffy dialogue taken from a theatre play) to the lengthy finale, Cano is still out to please the most demanding ears. Not that the album is without flaws, most notably that they tried to appeal to an English public (right from the first album onwards, all their lyrics where translated more or less successfully to the other language), it is clear that Cano is not at ease singing in English, no matter which member is singing. The first side of the album is really of to an excellent start as the superb lead-off track gives way to a delightful semi-instrumental Mère De Ma Terre, which sounds like the best Renaissance albums around. Follows the very pleasant Cercle De La Nuit and the unconvincing Rumrunner Runway for the afore-mentioned English singing.

Same thing can be said of the second-side opening Moon Lament: here by comparing the French and English texts, one would wish that they had asked for a more artistic translator, because the English version (which is used for the vocals) is simply catastrophic and downright amateur. The folky Ca Roule brings us back to Cano's folk roots (always present even if often mixed in with rock and jazz) while the slow- developing Orwellian finale Bienvenue 84 starts as if uninspired (anything but, really), soon finds it demented groove, abruptly stops only to pick up acoustically with the piano and bongos. The track ends beautifully and ends in apotheosis. Rachel and André Paiement's vocals are always tasteful and Aymar sings on his own tracks.

Although not flawless this third album is still very worthy of the great CANO, but by the next album it will become clear, that to survive, the group would have to conquer the English Canada and their following (severely flawed) album would try to achieve this, but the only result is Cano losing their identity. Still definitely worth your investigation and your investment, Eclipse is the last classic Cano album.

Cano - 1977 - Au Nord De Notre Vie

Au Nord De Notre Vie

01. Che zeebe (3:40)
02. Automne (4:41)
03. À la poursuite du nord - suite: (11:10)
   a) Au nord de notre vie
   b) En mouvement
   c) Viens suivre
04. La première fois (4:43)
05. Mon pays (12:18)
06. Frère Jacques (3:17)
07. Spirit of the north (6:08)

- Marcel Aymar / voice, acoustic guitar, percussion
- David C. Burt / electric guitars, voice
- Michel Dasti / drums, percussion
- John Doerr / bass, synthesizer
- Michel Kendel / grand piano, electric piano, synthesizer, voice
- Wasyl Kohut / acoustic & electric violins
- Rachel Paiement / voice, acoustic guitar, percussion
- André Paiement / voice, acoustic guitar, percussion

Guest musicians:
- Kim Deschamps / Dobroe guitar
- Monique Paiement / voice, flute
- Mat Zimbel / congas, percussion
- Alison Reynolds / cello

While the debut had scored some attention in French-speaking Canada, Cano decided to bring up Rachel Paiement's delicious voice more upfront. Her voice timbre is halfway between Haslam (Renaissance) or Christina (Curved air) and Monique Fauteux (Harmonium) or Christiane Robichaux (Contraction). While still remaining a primarily folk spirit, this album is slightly rockier (and sometimes more fusion) than the debut. Needless to say this album struck the same chord in this writer's soul (and his pack of friends also) and provided a healthy alternative (or counterbalance) to our hard rock leanings (Zep, Priest, Rush) and calmer nights around the campfire when the parents had not unknowingly left us the houses to organize our wild house-parties.

Again as the French title hints, the album is again centered around their Acadian roots, the rough Northern climates and their sheer generous (and hippy) idealism. The artwork is again representative of the (sometimes hostile) nature around them, also. Opening track is a visit to an old Amerindian spirit of the river (Che-Zeebe), and Rachel's superb aerial voice is a pure joy, while the group is developing a great prog rock behind her. With a worthy (but unremarkable dure to the great surrounding tracks) Automne gone by, we find the 11-min mini-suite A La Poursuite Du Nord (from which suite the album title is taken from) and anyone living in mid-Canada, cannot help but experiencing chills down their spine. Rachel's voice with Kendel's piano reminds us the greatest moments of Renaissance (Haslam and Tout), but the track soon evolves in much more than the British group ever had to offer (remember we are dealing with an octet in Cano) into a wild soul-search of the spirit of the north. In New Orleans, this would be equivalent to emotive blues sung by cotton-field workers. Kohut's violin, never very fast (preferring every slow meander it can possibly find) while staying concise, is reminding of JL Ponty's albums of the same years.

The B side of the album starts with the stunning 12-min Mon Pays, which could almost be regarded as an updated version of Gilles Vigneault's timeless anthemic Mon Pays (C'est L' Hiver). After a delicious debut and a more fusion-like follow-up, the middle section almost stops to have the bass sing out with the birds and it slowly brings the track to an almost jazz-rock feeling (again, strangely, Renaissance springs up to mind but the first version of it with Cennamo on bass) with a delicious multi solo section and without warning popping back into the track into a superb finale. Another updated timeless classic is the nursery rhyme Frère Jacques in a stunning rearrangement! Du grand art , Monsieur! Such an album could not close away on anything else than a stunning instrumental, resuming the spirit of the album, and believe this writer, this is one hell of an exit. This 6-min is as delightful as a sunset over a lake in the mid-north, a brew in your hand and the partner in the other.

A stunning but grossly overlooked album (only yelling for the proghead's attention to repair this huge and blatant injustice), clearly Cano had come of age, and their next step would be to start gaining more attention of the English part of Canada with their following Eclipse (which never got a Cd release as did none of their later albums. This album ranks among the very best of the country in the late-70's and there was solid competition. Warmly recommended, especially if you long for Canada.

Cano - 1976 - Tous Dans L'Meme Bateau

Tous Dans L'Meme Bateau

01. Viens nous voir (8:37)
02. Dimanche après-midi (3:40)
03. Pluie estivale (2:51)
04. Le vieux Médéric (3:00)
05. Les rues d'Ottawa (3:45)
06. En plein hiver (9:25)
07. Chanson pour Suzie (1:00)
08. Baie St. Marie (9:12)

- Marcel Aymar / voice, acoustic guitar,Turkish cymbals
- David C. Burt / electric guitars, harmonica
- Michel Dasti / drums, percussion
- John Doerr / bass, synthesizer, trombone, electric piano
- Michel Kendel / grand piano, bass, electric piano
- Wasyl Kohut / violin, mandolin & Seagulls
- Rachel Paiement / voice, acoustic guitar, percussion
- André Paiement / voice, acoustic guitar

Guest musicians:
- Merv Doerr / trombone
- Nick Ayouh / clarinet
- Jimmy Tanaka / congas
- Luc Cousineau / percussion

This French-Canadian group (but not Quebecois), is from the Northern-Ontario province where almost half the population is francophone. CANO stands for Cooperative Artistes du Nouvel Ontario and they were based in the city of Sudbury. Formed as far back as 71, and from an ideal semi-hippy-pastoral commune and developing into theater, poetry, writers, and a whole bunch of artisans/craftsmen and a 320 acres Buffalo ranch. This commune attracted people from all over Northern Ontario, Quebec, Acadians from Eastern Canada. One of the branches became the musical group, and recorded in late 75 their debut album after being together for over three years.
Their music exemplifies best the Northern Canadian Pioneering spirit, and lyrically, the songs often make reference to the harsh condition they and their ancestor endured: the voyageurs, the portage from one lake to another, the fur-trading, the wars between the colonizing powers, the life with the Indians etc.. An octet, their music sounds like a folkier and more challenging Renaissance (Haslam-era), but they have clearly their own sound too. Their albums are a mix of mainly acoustic (but hardly excusively so) rock with some powerful atmospheres, and the first two albums are essential listening to Canadian folk rock. Their albums became increasingly electric and more "commercial" and they eventually folded by the mid-80's after some six albums. Their first three albums have been re-issued on CD a few years back and should still be available.
An interesting anecdote is that the Franco-Ontarians have yet another group, Nathan Mahl, but they chose not to sing in their native French: another proof of Ontario losing its roots.

Debut album from this combo emanating from a communal art association in Northern Ontario, and quite a pleasant surprise for the proghead looking for progressive folk music. Heavily laced with the rude weather and rough wildlife mixed with a superbly generous hippydom, Cano's music shines in this writer's memories of a happy "teendom". Memories of campfire with girls (and condoms;-), beers (and doobies;-) and guitars (and bongos;-) on a lakeside beach (called Creemore Dirtywater Upheaval;-) with the stereo blasting Harmonium or Rush certainly, but also of Cano. The album came with a superb artwork evocating the old Pioneering days with Fur traders, Canoes and portages, which represent one facet on CANO.

Cano's music certainly reflects the calm pastoral life of the mid-Northern Ontario, where French and English speakers lived alongside with few problems (in later albums Cano will also sing tracks in English), but as mentioned above, the rough conditions. Apart of the stunning 8-min opener (Viens Nous Voir inviting you to jump in their wonderful world), most of the first side is relatively short folk rock (trad folk as main inspiration but with a clear Acadian flavor) tracks, depicting crazy old fools (Mederic - a jig), to boring Sunday Afternoons and getting lost in the big cities (Rues D'Ottawa). The piano playing is sometimes reminding me of the one in Skynyrd's Freebird.

The second side of the album was made of two lengthy stunners with a short interlude separating them. En Plein Hiver, depicting the winter "blah" (Ontarians will appreciate) with this especially beautiful spirit that Harmonium managed on their debut and the Cinquième Saison. As will be usual, Cano start slowly and calmly, taking their time in building a sweet but implacable crescendo, to culminate superbly, and then ending in a short recap of the intro. In some way, if people asked how rush could make so much "noise" being just a trio, one of the most intriguing antithesis of that is how could an octet such as Cano be so delicate? The closing Baie St-Marie (written by Marcel Aymar who also had done the opening salvo) is probably a better tourist postcard than any possible picture could probably: as cymbals, seagulls, creaking wooden boats will gradually lead into an acoustic strumming guitar doubled by an electric piano, bongos, a swinging funky electric guitar, then drums and a superb violin (remember this was an octet), the track is now into a delightful groove with Kohut's violin twirling, swirling, twiddling, circling, flying from one ear to the other. Believe me, you'll want to visit the place that inspired such a great musical moment. In the middle section, the track slows back down to allow a sleepy trumpet answers the seagulls and the dramatic violin underlining the sea-lost father (Acadian hardships are never really far away from the superb lyrics) and a solemn end.