What The Reviewers Say

VRCD 310 GERRY ROBICHAUD: DOWN EAST FIDDLING

This record is an OUTSTANDING example of this style of fiddling, and should be a welcome addition to the record libraries of all fiddle fans. The fiddler, Gerry Robichaud, is a French Canadian having been born in St. Paul, New Brunswick (Canada). Early in his career he was influenced by the famed Canadian fiddler, Don Messer, and his current playing style still reflects this influence. The music on this album is lively and extremely well played (Robichaud is the 1972, 1973 Northeast Regional fiddle champion), and unlike many currently available albums, quite danceable.

It goes without saying that this album is highly recommended. (The Devil's Box)

*****

Strong influences on Gerry include Don Messer, Andy DeJarlis, and Tommy Doucet, all giants in the history of eastern Canadian fiddling. And Gerry more than does his mentors justice, for he is a giant in his own right, having won countless contests in the Northeast as well as placing at the Weiser, Idaho contests. He is an exciting player, using dynamics and complex bowing to milk the melodies without resorting to cheap tricks.

Those who enjoy exceptional fiddling will appreciate this tape. (Old Time Herald)

*****

First issued in 1973, Down East Fiddling represents the early recording of Gerry Robichaud, the great Acadian fiddler who now lives in Waltham, Massachusetts. Robichaud has played for clog dancing and old time squares and contras for years, and has a list of contest awards as long as his arm. He plays in the somewhat classical-sounding Canadian style favored by the great Graham Townsend and emulated by dozens of dance fiddlers in both Canada and the U.S. He is accompanied on this recording by Chuck Le Blanc on piano and Art Richard on bass, both of whom play in the "straight accompaniment" style, leaving the fiddler out front to be heard. (Sing Out)

*****

Like so many fiddlers of the Northeast, Gerry Robichaud has a thin, pinched tone that may strike listeners - more attuned to the thicker texture of Appalachian fiddling - as odd. This sound, however, becomes a virtue with his dexterous bowing, which de-emphasizes the constant use of double-stops and tricky frills in favor of rhythmic liveliness. His mordents, arpeggios, etc. are straightforward and effective. He plays jigs and waltzes with equal aplomb. His repertoire is derived from both French and English Canadian sources. (Stereo)

*****

This is a reissue of a mid-'70's Voyager LP of this superb New Brunswick fiddler who has won numerous Northeastern contests and has placed at the Weiser contest. Robichaud plays straight ahead, never relying on cheap theatrics, instead using the wealth of traditional bowing complexities and ornaments at his disposal on his jigs, reel, waltzes and clogs. He is a powerful bouncy player who should appeal to many fiddle fans even beyond those addicted solely to Northeast playing. (Victory Review)

*****

Although Gerry Robichaud may have immigrated stateside, specifically to Massachusetts, in the 50s, the New Brunswick native never left his Canadian Maritime Celtic style behind. This recording represents one of Robichaud's earliest efforts and serves as eloquent testimony to his lively, thin-pitched style that emphasizes a well-articulated, superior bowing technique. From the driving "Slope Road Jig" to the swooping "Mother's Day Waltz" to one of the many other bouncy selections, like "Prince County Jig" and "Sandra's Jig," one senses that these proceedings are only the tip of the iceberg of Robichaud's ability, given the passionate beauty expressed here. Pianist Chuck LeBlanc maintains a prancing action on the chord changes, matching Robichaud's energy tit for tat. While several selections hail from Canada's Graham Townsend, Louis Cormier, and Tommy Doucet, the majority stem from Prince Edward Island entertainer Don Messer, who had various radio and TV programs from the 30s through the 60s. This is a modest re-issue, Down East Fiddling is a treasure trove for those intrigued by Eastern Canadian fiddling. (Dirty Linen)

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