Jacques Brel – J’arrive (1968)

FrontCover1J’arrive (English: I’m coming) is Jacques Brel’s tenth studio album. Originally released in 1968 by Barclay Records

A jumbled up reissue of the 1968 original J’Arrive, which arrived at a time when Jacques Brel had pretty much receded into the background, having retired in 1967 as a full-time chansonier. But that’s not to say that he wasn’t writing spectacular songs — he was. After the smashing successes of the earlier “Ne Me Quitte Pas,” “Les Bourgeois,” and “Chanson de Jacky,” however, these later, less orchestrated compositions have become lost within the canon. With a set split between the two quintessential Brel styles — peppy chanson and introspective ballad — there’s a little something here for everyone. “Regarde Bien Petit” is stunning, sweeping and delightfully punctuated with Midsummer Night’s Dream touches, as is “En Enfant,” leaving the upbeat “Vesoul” and “Comment Tuer L’Amant de Sa Femme Quand On Ete Eleve Comme Moi Dans la Tradition” to balance nicely. Fans of Marc Almond’s brilliant renditions of Brel’s best, meanwhile, will recognize and delight in “J’Arrive” and “L’Eclusier.”

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While bonus tracks have been tacked on to nearly all Brel reissues thus far, the real gems in this incarnation are two cuts from Brel’s film work. The first, “L’Enfance,” comes from the 1973 film Le Far-West. A French/Belgian production, the film follows Brel in the guise of a cowboy on a journey through modern America’s West as he tries and succeeds in building a utopian Old West town. The second bonus track comes from the cast LP of 1968’s L’Homme de la Mancha, with Brel’s powerful re-tooling of Don Quixote, staged at Paris’ Theatre des Champs-Elysees. “La Quete,” known to English-speakers as “The Impossible Dream,” is by far one of Brel’s finest and most stirringly passionate performances ever. Sung solo, the emotion that Brel imparts through this performance would be hard pressed to be duplicated by any one, in any language. ( by Amy Hanson)

InletPersonnel:
Jacques Brel (vocals)
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Orchestra conducted by François Rauber

BackCoverTracklist:
01. J’Arrive (Brel/Jouannest) 4.43
02. Vesoul (Brel) 3.05
03. L’Ostendaise (Brel/Rauber) 4.46
04. Je Suis un Soir d’Été (Brel) 4.06
05. Regarde Bien Petit (Brel) 4.36
06. Comment Tuer l’Amant de Sa Femme Quand On a Été Comme Moi Élevé dans la Tradition? (Brel/Jouannest) 2.37
07. L’Éclusier (Brel) 4.16
08. Un Enfant (Brel/Jouannest) 3.41
09. La Biere (Brel) 3.11
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10. La Chanson de Van Horst (Brel) 2.57
(1972 – Originally from the soundtrack to the film Le Bar de la Fourche (Alain Levent)
11. L’Enfance (Brel) 2.51
(1973 – Originally from the soundtrack to the film Le Far West (Jacques Brel)

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VA – Très Chic – French Cool From Paris To The Côte d’Azur (2013)

FrontCover1Retro French music is very much in vogue on this side of the Channel and Union Square have sought to capitalise on this by releasing this most entertaining overview of 1950s and 1960s French music. While any two CD compilation can only ever hope to scratch the surface and more in-depth anthologies are required to be fully comprehensive, for the neophyte this actually serves it’s purpose well of introducing the listener to a whole raft of musicians. The music is neatly divided up between male crooners, Left bank existentialist singers, women singers and jazzier influences that includes both instrumentalists from famous French new wave film soundtracks, or French jazzers. Among the crooners, Yves Montand deserves to be heard by an anglophone audience and his interpretations of the music of Prévert are near definitive. Here he delivers the smooth sounding ‘C’est si bon’. Talking of smooth operators, Sacha Distel takes some beating and it may come as a surprise to non-French readers to learn that he was a very accomplished jazz guitarist before becoming a singer. Arguably his most famous song is showcased here, ‘Scoubidoo’. Henri Salvador gained international recognition late in his career, but this early jazz scat, ‘C’est le be bop’, is an indication of what was to follow. While Charles Aznavour is best known in the UK for ‘She’, his late 1950s and early 1960s sides were full of emotion and jazzy orchestrations and ‘Je me voyais, déjà’ is typical of his output from the era. For more left-field sounds, this compilation deserves great credit for including some of the following singers. Bobby Lapointe came to prominence as a subversive singer who made a brief appearance in François Truffaut’s ‘Shoot the pianist’ film. Here ‘Framboise’ is boisterous, fast-paced and a delight from start to finish.

Inlet01APreceding the 1960s starlettes by a decade, Juliette Gréco possesses a deep, throaty voice that was ideally suited to interpreting Gainsbourg and Prévert and ‘Si tu t’imagines’ is just one of her vast repertoire and a fine example at that. Léo Ferré is the current French president’s favourite singer and the melodic ‘A Saint Germain des Prés’ is an early illustration of Ferré’s beautiful voice. He would later become famous for his lengthy literary raps and he was very much an anti-establishment figure. Barbara may be less known outside France, but has few equals in France as a singer-songwriter and ‘Dis quand reviendras-tu?’ is a fine example of her pared down sound. Jacques Brel needs little introduction, but for those as yet unaware ‘La valse à mille temps’ shifts gear as only Brel knows how and he is an all-time great of the French language. Last, but by no means least, Serge Gainsbourg is nothing less than a national treasure, but interestingly for those who are familiar with his later psychedelic period, here the focus is on his jazz period. Both ‘Intoxicated man’ and ‘Requiem pour un twister’ are superior examples of his early period that stand the test of time. A trio of French women singers includes the obligatory Françoise Hardy and her seminal ‘Tous les garcons et les filles’, another Truffaut sound track song by Jeanne Moreau, ‘Le Tourbillon’, featured in the delightful ‘Jules et Jim’ film and a melancholic sounding Brigitte Bardot on ‘Sidonie’.

Inlet02AJazz musicians featured include Miles Davis and his stunning contribution to Louis Malle’s ‘Lift to the Scaffold’ film and pianist Martial Solal and the terrific soundtrack to Jean-Luc Godard’s seminal ‘A bout de souffle’/’Breathless’. Noteworthy are two other pieces, the Latin-jazz influenced ‘No hay problema’ by Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers and a vocal number by Claude Nougaro. This French singer deserves a compilation of his own for an English-speaking audience, such is the richness of his 1960s jazz and 1970s Brazilian flavoured songs. A final mention should be made for France’s answer to Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, les Double Six who deliver a stunning version of one of Art Blakey’s staple tunes ‘Moanin’. All in all a musical experience that is truly a ‘joie de vivre’! (by Tim Stenhouse)

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Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. Françoise Hardy: Le temps de l’amour (Dutronc/Salvet/Morisse) 2.23
02. Serge Gainsbourg: Requiem pour un twisteur (Gainsbourg) 2.37
03. Jeanne Moreau: Le tourbillon (Bassiak/Delerue) 2.03
04. Les Double Six: Rat Race (Jones/Perrin) 2.35
05. Claude Nougaro: Le cinéma (Legrand/Nougaro) 2.56
06. Sacha Distel: Brigitte (Brousolle/Distel) 2.17
07. Magali Noël: Alhambra-Rock (Goraguer/Vian) 2.35
08. Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: No hay problema (Marray) 4.33
09. Charles Aznavour: Je m’voyais déjà (Aznavour) 3.22
10. Claude Nougaro: Les Don Juan (Legrand/Nougaro) 3.17
11. Léo Ferré: À Saint-Germain-des-Prés (Ferré) 3.01
12. Michel Legrand: Blues chez le bougnat (Legrand) 2.08
13. Charles Trenet: Que reste-t-il de nos amours? (Trenet/Chauliac) 3.10
14. Henri Salvador: C’est le be bop (Vian/Dieval) 2.05
15. Sacha Distel: Marina (Reardon/Distel) 4.11
16. Mouloudji: Comme un p’tit coquelicot (Grasso/Valery) 3.43
17. Anna Karina: Chanson d’Angela (Legrand/Godard) 2.23
18. Boby Lapointe: Framboise (Lapointe) 2.39
19. Catherine Sauvage: Black Trombone (Gainsbourg) 2.29
20. Corinne Marchand: La joueuse (Varda/Legrand) 1.52

CD 2:
01. Claude Nougaro: Le jazz et la java (Datin/Nougaro) 2.24
02. Françoise Hardy: Tous les garçons et les filles (Hardy/Samyn) 3.05
03. Serge Gainsbourg: Intoxicated Man (Gainsbourg) 2.35
04. Line Renaud: Sexe (Gaste) 3.32
05. Jacqueline Dano: Chanson de Lola (Varda/Legrand) 2.12
06. Jacques Brel: La valse à mille temps (Brel) 3.48
07. Martial Solal: New York Herald Tribune (Solal) 1.26
08. Les Double Six: Moanin’ (Timmons) 3.09
09. Magali Noël: Strip-Rock (Goraguer/Vian) 2.16
10. Boris Vian: Je suis snob (Walter/Vian) 2.49
11. Brigitte Bardot: Sidonie (Cros/Spanos/Riviere) 2.52
12. Barbara: Dis quand reviendras tu? (Barbara) 2.52
13. Juliette Gréco: Si tu t’imagines (Queneau) 2.42
14. Yves Montand: C’est si bon (Homez/Betti) 2.33
15. Henry Cording: Vas t’faire cuire un oeuf man (Sinclair/Mike) 2.51
16. Sacha Distel: Scoubidou (Teze/Distel) 3.00
17. Gilbert Becaud: Me-que-me-que (Becaus/Aznavour) 2.27
18. The Miles Davis Ensemble: Générique (nuit sur Les Champs-Élysées) (Davis) 2.53
19. Brigitte Fontaine & Areski: Il pleut sur la gare (Areski/Faintaine) 1.47
20. Valérie Lagrange: Si ma chanson pouvait (Lagrange) 5.25

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Jacques Brel – Ne Me Quitte Pas (1972)

FrontCover1Jacques Brel (; 8 April 1929 – 9 October 1978) was a Belgian singer-songwriter who composed and performed literate, thoughtful, and theatrical songs that generated a large, devoted following in Belgium and France initially, and later throughout the world. He was widely considered a master of the modern chanson. Although he recorded most of his songs in French, he became a major influence on English-speaking songwriters and performers such as David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Marc Almond and Rod McKuen. English translations of his songs were recorded by many top performers in the United States, including Ray Charles, Judy Collins, John Denver, the Kingston Trio, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, Scott Walker, and Andy Williams. In French-speaking countries, Brel was also a successful actor, appearing in ten films. He also directed two films, one of which, Le Far West, was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973. Jacques Brel has sold over 25 million records worldwide, and is the third best-selling Belgian recording artist of all time.

Ne Me Quitte Pas (English: Don’t leave me) is Jacques Brel’s twelfth studio album. Released in 1972 by Barclay (80145), the album features re-recordings of many of Brel’s best-known songs. The album was reissued on 23 September 2003 as part of the 16-CD box set Boîte à Bonbons.

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The title song has been translated into numerous languages, and has been widely covered by French and English-speaking artists, including Isabelle Aubret (2001), Shirley Bassey (1972), Sam Cooke (1960), Céline Dion (1994), Olivia Newton-John (1972), Nina Simone (1965), and Dionne Warwick (1972).

JacquesBrelPersonnel:
Jacques Brel (vocals)
Gérard Jouannest (piano)
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Orchestra conducted by François Rauber

BackCover
Tracklist:
01. Ne me quitte pas (Don’t leave me) (Brel)
02. Marieke (Brel/Jouannest)
03. On n’oublie rien (One forgets nothing) (Brel/Jouannest)
04. Les Flamandes (The Flemish) (Brel)
05. Les prénoms de Paris (The names of Paris) (Brel/Jouannest)
06. Quand on n’a que l’amour (When you only have love) (Brel)
07. Les biches (The does) (Brel/Jouannest)
08. Le prochain amour (The next love) (Brel/Jouannest)
09. Le Moribond (The dying man) (Brel)
10. La valse à mille temps (The waltz a thousand times as fast) (Brel)
11. Je ne sais pas (I don’t know) (Brel)

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