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Roger Rodier - Upon Velveatur CD (album) cover

UPON VELVEATUR

Roger Rodier

 

Prog Folk

3.98 | 13 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Sole album from a Quebecois bard, all too often cited as Quebec's answer to Nick Drake. While there is some kind of validity to that, Rodier is simply so much more than Nick, despite his sole album compared to Drake's three. While that may sound/read as a bit presumptuous, please read on, because Roger's psych folk rock reaches many other dimensions, including some rather hard-rocking guitar solos and some delightful CSN&Y vocal harmonies.

But let's go back to the beginning: Rodier came to music in the late 60's as a folk artiste and re corded a pair of singles with buddy Germain Gauthier. Both singles were released in 69 and went unnoticed, partly due to Rodier's lack of willingness to strike it big with the medias, despite a certain hype and some label efforts. Both singles are included as bonus tracks on the present album's CD reissue. Upon Veveatur was recorded in 72 in a brand new Montreal recording studio, with his buddy Germain and a certain Red Mitchell on electric guitar and some unknown musicians to boot. Released on Columbia and receiving some very worthy plaudits, but never released outside Canada.

Like the aforementioned Drake, Rodier's folk has a propensity to use some strong string arrangements, and tracks like Listen To These Chords, Spirit's Calling, The Key, Happyness (sic) and Just Fine certainly do that. Elsewhere the strong vocal harmonies of Am I Supposed and the slightly bluesy Happyness (re-sic) are reminiscent of the best (and proggier) CSNY. Other tracks like Castle's Burning or Happyness (again) have a real hippie rebel feel, often enhanced by some killer electric guitar interventions, courtesy of Mitchell. The non-album single tracks are very worthy bonus tracks (two of them are sung in French), as they melt in quite nicely with the Velveatur album's soundscapes, if only a tad happier and a slightly lighter production and sometimes featuring some flute and organ. So much so, that if you don't pay closely attention enough, you might just not even notice the three-year time gap between the singles and the album. Have You even has a slight Blonde-era Dylan feel.

Rodier did play for a few more years, and sometimes as an opening act to certain bands like Procol Harum and Genesis, but nothing more came in terms of recording out put. His sole album is certainly a very worthy unearthed gem, filled with ultra-personal ambiances and thoughtful lyrics; an album that might not be essential per se, but will be a solid consolidation block for your early 70's shelf.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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