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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A creditable effort
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...
Published on 21 Oct 2005 by John Williams

versus
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the real thing...
Sadly, it's the translations that let this record down; too often Mort Schumann's renderings of Brel's words sound rather clumsy, forced and often irrelevant (If You Go Away doesn't really have anything to do with Ne me quitte pas I'm afraid). The orchestration too is slightly disappointing - here the songs have a slightly sugary sheen that ends up sounding rather...
Published on 15 Mar 2004 by goblinski


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5.0 out of 5 stars Scott Walker Signs Jacques Brel, 8 May 2013
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This review is from: Scott Walker Sings Jacques Brel (Audio CD)
I lost my orginal copy and you have solved the problem for me with this cd. As with all your cds they are great
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4.0 out of 5 stars Two music greats combined, 4 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Scott Walker Sings Jacques Brel (Audio CD)
This album is a treat. We get to hear Scott Walker's unique voice as he sings translations of 9 of Jacques Brel's best-known songs, and it works a treat.

The selection of songs shows off the variety of themes that Brel used in his songs. As the sleeve notes put it, he can be both romantic and cynical, often in the same song. Walker readily identified with this when he made the album in the late 60's as he was trying to distance himself from the "pop" songs he had made with The Walker Brothers.

The songs range from the upbeat "Mathilde" to the morose "My Death" and the comic "Next" but all are excellent. Most people will have heard a version of "If You Go Away" and Walkers is as good as there is.

At times you feel the translation into English of Brel's lyrics by Mort Shulman is a bit forced but this is probably being very petty.

This album is a great combination of two great musical talents.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fine Wire Mesh, 2 Jan 2011
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Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Scott Walker Sings Jacques Brel (Audio CD)
David Bowie brought Brel to the masses, ie me. with Amsterdam and My Death, the B sides and outtakes from Ziggy era rock and roll animal. Scott Walker's versions were latterly confined to his dedicated fans of which there are legion, due to the majesty of his baritone rolling around boom, within these linguistic reverberated cadences.

The backing music is pure unadulterated Thunderbirds are a go go, mixed with a supreme form of carousel pathos. Making these an exhilerating entre into the 60's, as a time beyond the mainstream. Much better than Peppers and all the introspective spank, as it inhabits a sneering caustic cynique, caressing with tenderness. It belies the joining of hands and calling for universal peace. This is a call to arms for a 60's generation to tear off the veils of self deception.

Brel stripped pretence from the pink candyfloss worlds of emotional love pang bang wallop eye melt in you discourses. Whilst the Anglo worlds were locked in Spoons with Junes, Brel sang about clumsy first sex experiences in brothels, the pathos of dying, getting old.

As the femme fatale or lady of the night locked in the arms of a world of misery forever calling "Next" ties up and coils by the hour with the alienated man. The man who would be king is forever haunted by sexual feelings of loneliness of everyday life. Reduced to a cipher he screams her dream in his night time reverie.

Scott Walker evokes the emotional vibrations of Brel's collapsing worlds, the feelings of fetid entrapment, the always emerging ennui of existence overtaking moments of clarity and joy.

Amsterdam another ode to fly by night sex has a soft tender underscore as Brel brings out the sordid carousel as a lived experience. The cry is to the life of the prostitute.

Scott Walker shedding his boy band credentials reforged these songs by basting it in a maudlin oy. Built on a prison of a lived experience he squeezed between the bars to deliver one of the finest love songs "if you go away" a contrast to the bathing in acid he exposed in his bordello. Here the heartfelt plea of emotional devastation constrasted with the blossom of love, opening its many unfurled petals in human connection.

Brel traversed the emotional range as a man who could engage with all seasons. Scott Walker offers this magic to Anglo worlds. His bass quiver, beams an emotional tour de force, dons the clothes and evokes the smells whilst oozing the sweat of these songs in 2am nightclubs.

Cover versions are usually toe pokes for nostalgia, quick bucks for all concerned. These are more than covers, they are sparkling haunting masterpieces of bitter sweet Celinean vignettes, replete with full clips of emotional maxims. Love is multi a faceted jewel not just need or greed.

Death, the obverse is celebrated, derided and accepted as life. The existential pang of existence is confronted head on.

Music for an emotionally literati, a fine mesh that sieves those who can from those who cannot.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A creditable effort, 21 Oct 2005
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John Williams (Apeldoorn, Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Scott Walker Sings Jacques Brel (Audio CD)
OK, so it's not the real thing. I personally prefer the real thing (see my review of 'Quand o'n 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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8 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than the real thing!, 16 May 2004
This review is from: Scott Walker Sings Jacques Brel (Audio CD)
In my mind I believe that Scott Walker is one of them angels that just happen to walk the Earth by some weird and peculiar accident.
I heard Jacques Brel and I can tell you that Scott's versions of his songs are miles better, sung with swagger and feeling even Brel never possesed.Buy it!!
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Scott Walker Sings Jacques Brel
Scott Walker Sings Jacques Brel by Scott Walker (Audio CD - 1995)
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