Roger Rodier Upon Velveatur

[Sunbeam; 1972]

Styles:  folk-psyche
Others: Nick Drake, Simon & Garfunkel, Damien Rice

Upon Velveatur is a relic. It was left to the dirt, dust, and mulch in 1972.  Maybe it shouldn’t have been found. But Sunbeam Records, dedicated to recovering and reviving lost, forgotten, overlooked, and disregarded albums, did find it. Perhaps the discovery should’ve been called off.  Upon Velveatur is a time capsule compartment piece. It was buried, but is it a treasure or merely an old rusted red wheelbarrow? 

The picked guitars and orchestral sweeps wouldn’t be out of place as the background music for a tender and affectionate Wes Anderson scene, and though from French Canada, the sound of Roger Rodier seems very British-bred. The lyrics are almost regal””a concoction of wine, tea, pasty face skin cells, and noontime pastries. This album was released and ignored in 1972, but it sounds and feels older than that””medieval even.

Comparisons to Nick Drake are inevitable, but there are many instances where Rodier’s voice rises above a hush, and those provide the album’s best moments (like the added choral oomph on “Am I Supposed To Let It By Again?”). The album is misty””depressing and blue hued””especially hearing it today and knowing it didn’t amount to much when it first surfaced. Sadly, the album is unlikely to cause a stir this time around either. Tacking on five bonus tracks (two of which are sung in the French) will not salvage an album that didn’t accidentally go unnoticed.

1. Listen To These Chords I Play
2. My Spirit's Calling
3. Am I Supposed To Let It By Again?
4. The Key
5. While My Castle's Burning
6. You Don't Know What It's Like
7. Just Fine
8. Let's See Some Happyness
9. Easy Song
10. L'Herbe
11. Tu Viendras
12. Have You?
13. Overseer