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  Barclay -
  980 907-5 (2 discs)
  Jacques Brel: Infiniment
  "Infiniment" (aka "Intense")

Jacques Brel
Track listing:
  Disc 1:
1. La quête
2. La cathédrale
3. L'amour est mort
4. Mai 40
5. Avec élégance
6. Sans exigences
7. Les Marquises
8. Orly
9. La ville s'endormait
10. Jojo
11. J'arrive
12. Quand on a que l'amour
13. Le plat pays
14. Mon enfance
15. Les vieux
16. La chanson de Jacky
17. La valse à mille temps
18. Le prochain amour

Disc 2:
1. La chanson des vieux amants
2. Ne me quitte pas
3. Amsterdam
4. La bière
5. Bruxelles
6. Le diable "ça va"
7. Il nous faut regarder
8. L'enfance
9. Ces gens-là
10. Les bonbons
11. Les flamandes
12. Les bourgeois
13. Jef
14. Mathilde
15. Marieke
16. Madeleine
17. Les bigotes
18. Vesoul
19. Le moribond
20. Au suivant
21. Le dernier repas
22. Je suis un soir d'été
  Chanson française
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 5

Reviews: 3

Review by JW September 17, 2004 (7 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Brel must certainly be an acquired taste. It's ironic that it took a Belgian to represent something that for many is uniguely representative of France's cultural identity. The student movement of the sixties. La vie en terrasse. Something that is uniquely Parisien. Intellectual. Intense. Sombre. Stubborn. The rolling 'rrr', the somewhat nasal tone. The protest song. The song about people (Marieke, Jacky, JoJo) and places (Orly, Amsterdam, Bruxelles)and both for and against his Flemish roots. Many of these songs are very atmospheric. So if you want to have something 'French' in your music collection, look no further. I do not know whom to compare Brel to, outside of France that is. This is a pretty unique sound. Brel tells you stories. And the intensity with how he tells them is palpable in every one of these. As I said, you have to be in the mood for it, but when you are it hits home.

The sound of this 2-disc set is good to excellent (3.5). It contains 40 songs, covering most of his important work.


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Review by Rudy Deblieck March 23, 2009 (6 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I am not a dedicated French Chanson listener, but then this monsieur Jacques Brel plays in a different league altogether. The Brel songs touch your inside, they are clear, poetic, touching, captivating, raw, soothing and eternal. Above all, Brel's songs are about honesty towards oneselve, about authenticity. This compilation is a pretty good collection of his 'greatest hits'. Sonically the bitmapping remastering process payed off, although one should be aware that, say 1958, recordings will never be able to compete with DSD recorded material. Nevertheless this is an excellent compilation with the best possible quality.

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Review by vonwegen April 30, 2004 (5 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Formidable. Intense. Extremely influential. Virtually unknown outside Europe. These all describe Jacques Brel. This 2-CD 'best of' captures the essential otherworldliness of the Belgian expat's music that simultaneously baffled & captivated France for two and half decades. So why should _you_ care? If you've ever listened to David Bowie, Pulp, Nick Cave or Ray Davies, you've heard the man's influence, and what an influence it was... While the rest of the world was singing along to "I Want to Hold Your Hand" & Beatlemania, Brel was dominating French airwaves with entertaingly sordid tales of catching STDs in an Army brothel in the tune "Au Suivant".

This double-SA-CD's sound quality is variable because of the limitations of recording techniques of the 1950s & 60s, but even the original mono tracks are tastefully reverberated in 5.0 surround in a way that should be a blueprint for others seeking to bring monophonic recordings into multi-channel format. Sure, tape hiss is a bit high on some songs, but this doesn't detract as much as you might expect.

Lest I give the impression that all the songs were done on 4 or fewer tracks, the songs done in the 1970s on 16- and 24-track all sound terrific--crisp, clean and inventive placement of instruments.

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