Chansonniers and Blues Artists

Reverend Gary Davis
Reverend Gary Davis

In the first few years Harvey Glatt did the folk artist bookings, and it was only later that I became more involved, especially with the folk and blues bookings. The first blues artist that I booked in 1963 was Reverend Gary Davis, at the suggestion of Bill Hawkins. Bill even offered to put him up at his house, which he did. Tex LecorThe Reverend Gary Davis was blind, always jovial (in contrast to some of his blues songs) and constantly sported a cigar in his mouth as well as an apron of ashes on the front of his sweater.

In 1962 we had the French chansonniers Raoul Roy, Tex Lecor, Jacques Labrecque, and Claude Gauthier (who returned many times, and became a good friend as well). That year, I brought in the first international singer/songwriter Stephane Golmann (booked through the Guy Latraverse agency in Montreal). Pierre Letourneau also came, as well the soon-to-be celebrated Claude Leveillée.

Claude LeveilléeClaude was shy then and as he accompanied himself on piano, he would ask us to turn the piano around so that he had his back to the audience. He had a small mirror so that he could see the audience. Later he dropped that habit and became quite relaxed in front of an audience. I met Claude many years later at a Radio Canada studio, and we talked about Le Hibou. He recalled, “God, was it dark in there with its black walls and ceiling.” Another singer/composer from France was Pierre Dudan. "Un café au lait au lit" was one of his big hits that made it to Le Hibou. Michel Choquette also became a regular performer and a good friend. I always enjoyed him as his songs were remarkably unique and many were quite funny.

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