An interesting collection,
This review is from: Les Flamandes (Vol 3) (Audio CD)
If you've already bought 'Infiniment' or some other best of -collection of Jacques Brel, I recommend this as an addition. Or rather: this is one of the records I'd recommend.
This one contains songs you don't hear that often, such as 'L'aventure' - a positive, playful song with children -, 'Voir' - a very beautiful song with almost angelic choirs -, 'Vivre debout', which Brel sings backed by a Spanish guitar in flamenco style (after all: what style didn't he and Rauber try? and always with beautiful results), 'Les amants de coeur' - a rarity because Brel didn't usually sing other people's songs, this is a compliment to McKuen who had translated his songs - and one of my favourites: 'Les coeurs tendres': "There are those whose hearts are so big, you can enter them without a quiver, whose hearts are so big, you can only see half, there are those whose hearts are so fragile, you can break it with one finger, those whose hearts are too fragile to live like you and I..."
The record covers a surprisingly long period from his early songs 'Il y a' and 'La foire' (and you can hear he was still a bit unease as a singer in those days, quite nasal in fact, which probably has something to do with his original dialect) to 1967. In fact, some of these songs are from movies, like 'L'enfance' from 'Le Far West', Brel's own movie, 'Les coeurs tendres' (Un idiot a Paris), 'Pourquoi faut-il que les hommes s'ennuient?' (Un roi sans divertissement) and 'La Chanson de Van Horst' (Le bar de la Fourche). Dramatic songs like 'Le moribond' and 'L'ivrogne' give a very good example of Brel's talents both as a singer-songwriter and as an actor, these are short monologues with sarcasm, insight about human nature and a lot of panache. 'L'ivrogne' sounds interestingly like Russian drinking songs, so we have the Europe here from Spain to Russia, performed by a Belgian.
So this is very different from all the best of -collections - and a very interesting record, illuminating different aspects of Brel's career. Some of these songs (Marieke, Le prochain amour) were rearranged and rerecorded in the early seventies, but I prefer these versions. Rauber and Jouannest are working with Brel here and that is what made this magic complete. Just listen.