Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Brel En Public Olympia 1961 Vol 8
Genres: World Music, Jazz, Pop, Rock, Broadway & Vocalists
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Merilahti Kristiina | Finland | 09/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"1961 Brel was at his best, the most famous ones of his songs had been done and he didn't suffer yet from his obsessive smoking, which later caused losing a big part of his lungs and finally his death in 1978. Listening to this it's easy to understand, why he moved so easily from singing to acting: these are plays, not songs, and Brel is the entire cast. He reigns the stage so, that you hardly notice the audience - but can feel their enthusiasm - or the music, which is excellent, though, the players clearly know how to work with Brel. In this collection you find such masterpieces as 'Quand on n'a que l'amour', 'Bourgeois' and (in my opinion) the best version of 'Ne me quitte pas'. Performing live Brel makes clear, that 'Ne me quitte pas' isn't just an infinitely beautiful song, but also very painful, even cruel. Towards the end he becomes just as small and weak and pathetic as in the lyrics - and for his next song performs 'Moribonde' with all the panache and audacity and power he had. 'Seasons in the sun' is - by the way - a horrible distortion of this song. This isn't a sentimental song, he says goodbye to his friends and enemies and to his wife's lover and his wife as someone, who is on top of the situation. 'And I want people to sing and dance and have fun like fools, when they drop me into the ditch' is about what he sings in the refrain. (Sorry if it isn't quite right, neither English nor French are my native languages...) And after that he goes on to 'Quand on n'a que l'amour', something completely different. Brel is at his best in 'Ivrogne' describing how and why the man gets drunk and drowns in his illusions - knowing them to be only illusions. His disappointment in life and in himself and people around him and the obstinate will to have fun and a moment of escape couldn't be better portrayed. 'Statue' is related to this, a man confessing what he really is, though people come and point at his statue saying noble things about him. 'I wish the children wouldn't look at me...' Maybe Brel was a swine in real life (of which I've never wanted to know much about) but he was never blind.This record shows what made him great, different from any other performers and songwriters. The first time I heard him I was confused and thought: this isn't really singing - though I can follow the tune, so he must be singing. It was always more."