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La Prūche Libre PRU2-4818 

Accordionist extraordinaire Yves Lambert was a founding member of famed Québecois band, La Bottine Souriante (indeed he was a member of that band for 26 years) and has been pivotal in the resurgence and popularisation of Québecois music in a career spanning more than 40 years. The Yves Lambert Trio has been around since 2010 and consists of Yves on accordion, Jew's harp, harmonica and vocals along with Tommy Gauthier (fiddle, feet, percussion and vocals) and Olivier Rondeau (guitars, bass and vocals). They are joined by guest instrumentalist Marc Busic on harmonium for a few of the tracks here.

This is feisty, foot-stomping music delivered in that inimitable Yves Lambert style with showman-style dramatic vocals, musical twists and turns, and unexpected quirks in very finessed arrangements. The songs are in Québecois French, but if you don't understand everything that doesn't matter – the passion and dynamic of the music cuts through. As you would expect, most of the songs have catchy choruses or fall into the 'call and answer' genre. Tales of sin, debauchery and deceived husbands abound, which probably accounts for the album’s sub-title: Sexus, Pharmacum & Traditio!

The tunes are a mix of Québecois, Irish and a Cape Breton set. As ever, the rhythmic beat of the feet drives the tunes along relentlessly. The accordion/fiddle combination is as tight as a drum and the accompaniment and arrangements are excellent. An unusual opening, with a clucking chicken, introduces the rock infused track, La Poule A Jean-Paul. There’s some lovely guitar playing and a nice arrangement on Vent d'Irlande, which consists of a couple of cracking Irish tunes. And the final V.I.P Pour l'Enfer is a fitting traditional style song to round off the album.

If you're into Québecois music, this is one to add to the collection.

Jim Byrne


This review appeared in Issue 130 of The Living Tradition magazine