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GAROLOU

Prog Folk • Canada


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Garolou biography
GAROLOU was a pan-Eastern Canadian group with members from Ontario thru to the Maritimes. Its origins could be traced to Franco Ontarian brothers Marc and Michel Lalonde who were living in Prince Edward Island in 1974 and part of a theatre troupe. Their musical career began humbly as a folk duo, but their interests and their popularity resulted in expansion to a full rock ensemble including keyboards, bass and drums, performing revved up and re-interpreted folk songs with plenty of progressive flourishes, Canada's answer to STEELEYE SPAN if you will.


The group was ultimately based in Quebec, partly because a studio in the Laurentian Mountains was kind enough to provide free time to produce their first recording, even without any label signing, which eventually came. Their history is a turbulent one. While personnel changes were frequent and almost de rigueur for the communal lifestyles of the period, Garolou survived the indignity of a name change from their original LOUGAROU moniker, the result of a threatened lawsuit from a folk dance troupe with a very similar name. The original name is a contraction of the French word for werewolf, while Garolou is a play on words at several levels, perhaps at least one being a slight at the dance troupe. One interpretation is "Beware the wolf", while another is "Boy of the Wolf".


Their first two albums, Lougarou (1976) and Garolou (1978), are widely regarded as their best and sold well. The 80s brought forth Romanceros (1980), which received critical acclaim, and Centre-ville (1982), but by then the golden era of Quebecois folk had withered, and the group called it a day in 1983.


In 1993 the band re-united and has performed on and off since then. Rekindled interest resulted in re-releases of the four albums packaged as 2 two-fers, a live album, and a 1999 studio recording, all testament to the band's enduring appeal.

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Buy GAROLOU Music


Garolou (Tableau D'hier) Vol.1Garolou (Tableau D'hier) Vol.1
Single · Import
Francor 2009
Audio CD$13.06
$10.91 (used)
Reunion by Garolou (2009-04-07)Reunion by Garolou (2009-04-07)
Unidisc Music
Audio CD$41.28
garolou LPgarolou LP
LONDON
Vinyl$14.99 (used)
GarolouGarolou
London
Vinyl$18.99 (used)
ReunionReunion
Import
Unidisc Music 2003
Audio CD$10.70
$12.08 (used)
Memoire ViveMemoire Vive
Import
Imports 2009
Audio CD$10.30
$10.29 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
GAROLOU - Self-Titled 1978 S/T (NM-) 2nd LP, QUEBEC Prog Folk Rock USD $5.68 Buy It Now 1 day
LES FELIX Quebec Music Awards LP Aidsq Vinyl GINETTE RENO GAROLOU OFFENBACH+ VG+ USD $14.62 Buy It Now 4 days
Memoire Vive - Garolou (CD Used Like New) USD $10.99 Buy It Now 5 days
GAROLOU - MEMOIRE VIVE USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $21.33 Buy It Now 5 days
GAROLOU Romancero LP London Records Quebec Rock Made in Canada Vinyl VG+/VG+ USD $6.54 Buy It Now 5 days
GAROLOU 1978 Self-Titled 1st LP Quebec French Rock VG/VG London Records KD-511 USD $5.81 Buy It Now 6 days
GAROLOU Reunion (CD 1997) 15 Songs Live au Theatre de la Ville de Longueuil USD $17.99 Buy It Now 8 days
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Tableaux D'Hier V.1 [IMPORT] by Garolou (Mar-2001, Main) USD $24.67 Buy It Now 10 days
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GAROLOU self-titled LP Record French Folk-Rock USD $4.06 Buy It Now 20 days
GAROLOU : Romancero LP Record French Folk-Rock USD $6.49 Buy It Now 20 days
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GAROLOU : Romancero LP Record French Folk-Rock USD $4.87 Buy It Now 26 days
GAROLOU Romancero Orig 1980 Canada (Vinyl EX) 12" LP Prog Folk Rock USD $9.99 Buy It Now 26 days
Garolou - Tableau D'hier [New CD] Canada - Import USD $14.30 Buy It Now 27 days
Garolou - Tableau D'hier [New CD] Canada - Import USD $14.29 Buy It Now 27 days

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GAROLOU discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

GAROLOU top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 12 ratings
Lougarou
1976
3.65 | 15 ratings
Garolou
1978
3.04 | 9 ratings
Romancero
1980
2.02 | 9 ratings
Centre-Ville
1982
3.00 | 6 ratings
Mémoire Vive
1999

GAROLOU Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.29 | 5 ratings
Reunion
1995

GAROLOU Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

GAROLOU Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Profil
1981
4.00 | 1 ratings
Tableaux d'hier vol 1
1991
4.00 | 1 ratings
Tableaux d'hier vol 2
1991

GAROLOU Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

GAROLOU Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Centre-Ville by GAROLOU album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.02 | 9 ratings

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Centre-Ville
Garolou Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars With the double entendre of the title signifying a shift to the bland stylistic center of 1982 rock, and an abandonment of essentially rural folk for city glitz, "Centre-Ville" did nothing to stymie the perhaps inevitable collapse of GAROLOU's initial run. Displaced from a field with few professional purveyors to a weedy city lot, they abandoned all folk roots and homogenized their sound, notwithstanding a fun reggae-tinged opener and an above average ballad "Aller-Retour". Rockers like "Terre" and "Je Savais Pas" are utterly without distinction. Perhaps the album's most notable "first" is that of first GAROLOU album to contain an English lyric, on the closing "Seul au Centre Ville", the only waking moment of a piece so light that it rivals the mellowest fare by mid 1970s AMAZING BLONDEL. You'll wish you'd been allowed to sleep right through it.

It appears that the band spirited somewhat out of retirement in the early 1990s with a fine live disk that conspicuously omits anything from "Centre Ville", if only because this made so little impact in 1982 that it could not be resurrected even by occult ritual. If "Centre-Ville" isn't totally awful, it also isn't worth seeking out by anyone but unapologetic fans, who all appear to have gone uptown by this point.

 Romancero by GAROLOU album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.04 | 9 ratings

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Romancero
Garolou Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars The dark forces of punk and new wave of the early 1970s were crowding out folk rock acts like GAROLOU, the resurgence of the genre under the auspices of bands like the POGUES and the WATERBOYS was still a few years off. It is thus not surprising that their third disk, released at the dawn of the 1980s, received less attention than its predecessors. It didn't help that it was also somewhat less inspired.

The compositions and arrangements are generally not as ambitious, but, if one explores more objectively, 3 tracks are prime prog folk, rivaling the best of earlier output: the heavy and atmospheric "Nicholas", the ominous epic "D'ou reviens-tu mon fils Jacques", and its apt successor "Le Condamne". Unfortunately none of them received their due, probably because the airplay outlets had vanished, and the album's most popular tracks, while thoroughly competent and, in the case of "Sur le Bout du Pont", quite refreshing, were concessions to the era, furthering the group's decline. I am also torn about the way in which the album ends, with the firing squad at the end of "Le Condamne". On the one hand, it's commendable that they continued to explore sober historical matters, but what a downer, especially when the album offers a good deal of lighter fare. Among these are the suave lightly jazzy "Dans Paris" and the live Cajun-tinged "La Danse de La Limonade". While the breadth of fare is eclectic, saving the best for last, where the best is so dire in subject matter, might not have been the canny choice.

"Romancero" proved to be the penultimate album of GAROLOU's initial run, and the last of interest to prog folk audiences. Guardedly recommended as a fling rather than an extended courtship.

 Lougarou by GAROLOU album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.50 | 12 ratings

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Lougarou
Garolou Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars Having a rare distinction of two self titled albums with different names, GAROLOU, or LOUGAROU as they were initially known, hit the ground running with this 1976 release. The combination of muddy production and ragged arrangements offers rustic charms that were largely smoothed over on this album's highly accomplished successor, which means that both are sine qua non in the realm of Francophone prog folk of the 1970s.

This debut focuses on story songs that are both near and distant variations on traditional tunes, but nary a traditional instrument is used, with the group relying on with vocal harmonies and meters to convey connections to the past. The instrumental arrangements are decidedly rock oriented, with versatile and occasionally aggressive electric guitars, economical pianos, and occasional synths announcing their intentions. While every track has merit, the lengthiest are those that best fulfill the band's promise, namely "La Belle Francoise", the surprisingly hard rocking "La Partance" and the brilliant adaptation of "A La Claire Fontaine". In the latter case, the band parlayed a tune that everybody at the time and place knew by rote, yet effectively obliterated all memory of the original.

The shorter pieces are hardly less impressive, as young sibling Bobbly Lalonde contributes violin to the lively "La Vendee", with nimble plucking and sublime call and response vocals that rival the best of what TRI YANN was on about at the time. "Ah Toi Belle Hirondelle" might be my favourite of the lot, exuding a breezy mid 1970s ambiance, with an ultra catch riff and propulsive rhythm section that seems to presage the imminent arrival of DIRE STRAITS on the scene, although concurrent Laurel canyon artists and their ilk might be a more apt comparison. It's the sort of arrangement that might help warm a sub zero Northern Ontario night, if only by getting you out of your seat,

It is far from hyperbole to suggest that GAROLOU were the closest that any Canadian act came to attaining the highs of overseas Celtic prog folk artists of their day, which makes them pretty much essential if your wheelhouse boasts a Celtic cross.

The re-release business being what it is, you might have trouble finding this on CD, but I recommend it in any form you can manage, including as part of "Tableaux D'Hier" Volume 1, where only the final track, which happens to be one of the two weakest, is omitted. It's an album I never had much time for when it was current, having satisfied myself with the next album by these talented guys. Well, there is no time like the present to right old wrongs, and let the (were) wolves bay at your door for a spell.

 Reunion by GAROLOU album cover Live, 1995
3.29 | 5 ratings

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Reunion
Garolou Prog Folk

Review by Walkscore

3 stars "Reunion" is the only album that documents Garolou live in concert. Recorded in Longueuil in 1994, it also represents the reunion of the band after so many years inactive (their last album before then was "Centre-Ville" in 1982). They do a very good job recreating their most popular songs in concert, and the sound quality is excellent. The song list represents what most consider to be their best pieces, and for the most part I do not disagree (I would have also liked to see "Nicholas" or "Le Condamne" from the third album, but one can't have everything) . It is telling that there are no songs here from their fourth album "Centre-Ville", clearly their weakest album and no one in the audience is requesting those numbers. For the rating, I had to think about this one. As a live greatest hits album, it covers the bases, and with their best songs, excellent sound quality and strong performances, one might rightly expect a 4-star rating. However, my complaint is that they are too faithful to the studio recordings. Some (although not all) of the guitar solos are in fact note-for-note. Yet, I would not say that any of the versions on this live album are better than their studio counterparts, and in fact in every case the studio versions are better (even if just so slightly). So if you like the songs you should pick up the studio albums first. On balance, I give it 7.6 out of 10 on my 10-point scale (which translates to 3 PA stars).
 Mémoire Vive by GAROLOU album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.00 | 6 ratings

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Mémoire Vive
Garolou Prog Folk

Review by Walkscore

3 stars This album is the first studio album by Garolou since 1982. For the most part, this is a fine return to form. While the songs remain normal-length and pretty safe, most of the songs are really good, very musical, and the sound quality is excellent. Of the 11 songs on this album, there are only 3 I find weak, although not too weak as I can still listen to them (tracks 4, 8, and 9). The album opens with the excellent "Quand l'amour n'y est pas", and continues through two more excellent songs ("La fille du roi d'Espagne" and "Le saoleil s'en va se coucher"), each of which would fit very well on their first three albums, with classic 70s-sounding organs and guitars (and if these had been on the third album they would be among its strongest tracks). Two other highly enjoyable tracks are the more Acadian-tinged pieces, "Le Cheval en peinture" and "Mes souliers sont ronds" - fun tunes with highly memorable melodies that stick in your head. This album is admittedly on the tame side, with only hints of progressivity on a couple of tracks, but most of this music is of very high quality and the sound is classic Garolou. So if you like their first two albums and do not require complex progressive arrangements, you will like this one. I give this album 7.7 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, so, at the top end of 3 PA stars.
 Centre-Ville by GAROLOU album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.02 | 9 ratings

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Centre-Ville
Garolou Prog Folk

Review by Walkscore

2 stars It took Canadian record companies a bit longer than their US and UK counterparts to start putting the squeeze on their artists to get them producing more radio-friendly commercial music. However, by the early 1980s this had become the norm, and one can clearly hear the influence on this album. This album is more highly produced, with shorter songs and more of an 80s sound, with perhaps the best example (ie worst song, for me intolerable) the track which closes the album - "Suel au Centre-Ville". However, even the better songs on this album have just enough of this slicker sound to make me not want to listen to it very often. There are some decent songs on this though. I actually like the opener with the reggae-related beat ("Tu Ouvres La Porte"), and even though more AOR in style, the second and third songs ("Je Deviens Fou" and "Aller-Retour") are still fairly musical. The best song is the second-last track, "Je Savais Pas", which would fit in on their earlier albums, although it does not come close to the best songs on those albums. So, there are four decent songs here, making the album worth picking up by (true) fans for these tracks. But the rest are just OK, and I can no longer sit through the whole album. On balance, I give this 4.6 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 2 PA stars.

 Romancero by GAROLOU album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.04 | 9 ratings

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Romancero
Garolou Prog Folk

Review by Walkscore

3 stars This album continues with the classic Garolou sound, although with less of the traditional folk and multi-part vocals that worked so well on their previous self-titled album. This album contains two of their concert favourites "Sur Le Bout Du Pont" and "Quand J'Etais Garcon", which are among their more rocking tunes, although they are not my own favourites. The most musical tunes on the album, and the ones closest to their sound on their first two albums, are "Nicholas" and the closer "Le Condamne". There is also the Acadian- and zydeco- influenced "Danse de La Limonade", which was recorded live, and is a lot of fun. There is only one song I don't like on this album - "Dans Paris" - it is the only one that might be considered AOR, with slick sounding synths and saxophone solos. If you like their first two albums, you will like this one too, as it really (mostly) keeps to the same sound. I don't think it is quite as good as those though, so only pick this one up after you get the earlier ones. I give this 7.2 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 3 PA stars.
 Garolou by GAROLOU album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.65 | 15 ratings

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Garolou
Garolou Prog Folk

Review by Walkscore

4 stars This is Garolou's best album, and the one that best describes (and thus would be the best introduction to) their sound. Some of the members are new since the debut, and they changed their name (from Lougarou to Garolou), and in doing so became more firmly re-oriented in the Quebec progressive rock scene. The change in line up is particularly felt on the vocal front, as a number of these songs feature multi-part harmonies that are really quite beautiful (e.g. 'Wing-tra-La'). Garolou largely got their inspiration from historic folk tunes (and indeed, re-made a number of them into art-rock songs) and the history of French settlement in North America. While some of the tunes remain folk songs (again, 'Wing-tra-la' and the (already noted very fast) 'Alouette', others become rock songs ('Aux Illinois', 'Victoria' etc). The longer 'Germaine' is a show-stopper, a classic 1970s progressive-tinged rock song. On the whole, this is a very musical album, and like their first album (Lougarou) stands the test of time and multiple listens. There is not a bad song on the album (some don't like 'Victoria', perhaps the most 'normal' rock-radio song on the album, but I find it quite listenable, easy to sing along to). It is a classic Canadian album. It receives an 8.7 on my 10-point scale, and thus just a tinge short of receiving a 5-star rating. So, PA 4 stars.
 Lougarou by GAROLOU album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.50 | 12 ratings

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Lougarou
Garolou Prog Folk

Review by Walkscore

4 stars This is an important band in the history of Canadian music. With Franco-Ontarian roots, the band combined an appreciation for French Canadian folk music with (then-) contemporary art-rock forms of composition. It took a little while longer for the disco and punk scenes transform the record industry in Canada, thankfully, allowing bands like Garolou and Rush (and the record companies there were signed to) to put out high-quality music for a couple of years longer in the late 1970s than in the US or UK where from 1976 onwards bands were being pressured to change their style. This band released their debut album under the name Lougarou, and only subsequently changed it to Garolou on their second album. While not quite as developed as their second album (Garolou), this is high quality music, and an excellent debut album. While some of the tracks remain pretty folky (including the opening track, Dis-Moi Charles, which is not to say they are in any way inferior), other tracks became staples of French-Canadian progressive rock (La Belle Francoise, A la Claire Fontaine, etc). The music is highly memorable after a couple of plays (a number of the songs stick in your head), and although firmly rooted in the 1970s has aged gracefully and so does not sound (too) dated these days. The soloists are not virtuosos by any means, but the playing is highly evocative and musical (more like Gilmour's guitar solos). This album remains on our family playlist (it still gets requests when we drive up to camping in the summer!), which (anecdotally I realize) speaks to its longevity. Although not essential, this is lasting quality music. I give it 8.1 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which puts it at 4 PA stars.
 Lougarou by GAROLOU album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.50 | 12 ratings

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Lougarou
Garolou Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The Quebec Folk Rock scene seems endless and Lougarou were another band in the list, found in 1974 by brothers Marc Lalonde (bass, vocals) and Michel Lalonde (acoustic guitar, vocals) and featuring also drummer Michel "Stan" Deguire, guitarist George Antoniak and keyboardist Steven Naylor.Lougarou were lucky enough to use Le Studio in Morin Heighs during its off-hours and the band finally signed a contract with Canadian label London Records, releasing the self-titled debut in 1976.

Unlike the mass of Quebec Folk groups using traditional instruments, Lougarou were standing on the opposite side, having a rather rockier but still very delicate and warm sound, mainly to the nice use of synths and piano by Steven Naylor.Their style contained inspirations from Heavy Rock, Classical Music and Progressive Rock, all mixed with some good folky tunes coming out of the band's musical influences and listened both on the instrumental parts and the multi-vocal arrangements.The album certainly lacks some killer tracks or even trully adventurous arrangements with the band focusing more on producing elegant sounds and folky memorable choruses, but there are also some great guitar leads, beautiful piano lines as well as some light and interesting interplays to be found.Especially the keyboard/piano work by Naylor is excellent with a bit virtuosic solos and somewhat intricate passages.

This is certainly the definition of Folk Rock.Catchy folky vibes blended with the rock dynamics next to some evident prog stylings.Nice album indeed and warmly recommended.

Thanks to kenethlevine for the artist addition.

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