Earlier on I posted about two acts that changed the face of music in Quebec – Beau Dommage and Robert Charlebois. I have one more – Offenbach.
This one is the most difficult to define. Offenbach came on the scene in the 1970s with something completely unprecedented – Quebec-based French-language (joual) blues, rock and even some prog. Band members were a mix of anglo and francophone, and they could “brasse la cabane” unlike any before them in Quebec.
This first post is actually a ballad, the last song that they performed as a band in 1985 – homage to the legendary Piaf. The audience goes wild at the end in recognition that this was to be their final show.
This second one shows their rocker side. Singer Gerry Boulet was a good interview in both English and French, a guy who just loved to play music. That voice – the Quebec Lemmy? Unfortunately, he endured a couple of cancers and died at age 44 in 1990.
Stay with me for a bit more. This third one was one of my favourites, musically. It featured the other vocalist, Breen Lebouef, and could have easily been a hit in any language, any era. Just a great song, featuring an outstanding sax solo.
After the band broke up, Breen had a very successful solo career, often mixing in some Offenbach tunes. So, the same song, but with help from a 21 year old Celine Dion.
Finally, a much older Breen Lebouef singing an Offenbach blues offering. As he introduces the song, he says “Quebec really didn’t have any blues before this one”. For all of us who have spouses who do not get our music obsession – “les femmes sont jalouse du blues”.
If you want more Offenbach, google “Offenbach Forum 1985”. It was their final show and very well chronicled.