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Ripaille - La Vieille Que L'on Brūla CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.45 | 35 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
3 stars It never ceases to amaze me how many progressive bands carried on after the first wave of prog's peak popularity that started waning big time with the advent of punk and disco. Many of these feisty groups were determined to get their product out and often released one or two albums and then disappeared into the annals of historic obscurity. France's RIPAILLE was one of countless such bands who released one album and called it a day. This band emerged from Nantes, France and released a diverse palette of proggy delights on their only album LA VIEILLE QUE L'ON BRŪLA (translates into "The old woman who got burned." The album came out in 1977 just when the Sex Pistols and Saturday Night Fever were changing the music scene, so this album never had a chance in the shuffle but clearly shows more of an allegiance to the early 70s than forward looking into the latter half.

While only consisting of nine tracks, LA VIEILLE QUE L'ON BRŪLA cranks out very different sounding compositions ranging from the Medieval prog folk sounds of Gryphon such as on "La Veuve de Nicolas Kremer", "Epilogue" and "Le Jardin des Plaisirs" to the theatrical Ange flavored ones that occur on Satané Jardin" and "Le Sabbat des Sorcičres." The Ange effect is on full display when the vocals are the star with that same sort of shouting madman rant dominating the scene however on instrumental workouts such as on the title track there are a lot of nods to the more eclectic side of Gentle Giant as well. The music is quite dynamic as there are eleven musicians on board cranking out all kinds of instrumental flavors with not only a the expected guitar, bass and drums but heavy symphonic prog keyboards, accordion, alt sax and a huge number of percussive instrumentation.

RIPAILLE certainly cranked out the worthy obscurity to check out however the band hadn't quite simmered down all their influences into a cohesively interesting and totally original excogitation quite yet but they were clearly onto something as certain tracks like "La Verve de Nicole" manage to implement the Medieval Gryphon type vibe with a more pastoral symphonic prog folk that feels more like English prog than French, however the lyrics all sung in French bringing the Ange connection into play display a very unique Anglo-friendly version of Gallic fusion. That tracks is one of the best as it meanders on into a psychedelic symphonically dominated frenzy that fits in well with the album cover imagery. If only the entire album would have been this mature and focused it would have been substantially better.

While not a perfect album, this one has a lot of musical treats on it to recommend. While all the influences are worn proudly on their sleeves, RIPAILLE did churn out a very interesting mix of them all. LA VIEILLE QUE L'ON BRŪLA is roughly a 50 / 50 mix of progressive folk and heavier rock in the vein of Gentle Giant. All lyrics are in French and this was probably never heard outside of their homeland until the advent of the internet although the album saw a second coming when it was released on the Musea label in 1997. Perhaps one more complaint is that the electric piano can present a rather harsh bombastic tone at times as well as moments of oom-pa-pa polka flavored music peeking in from time time. While a sophomore releases surely would've corrected a lot of the rough draft ideas that are presented on LA VIEILLE QUE L'ON BRŪLA, sadly it was never to be leaving this sole album as the only evidence that the band RIPAILLE ever existed.

3.5 but misses enough marks for me to round up

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |


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