Albums

£7.99

Keyboard Concertos - Released January 1, 1953 | Decca

Distinctions Diapason d'or
£12.49

French Music - Released January 1, 1983 | Decca

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
Everyone knows the tragic context surrounding the making of this album. It is almost more famous than the content of the album itself. Having lived in the Marquesas Islands for years, Brel was already very sick when he started thinking of an opus, which will be conceived as “the last”. Once the text had been written, he took off to Paris where he entrusts the arrangements to his lifetime accomplice, François Rauber. As for rehearsals, they took place on rue de Verneuil at Juliette, Gréco’s home. The singer who wrote Ne me quitte pas knows he’s doomed when he creates Les Marquises, so it’s not really surprising to hear him talk about death and old age, like in the magnificent La Ville s’endormait and Vieillir, an overexcited tango where he hammers that “la mort, cela n’est rien” (Death is nothing). Jojo also reaches new heights of emotion, as a love letter to a deceased friend, in which Brel is only accompanied by a solo guitar. But this morbid context doesn’t make this album a formulaic spiritual quest, or even a succession of bleak tunes. Therefore, Brel puts Man above God in Le bon dieu, a humanist waltz that isn’t 1000-count but, on the contrary, serenely slow and benevolent. Marcel Azzola’s accordion works wonders here. The same serenity is displayed in Les Marquises and in Voir un ami pleurer (which owes a lot to Gérard Jouannest’s sensitive piano). The poet wishes to get away from the morbid fatality that gnaws at him, which can also be felt in the politically engaged texts, such as this hagiography of Jaurès, or Les Flamingants, a violent charge against Flemish nationalism. The testimonial aspect of this album is thus relative, and in that probably lies all of its strength. And of course, Jacques Brel’s biting and legendary humor couldn’t be missing. Let’s cite Les Remparts de Varsovie, an incredibly potent satirical sketch. Despite being sick, Brel hadn’t lost an ounce of his energy or irony, as evidenced by Le Lion, a mad fable which doesn’t know if it’s samba or circus music. © Nicolas Magenham/Qobuz
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Pop - Released January 1, 1981 | Decca

A new, larger version of Camel debuted on Nude, a concept album about a Japanese soldier stranded on a deserted island during World War II and staying there, oblivious to the outside world, for 29 years. More ambitious than the preceding I Can See Your House from Here, Nude is in many ways just as impressive. Although it's a less accessible effort, it has a number of quite intriguing passages, particularly since it boasts heavier improvisation, orchestration, and even some worldbeat influences. It's not as spacy as Camel's earlier progressive rock records, yet it is quite atmospheric, creating its own entrancing world. [A remastered version of Nude was released in 2009, including ten bonus tracks recorded live at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1981 for the BBC Radio 1 program In Concert.] ~ Daevid Jehnzen
£12.49

Pop - Released January 1, 1961 | Decca

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Classical - Released January 1, 1960 | Decca

£12.49

Pop - Released January 1, 1987 | Decca

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Classical - Released January 1, 1974 | Decca

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1988 | Decca

There are two distinct periods covered by this compilation of sessions Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli, and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France recorded for a number of French labels. The first was just before Grappelli left France to go to England, not wanting to be under the Nazi Germany-sponsored Vichy government during World War II. Reinhardt stayed in France to head a successful band. The second was recorded following the war, when Grappelli returned to France to continue to perform with Reinhardt until 1949. Regardless of the time period, the music here is vintage Reinhardt/Grappelli. It swings, it's expressive, and most of the time, it's fun. Reinhardt lays the foundation for Count Basie's "one more time" "April in Paris" routine on "Sweet Georgia Brown," with a similar call, "one more." Reinhardt's grasp of harmony, incredible technique, and powerful sense of rhythm are the trademarks of these (and virtually all of his) sessions. One hears these attributes used to their fullest on such tunes as "My Sweet" and "Liza." The album has one track where Reinhardt plays solo guitar, "Improvisation No. 2." But his playing is more expressive and effective when in a group. Grappelli shows that he was no slouch at the piano on "The Man I Love" and "Don't Worry 'Bout Me." American expatriate Beryl Davis vocalizes on "Undecided" and "Don't Worry 'Bout Me." The contributions to the swing feel of the pieces by brother Joseph Reinhardt, while never fully appreciated, are considerable. This album demonstrates why Django Reinhardt was such a celebrity as a guitarist and why he had a significant influence on guitarists from all parts of the world for years. ~ Dave Nathan
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Rock - Released January 1, 1979 | Decca

Although not an honest representation of the band's character, this is undoubtedly their most popular work. The one-time addition of American Kit Watkins produces some fine keyboard lead work. Rupert Hine's resourceful production and appearances by Phil Collins and Mel Collins round out this strong release. "Survival" and "Who We Are" feature some fine orchestrations, and guitarist Latimer delivers some exceptional lead work on the album's closer "Ice." ~ Matthew Plichta
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Classical - Released January 1, 1992 | Decca

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Classical - Released January 1, 1992 | Decca

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Classical - Released January 1, 1993 | Decca

£13.49

Classical - Released January 1, 1993 | Decca

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Pop - Released January 1, 1982 | Decca

Following the ambitious song cycle Nude, Camel attempted their version of an Alan Parsons Project album with The Single Factor. Considering that Parsons was having hits that year with songs like "Eye in the Sky," it's not surprising that Camel tried to capture the same audience, yet their talent didn't lay with pop music -- it lay with atmospheric instrumentals and creating detailed soundscapes. Consequently, The Single Factor sounds a little forced and often fails to capture the group's magic, even though there a few strong moments on the record. ~ Daevid Jehnzen

Classical - Released January 1, 1994 | Decca

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Classical - Released January 1, 1994 | Decca

£11.49

Classical - Released January 1, 1995 | Decca

£12.49

Classical - Released January 1, 1995 | Decca

The Collections

Label

Decca in the magazine