Monday, February 28, 2011

Scott Walker Series, #10: Jacques Brel- Olympia 64 (1964)/ Ces Gens-Là (1966) MP3 & FLAC

"Et ils tournent et ils dansent, Comme des soleils crachés, Dans le son déchiré, D’un accordéon rance."

Still little-known to the English-speaking world, Jacques Brel's cabaret-style character portraits and his intense, emotional vocal delivery have had an incalculable influence on ground-breaking artists such as Scott Walker, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, and Nick Cave. One of the most distinctive aspects of Brel's work is his penchant for writing songs that lovingly, bitterly, and often satirically bump shoulders with the outcasts and "losers" of this world, whom we tend to push outside our field of vision in the false belief that we are somehow different. While Brel may poke fun at his characters, singing of their impotent resentments and sodden escapades, he never looks down on them. This, coupled with his singular voice (which he is said to have worked on tirelessly), established Brel as one of the most original singer-songwriters of the post-WWII period. Scott Walker has said that it was his discovery of Brel's work that inspired his early solo career, and clearly Walker's existential tales of despair owe a huge debt of gratitude to Brel. The crowning achievement of Brel's recorded oeuvre are his two "Olympia" concerts, the second of which, Olympia 64, begins with the first and only officially released version of "Amsterdam." This is brilliant and essential stuff that is quite unlike anything else you've heard, and it has long deserved a larger English-speaking audience.

Olympia 64 (2003 Remastered Edition)
 1. Amsterdam  (3:28)
 2. Les timides  (3:39)
 3. Le dernier repas  (3:33)
 4. Le jardins du casino  (3:22)
 5. Les vieux  (4:15)
 6. Les Toros  (2:50)
 7. Tango funèbre  (3:04)
 8. Le plat pays  (3:04)
 9. Les bonbons  (3:08)
10. Mathilde  (2:35)
11. Les bigotes  (2:43)
12. Les bourgeois  (2:48)
13. Jef  (3:29)
14. Au suivant  (2:59)
15. Madeleine  (3:14)

Ces Gens-Là (2003 Remastered Edition)
 1. Ces gens-là  (4:38)
 2. Jef  (3:35)
 3. La chanson de Jacky  (3:23)
 4. Les bergers  (2:46)
 5. Le tango funèbre  (2:46)
 6. Fernand  (5:16)
 7. Mathilde  (2:38)
 8. L'âge idiot  (3:46)
 9. Grand-mère  (3:43)
10. Les désespérés  (3:52)
11. Mijn vlakke land (Le plat pays)  (2:56)
12. Rosa (Version Flamande)  (2:52)
13. De Burgerij (Les bourgeois)  (3:04)
14. De nuttelozen van de nacht (Les paumés du petit matin)  (4:15)


  1. Thank you for all the effort you have put into the Scott Walker series on your blog. I was only familiar with his later work and am bewitched at how great his early albums Scott 2 & 3 are. Clearly a huge influence on the Bowie. I am eagerly looking forward to hearing this Brel LP to see where Walker was coming from post Walker Brothers. All the best and thanks again.

  2. Harold, thank you so much for being the first to comment on this post, and also for your compliment on the Walker series. These Brel albums are, to my ears, incredible, and I can see why Walker was so taken with Brel's work. Although the remainder of the series will primarily focus on Walker's post 1978 material, there will still be a post for "Scott 4," which most take to be his masterpiece. It's up next after "Pola X." Thanks for reading the blog!

  3. There is a Scott Walker sings songs of Jacques Brel in English album!

  4. Hi Fred, that Walker sings Brel album is a compilation of all the Brel covers he did on his early solo albums. Because they are already on albums I've posted, I decided not to include that one in the series, but as an album, it's quite good, thanks for your comment!

  5. Thanks a lot for this post! It's quite a surprise indeed. I don't have much time to listen to music lately but I'll definitely give "Olympia 64" a listen.

  6. Brel is like nothing else. I have all his albums in FLAC; perhaps I'll post some more at some point

  7. Btw, are you planning to post The Walker Brothers debut album (Take It Easy), voixautre?

  8. Hi Michael, I decided to leave that one out because I think it's the weakest of their three original albums (I know I could be wrong about this). I can always post it down the road at some point

  9. by the way, I'm hoping to get the next Walker post up late late tonight :)

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  11. Are those 2 Cd s par of the 16 CD BOX of 2003?
    If you happen to have the CD L'homme de la Mancha it would be great if you could consider posting it someday in Flac. Many thanks

  12. I cannot thank you enough. I'm a singer who loves singing Walker stuff, but I've been trying to learn French for 2 years, and can't wait to immerse myself in Brel's brilliance. Thanks again sir!


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