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LES CHAUFFEURS A PIEDS - Les Chats Jaunes ne Meurent Jamais

LES CHAUFFEURS A PIEDS - Les Chats Jaunes ne Meurent Jamais
Scorbut Records SCOR11

A quartet of Quebec singers and musicians, Les Chauffeurs à Pieds are on album number seven in their 15-year career. Almost all the songs here are traditional but about half the tunes are by fiddler Antoine Gauthier. With just under twice as many songs as instrumentals, that leaves five sets of tunes in a dozen tracks, plus various melodies tacked onto vocals in the Quebec fashion. Four-part harmonies and chorus songs cover traditional subjects such as marital strife, pre-marital strife and strife generally. The tunes are fiddle-led with mandolin and string bass as well as superb recorder-playing, reels mostly, ranging from old-time to contemporary, with some seriously toe-tapping numbers. Reel Du Déneigement and Reel Des Bouchons stand out, the former a Gauthier composition and the latter a traditional reel followed by two more Gauthier pieces. That's almost all I can tell you about the tunes: sleevenotes here are scarcer than English beer in a Quebec bar.

I can tell you that Les Chauffeurs ring the changes here with piano, moothie, French horn (of course) and plenty of fine foot percussion. Almost all these songs are new to me, although a few of the tunes are familiar. Rigadoons and montagnards hark back to the renaissance dances of early colonists in Canada, while the final Galope Du Cinéma (another Gauthier original) puts a more modern slant on the Quebec tradition. Good songs, powerful tunes and a gift for arrangements which ranges from the totally traditional to the almost burlesque: as ever, Quebec provides good-time music with flair and feeling. Les Chauffeurs à Pieds put on a great show on Ginger Cats Never Die, and although their music may be new to me they clearly have a long pedigree behind them. Find out more at

Alex Monaghan


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This album was reviewed in Issue 96 of The Living Tradition magazine.