Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris [Original Cast/2002 Remaster]

( 7 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Jacques Brel occupied a position in French popular music roughly comparable to that of Bob Dylan in the U.S., writing and singing personal, serious songs of greater depth and individuality than most pop. Unlike Dylan, however, Brel's music, drawing upon cabaret styles, had an overtly theatrical flair. America in the winter of 1968 was well-primed for such an artist, and veteran songwriter Mort Shuman, along with associate Eric Blau, hit upon the idea of translating Brel's songs and presenting them in a musical revue. Using only four performers including Shuman, they staged Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris at a Greenwich Village nightclub starting on ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Jacques Brel occupied a position in French popular music roughly comparable to that of Bob Dylan in the U.S., writing and singing personal, serious songs of greater depth and individuality than most pop. Unlike Dylan, however, Brel's music, drawing upon cabaret styles, had an overtly theatrical flair. America in the winter of 1968 was well-primed for such an artist, and veteran songwriter Mort Shuman, along with associate Eric Blau, hit upon the idea of translating Brel's songs and presenting them in a musical revue. Using only four performers including Shuman, they staged Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris at a Greenwich Village nightclub starting on January 22, 1968. When it finally closed, 1,847 performances later, it was the third-longest-running show in off-Broadway history. One reason was the performers, particularly the gruff, melodramatic Shuman and the reedy-voiced Elly Stone, who recalled Edith Piaf. Smooth tenor Shawn Elliott had several excellent ballad solos, such as "Fanette," while Allison Whitfield largely offered support. But the main reason was those songs, which explored the glories and humiliations of love notably "Mathilde" and the deceptively cheery "Madeleine", the passage of time "Marathon," "Carousel", and, unflinchingly, death "My Death," "Funeral Tango". The material worked theatrically because each song defined a character and told a story, whether of an unmarried man "Bachelor's Dance" or an army recruit losing his virginity to a prostitute "Next". David Bowie became so enamored of "Amsterdam," a song in which a sailor salutes the city's prostitutes, that he recorded a cover version, but he did not improve on Shuman's rendition. Columbia Records recorded a double-LP box set of the show that included 22 of its 26 songs and captured its enormous appeal.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/28/2002
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 696998999824
  • Catalog Number: 89998
  • Sales rank: 3,572

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Marathon (Les flamandes) - Company (3:00)
  2. 2 Alone (Seul) - Shawn Elliott (3:04)
  3. 3 Madeleine - Company (2:44)
  4. 4 I loved (J'aimais) - Elly Stone (2:50)
  5. 5 Mathilde - Mort Shuman (2:24)
  6. 6 Bachelor's Dance (La bourrée du célibataire) - Shawn Elliott (2:24)
  7. 7 Timid Frieda (La timides) - Company (3:10)
  8. 8 My death (La mort) - Company (4:29)
  9. 9 Jackie (La chanson de Jacky) - Mort Shuman (3:14)
  10. 10 Desperate ones (Les déspérés) - Company (3:56)
  11. 11 Sons of... (Fils de...) - Elly Stone (3:11)
  12. 12 Amsterdam - Company (2:54)
  13. 13 The bulls (Les taureaux) - Company (2:38)
  14. 14 Old folks (Les vieux) - Company (5:07)
  15. 15 Marieke - Company (3:22)
  16. 16 Brussels (Bruxelles) - Company (3:03)
  17. 17 Fanette (La fanette) - Shawn Elliott (5:32)
  18. 18 Funeral tango (Le tango funèbre) - Mort Shuman (2:51)
  19. 19 The middle class (Les bourgeois) - Shawn Elliott (3:11)
  20. 20 You're not alone (Jef) - Elly Stone (4:00)
  21. 21 Next (Au suivant) - Company (2:49)
  22. 22 Carousel (La valse à mille temps) - Company (3:30)
  23. 23 If we only have love (Quand on n'a que l'amour) - Company (3:47)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Mort Shuman Musical Direction
Shawn Elliott Vocals, Track Performer
Elly Stone Track Performer
Wolfgang Knittel Conductor
Technical Credits
Jacques Brel Lyricist
Mort Shuman Production Concept
Didier C. Deutsch Reissue Producer
Edward Kleban Producer
Fred Plaut Engineer
Murray Zimney Engineer
Bob Cato Cover Photo
Ken Fredette Art Direction
Richard Jay-Alexander Liner Notes
Gérard Jouannest Composer
Wolfgang Knittel Arranger
Moni Yakim Director
Eric Blau Production Concept, Additional Music
Stacey Boyle Tape Research
Pete Dauria Engineer
Dodie Pettit Composer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Jacques Brel is Alive

    The english interpretations of the French master songwriter Jacques Brel by Mort Shuman and Eric Blau for this cabaret of Brel's songs are done very nicely. The cries of Marieke and the forcefullness of Amsterdam bring out the raw emotions of Brel to the forefront. Carousel is Brel's interpretation of the lives of the individual spinning faster and faster with hardly catching his or her own breath to really truly enjoy life. Old Folks brings out the tenderness of life's last moments. The recording is truly faithful in the distortion free sound through the digital remastering of this show. For those who love musical theatre, this is a nice addition to their library. For those who love Jacques Brel, this belongs in their collection of his music.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The most influential show of my life

    On a Sunday afternoon, I was dragged to the Village Gate to see this show for the first time over 35 years ago. Thus began an odyssey for me that changed my life forever. I bought a ginger ale at the bar, sat down and listened for two hours as my life was morphed. I listened to Brel and learned about love, happiness, despair, sorrow, gut- wrenching pain, delight, and in the end, hope. And I cried...oh did I cry. And I myself fell in love. And I would come back to the Village Gate every weekend, sometimes twice a weekend (yes, you're reading this right) until I lost track when I saw the show well over 100 times. And I was there in 1972 at its final performance, when Elly Stone got up and sang once again. And that Fall, I was also at the Royale Theatre on opening night when it was resurected. Elly Stone and Brel have been close to me in many ways since that time and I miss them both. It's my fault I don't see Elly more, but that's another long story. Buy this disc, and experience something you can't get today from the junk that popular music pretends to market to America. This is the soul of music. This is what life is about. Brel understood it all. Blau and Shuman knew how to work it. And Elly Stone will transfix you if you really listen to her. LISTEN to 'Old Folks', 'Marieke', 'I' Loved', 'My Death', and so many more. Amazing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Paris Still Lives at the Village Gate

    I have been waiting and waiting, hoping that someone would bring that exquisite performance at the Village Gate to life! This CD captures all that it was and still is! I saw the show twice at the Gate and once when it was in DC with a different cast. To hear those beautiful voices, especially Elly Stone's, bring back the glory and range of all of the different songs¿ is not nostalgia that is evoked, but a richer appreciation and deeper understanding of the many joys and sorrows of life. Hearing it again after 30+ years¿the songs touch places in the heart that can only have been carved out over many years of living, loving, and loss. Bravo! Listen to it again and again!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great Reissue!

    This site incorrectly mentions that this is a film version. It is NOT. It is the original cast that appeared at the Village Gate in Greenwich Village of NYC in the 1960's. Still unequalled. Elly Stone is magnificent, as is Mort Schumann et al! This is a re-issue...finally!!! there was a video version done for a special theatrical experiment (which included Zero Mostel in Rhinocerous"....all of them lost!) Though there was a soundtrack lp that accompanied that theatrical presentation that was part of a theater/movie hybrid, this is not it, though the casts were identical or similar. Final word....GET THIS CD!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    At last

    It's hard to believe it's been 35 years since this production played the Village Gate in New York. I still remember the review in the New Yorker that prompted me to see it: "See it with someone you love. Especially if the relationship is complex and disquieting." All the songs are good, but the ones performed by Elly Stone are the real treasures. Sons of. Marieke. Old Folks. Get this one. 12 bucks. What a steal!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews