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Sings Jacques Brel


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Biography

Bish (n. sl.), bitch
Bosch, Hieronymous (c. 1450–1516), Dutch painter
Bish bosh (sl.), job done, sorted

“I was thinking about making the title refer to a mythological, all-encompassing, giant woman artist.” Scott Walker

A Hieronymous Bosch painting can’t be apprehended in a single blink of an eye. The Garden of Earthly Delights is made up of panels in ... Read more in Amazon's Scott Walker Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Music Distribution
  • ASIN: 5553337704
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By John Williams TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Oct 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
OK, so it's not the real thing. I personally prefer the real thing (see my review of 'Quand on n'a que l'Amour'), but sometimes it's more relaxing to listen to the songs in English translations. Brel does not translate well in to English. Most translations are either so literal that the English sounds stilted, or so far from the original that the meaning and atmosphere are lost or changed completely. But as far as performances of Brel songs in English go, those on this album are good. Scott Walker seems to have a genuine love of and feeling for these songs. Of course, you could take individual songs and say: well, so-and-so does that better. For example, I think that Walker's rendition of 'Next' isn't a patch on the one by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, and I found that his 'Amsterdam' wasn't quite seedy enough for me. But taken as a whole, this colection is good. Walker's voice is strong (though it lacks the biting edge of Brel's own) and the backing arrangements are very punchy. His performances of 'Mathilde' (what a perfect blast of noise and emotion to open the album!) and 'Jackie' are particularly stunning and faithful to the spirit of the originals. He injects real caustic irony into 'Funeral Tango', and 'Sons Of' is just so beautiful. If you only want one album of Brel songs sung in English, this would be a good choice, but do give the man himself a listen too.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By "gillianmclaughlin" on 2 Nov 1999
Format: Audio CD
There are few artistes who merit a mention for cover versions: Scott Walker ranks among the highest for this production. I live in Belgium, the home of Jacques Brel.
Friends who have listened to this CD, that is friends from Belgium (both French speaking and Dutch speaking) and those who come from elsewhere agree that among the many covers of Brel, this one gives a sense of reality... of belonging... of understanding. Walker somehow manages to merge an orchestration with a sense of time and place... to make something meaningful of the generally great translations of these Brel masterpieces.
Were I to search for a real weakness, it is neither in the performance, nor in the orchestration, but in the translation of one song... Jacky. Were I to search for a missing item, it would be Marieke... a song of which Walker could make great things.
All in all a great introduction to a master in songwriting and perfomance, a wonderful testimony to Brel, and a showcase for Scott Walker, who deserves greater recognition that the pop artist of the seventies.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Misterboxy on 12 Oct 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Superb collection of the Brel songs included on Scott's first three solo LP's - Superb singing, and Excellent orchestrations make this a stand - out CD - reasonably priced too. It was hearing this CD which made me check out the rest of his material!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By G. Armstrong VINE VOICE on 6 Aug 2002
Format: Audio CD
The combination of the disturbing songs of Jacquel Brel with the unearthly baritone of Scott Walker is magical. The rollocking "Jackie", which was considered so daring that it was denied radio airplay, captures both artist and writer at their best. The pulsating drive mirrors the subject matter of the song; the ravings of a egomanic intent on ultimate self expression. Walker's frenzied, yet paradoxically controlled, delivery captures this theme wonderfully. The seedier aspects of life are displayed on "Amsterdam", with drunken sailors indulging their boundless passions. Although Walker's vocals are technically faultless, somehow the essential purity of his voice detracts from the decadence the song depicts. "The Girls and the Dogs", is a song which now appears woefully sexist but situated in the context of its times it figures as a humourous commentary on the vexed nature of relationships. In a similar vain, "Funeral Tango", has Walker sarcastically berating the guests at his funeral. The tongue in cheek content and Walker's melodramatic delivery combine to produce an unforgetable listening experience. The final track of nine, "Sons Of", is truly beautiful. Walker's sensitive performance perfectly expresses Brels convictions of the unity of mankind and the sanctity of human life. In short, this is a seminal album of the sixties in which singer and composer unite to reach the heights of artistic expression.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By P. Bryant VINE VOICE on 16 July 2002
Format: Audio CD
First, I suppose, it's the full-tilt melodrama of the arrangements which crash out of the speakers like wild bulls (Jackie) or build to howling insane crescendos (Mathilde, Amsterdam), or swoon away in pain and longing (My Death, Sons of); but then, once you've tuned your ear to what Scott Walker is singing about, it's the equally outrageous sentiments being expressed which pin you in your seat, eyes widening in astonishment. "Go ask the maid if she heard what I said/ Tell her to change the sheets on the bed/ Mathilde's come back to me" - you don't hear that kind of talk where I come from. Or in "Next" the singer emphasising "I swear on the wet head of my first case of gonorrhea" - well, really. In "Port of Amsterdam" we are in the company of disgusting old tramps, in "Funeral Tango" the singer is actually dead and being a trifle bitter about the people who show up for his funeral. In "The Girls and the Dogs" the singer prefers dogs (as lighthearted as it gets I'm afraid). All these songs are about people in a dreadful state. There's none of them you'd have in your house, maybe with the exception of the singer of "Sons of", which is about all children everywhere ("the same sweet smiles, the same sad tears, the cries at night, the nightmare fears"), about the lost children, which is to say all children, because they all grow up, - hey, this is so sentimental you could be listening to Morningtown Ride by the Seekers except Judith Durham wouldn't have sang "All of the children vanished too soon/In towering waves, in walls of flesh/Among dying birds trembling with death".
This album is too short. All nine tracks are masterpieces. They were made by Scott Walker, the singer; Jacquel Brel, the songwriter; Mort Shuman, the English lyricist (a far cry from Viva Las Vegas, Mort); and the unsung heroes Wally Scott, Peter Knight and Reg Guest, who did the fabulous orchestral arrangements.
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