Scorbut Records SCOR4

Les Chauffeurs à Pieds are a young traditional band from Quebec , and their music stands up well against the output of their better-known compatriots La Bottine Souriante, Le Vent Du Nord and La Volée D’Castors. Several listens on, I’m enjoying this hearty ‘Canadian Breakfast.’ It’s an infectious blend of jigs and reels (with lively foot percussion), played with considerable panache.

There’s a disconcerting moment, however, when one instrumental opens with the ‘Star Wars’ theme tune. Not at all what I expected, but it develops soon enough into a lively harmonica-dominated reel. Tunes like ‘Suite Indienne’ make for great dance sets, and the band even manages to squeeze in a snatch of ‘La Marseillaise’ at the end of another tune - a nod to those French roots, no doubt!

The French lyrics are lively and fun, though unfortunately no translation is provided. The spirited ‘chansons à répondre’ (call and response songs) are typical of the Québecois tradition – album opener ‘Marie La Chamelle’ gets the call and response going in fine style. On a couple of the solo vocals, however, the result is a little less satisfying, the tone a little monotonous. The best songs in my view are those where the lead singer uses the call and response technique. ‘Pingo Bélo’ is an exemplary track, where the voice is robustly supported by banjo, foot tapping and spirited recorder. I’d like to hear this music live – here’s a fine festival band, absolutely no doubt about it.

Debbie Koritsas

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 65 of The Living Tradition magazine.