The French label Barclay Records, with which singer/songwriter Jacques Brel was associated for most of the 1960s and '70s, released a compilation of recordings of his songs in March 2004 that differs significantly from this U.S. edition. The French version of Next Brel has 15 tracks to the American 12, but that doesn't mean simply that three tracks have been deleted. In fact, there are six tracks on the French album not found on the American one: "If We Only Have Love," by Dionne Warwick; "Amsterdam," by Anne Watts; "If You Go Away," by Emiliana Torrini; "Next," by Gavin Friday & the Man Seezer; "The Desperate Ones," by Nina Simone; and "Seasons in the Sun," by Terry Jacks (a number one hit in the U.S.). But there are also three tracks on the American album not contained on the French one: "Les Flamandes," by French chanteuse Barbara; "Ne Me Quitte Pas," by Nina Simone; and "My Death," by Scott Walker. The deletions and substitutions make for less repetition of songs on the American album.
Bien après sa disparition, l'œuvre de Jacques Brel continue d'influencer profondément la chanson française. De Benjamin Biolay à Noir Désir, nombre d'artistes se réfèrent à l'auteur du " Plat pays ". Brel est moderne, justement parce qu'il ne l'a jamais été, parce qu'il ne comprenait rien aux modes et qu'il ne s'en souciait guère, il a construit une œuvre intemporelle. François Gorin, ancien critique rock, auteur de plusieurs essais et romans, journaliste à Télérama, brosse un portrait sensible de cet artiste incontournable.
Jacques Brel was a Belgian singer-songwriter who composed and performed literate, thoughtful, and theatrical songs that generated a large, devoted following, initially in Belgium and France, later throughout the world. He was widely considered a master of the modern chanson. Les Marquises (English: The Marquesas) is Jacques Brel's thirteenth and final album. This is a quirky, adventurous set to be sure, but it satisfies from top to bottom: Les Marquises is classic Brel.
After performing in the cabarets of Paris and touring small town venues for 11 years, Brel finally got the chance to perform at the top venue of the concert tour world in France, the legendary Olympia Theatre in Paris. This live performance of 1961 was a smashing success and launched Brel as a major star to be reckoned with in the French speaking world. The demand for Brel concerts soared, and before long he was booking up to 300 performances a year. In 1964 he returned to the Olympia for another huge concert success, followed up the next year with an electrifying concert at Carnegie Hall in New York. We are indeed fortunate that the Brel Foundation with DRG Records have seen fit to remaster and re-release Brel's 1961 and 1964 live concerts at the Olympia for our enjoyment.
Jacques Brel appeared like love and took over my heart. Using his charm, he left me breathless and, as a result, I wanted to express all these emotions through his music,” explained Sonia Theodoridou earlier this week on the occasion of the presentation of her new CD “Sonia Theodoridou Sings Jacques Brel…
Paris, lundi 6 janvier 1969, jour de relâche pour les artistes. Un petit appartement de la rive gauche, au premier étage d'un immeuble de la rue Saint-Placide… La pendule du salon marque 16h28 lorsque retentit un premier coup de sonnette : c'est Georges Brassens. 16h30, seconde sonnerie : Jacques Brel. 16h32 : Léo Ferré. L'affaire a été réglée comme du papier à musique ! Ponctuels au rendez-vous, les trois hommes - accueillis par François-René Cristiani et Jean-Pierre Leloir - sont visiblement ravis de se trouver réunis. Ferré en particulier, que l'idée d'une telle rencontre avait aussitôt séduit.
"Alors, qu'est-ce qu'on va bien pouvoir dire… comme conneries ?", plaisante Brel, en s'installant. Cristiani s'assied à sa droite, Ferré et Brassens à sa gauche. Leloir, qui est arrivé sur place dès 15 heures pour installer son matériel, tourne autour de la table… ronde, pour effectuer ses derniers repères. En attendant, Philippe Monsel - son assistant - immortalise la scène en photographiant les trois monstres sacrés et les deux journalistes…
Sur la table, des boissons et du tabac: de la bière pour tout le monde, des Gitanes pour Brel, des Celtiques pour Ferré, du tabac bleu pour Brassens; Cristiani (qui lui aussi fume la pipe) et sa femme Claudette ont bien fait les choses. Des micros, le magnétophone Uher du journaliste posé sur un guéridon et un autre magnéto avec un technicien, dans une pièce adjacente, pour recueillir des extraits qui seront diffusés - sur RTL - quelques jours plus tard.
In 1973, after he stopped his acting career, Jacques Brel decides to travel around the world. On his boat, the Askoy II - bought in 1974, he sails the tropical seas. But he knows his fate his scealed, he has lung cancer. In 1976, his doctors tell him that he cannot be cured. He then move to the Marquesas where he writes the songs composing this album. The album is released on November 17th of 1977, one million copies have been pre-ordered.
This testament album includes some of his best songs : Jaurès, an homage to the socialist politician murdered just before World War I; Knokke-Le Zoute Tango where he openly sings about sex and prostitution in Amsterdam - his descriptions of these women had never been that precise before; Les F… a song defending french speaking culture in Belgium and mocking Flemish speaking people (he is Flemish himself) on a slightly disco music which differenciates it from the other tracks of this album.
Five of the songs here are from the musical Vilebrequin : Voir un ami pleurer, Vieillir, Les remparts de Varsovie, Le bon dieu and Knokke-Le-Zoute Tango. These great songs alone make this album a must hear. Voir un ami pleurer and Vieillir are very melancholic which makes sense considering Brel knew he was doomed when he wrote it. Les remparts de Varsovie is more upbeat and cheerful though quite machist, it has to be told that Brel had never hidden he favoured man frienship over women's love.
The original album ended on Les Marquises, a hymn to his final home where Brel lived a simple and harmonious life awaiting his death. He died on October 9th of 1978, he had left the Marquesas two days before. He has been buried in the Marquesas in the same cemetery than French painter Paul Gauguin.
This 2004 remastered edition includes 5 bonus tracks of what might have been Brel's new album had he lived a little longer…