Albums

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French Music - Released March 15, 2003 | Arion

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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French Music - Released January 1, 2009 | Marianne Mélodie

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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French Music - Released January 1, 2008 | Marianne Mélodie

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Standard

French Music - Released June 10, 2015 | Ina Archives

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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French Music - Released June 10, 2015 | Ina Archives

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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French Music - Released June 10, 2015 | Ina Archives

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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French Music - Released June 10, 2015 | Ina Archives

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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French Music - Released June 10, 2015 | INA Mémoire vive

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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French Music - Released January 1, 2013 | Universal Music Division Barclay

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Standard - Hi-Res Audio
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." 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. ~ Amy Hanson
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French Music - Released January 1, 2013 | Universal Music Division Barclay

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Standard - Hi-Res Audio
Nine songs spread over ten inches of shellac, Jacques Brel's debut album descended upon the French scene of the mid-'50s like an alien invasion. One moment, the chain-smoking Belgian singer/songwriter was a minor name struggling for survival around the Paris nightclubs, frequently playing his intense little songs at six different venues a night; the next, the gleeful "Il Peut Pleuvoir" and the contrarily sober "Sur la Place" were rewriting the very nature of the chanson. Where once was simple emoting, Brel implanted emotion. Where once was ribaldry, Brel inserted drollness. And where once local music was for squares and their parents, Brel was feted by teenaged rock & rollers. Jacques Brel et Ses Chansons, the album which ignited the iconoclasm, is ferociously confident. Although only one of the songs will be immediately familiar to a "rock" audience -- Marc Almond covered "Le Diable (Ca Va)" (as "The Devil" on his Jacques album) -- still there is an instantly recognizable compulsion to the performance. Brel's mellifluous, half-smiling, half-snarling voice gallops across the landscape, paced all the way by the richly textured and deeply imaginative accompaniment of Andre Grassi and his orchestra; the snatch of French accordion which punctuates the dark delivery of "Il Nous Faut Regarder" is both hideously apposite and rudely ironic. It is not all doom and gloom, of course -- indeed, Brel's reputation for morbidity and misery is more the premise of his louder English acolytes than of his own work. "C'est Comme Ca" is insanely jovial, a veritable machine gun of leaping lyric and frolicking instrumentation; "Il Peut Pleuvoir" shares a similar outlook, while "Le Fou Du Roi" apparently stepped out of the court of Marie Antoinette, all sweetly chiming harpsichord and a sweetly lilting nursery rhyme rhythm. The ghost of Prokofiev's "Troika" which hangs around the melody only adds to the experience. It is "Sur la Place" which dominates, however. Recorded at one of his first ever sessions with orchestra leader Francois Rauber, with whom Brel would continue to work for the remainder of his career, the song rides an arrangement which wouldn't be out of place punctuating a gentle ghost story, while Brel's talent for conjuring the spirits of nostalgia and sadness from the passing of time is revealed with a perceptiveness almost unbecoming in a mere 25-year-old. Even compared with all that he would go on to create, Jacques Brel et Ses Chansons is no formative, tentative debut offering. Brel sprang into the public consciousness fully formed, with all his gifts and offerings already on public display. All he needed now was for the public to turn and look. Upon release, the album sold a little over 2,000 copies. ~ Dave Thompson
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French Music - Released January 1, 2013 | Universal Music Division Barclay

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Standard - Hi-Res Audio
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French Music - Released January 1, 2013 | Universal Music Division Barclay

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Standard - Hi-Res Audio
$14.99
$12.99

French Music - Released January 1, 2013 | Universal Music Division Barclay

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Standard - Hi-Res Audio
$14.99
$12.99

French Music - Released January 1, 2013 | Universal Music Division Barclay

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Standard - Hi-Res Audio
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$12.99

French Music - Released January 1, 2013 | Universal Music Division Barclay

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Standard - Hi-Res Audio
This is the Jacques Brel EP morphed into a full-length album. A gorgeous reissue of the 1962 classic, Bourgeois showcases the singer at his finest, with his first set after leaving Philips and signing to the venerable Barclay label. Although there isn't a bonus track to be found, the set is steeped in all those moments that make Brel a pure pleasure to behold. From the opening "Les Bourgeois" to the closing "Rosa," there isn't a moment of lapse, a second of down time. Of all the tracks, though, there are several that stand out among the crowd of well-known chanson. "Les Paumes du Petit Matin" is the essence of melodic swing, while "Zangra" evokes both chuckles and moribund fear with its juxtaposition of an enlisted man hoping to climb the ranks with a single blaze of glory and the cheating women who surround him. "Casse Pompon" continues Brel's common thread of the military, as does "La Statue," which chronicles the story of a young enlisted man who joined up because of the promise of loose women. Rounding up the mix are the eternal crowd favorites "Madeline," "Les Bourgeois," "Bruxelles," and "Le Plat Pays," the latter one of the first songs Brel recorded for Barclay and a stirring tribute to his birthplace. With the simplest of accompaniments, just guitar and organ to cradle his voice, "Le Plat Pays" sings the praises of a gentle life, a quiet life, a rural life, ushering in a vision that was the complete antithesis of what Brel's life in Paris had become. For content and variety, it really doesn't get much better than this, although a little extra bonus material would have been a welcome addition. ~ Amy Hanson
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French Music - Released January 1, 2013 | Universal Music Division Barclay

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Standard - Hi-Res Audio
Take two 1964 EPs, Brel and L'Age Idiot, and what do you get? Ces Gens-La, a full-length album that brings the two together. This straightforward reissue retains the original set list, yet adds no bonus material, which is a shame. On the upside, though, it's a nifty little package that collects Jacques Brel's mid-decade nuggets. Although the layman will be most familiar with "Jef," "Chanson de Jacky," and "Mathilde," there are other songs that are equally, if not more so, as strong as the "hits." "Ces Gens-Lá" is a perfect example. Accompanied at first by the merest beat of keys on a piano, the song brings Brel's voice completely to the front as it starts a slow stroke before building to pure passion, backed by both strings and brass. It's a beautiful composition in which, in true style, the singer skewers both the family and the Church. And it's moments like these that only enforce the realization that there would only ever be one chansonnier of Brel's caliber. "Grand'mère" and "Fernand," meanwhile, bring a lighthearted touch to the proceedings. So much emphasis in the English-speaking world has been placed on Brel's core "classic songs" that everything else pretty much falls away. And until the reissue push of the late '90s and early 2000s, much that had only been released on vinyl was all but lost. This compilation then, is a vital, vibrant reminder that Brel was far more than just a handful of hits. ~ Amy Hanson
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French Music - Released January 1, 2013 | Universal Music Division Barclay

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Standard - Hi-Res Audio
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French Music - Released July 22, 2013 | Jacques Canetti Productions

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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French Music - Released January 8, 2007 | Jacques Canetti Productions

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard

French Music - Released June 7, 2013 | Claire De Lune

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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