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

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

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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,… See more details below

Overview

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:
05/28/2002
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0696998999824
catalogNumber:
89998
Rank:
2401

Related Subjects

Tracks

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

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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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