Jacques Brel is, alongside Serge Gainsbourg, the French artist with the most influence on English pop. But you don’t need to understand French to appreciate Brel’s mordant melodies and dark, brooding vocals. Songs such as the title track (Je Suis L’ombre des Chansons), La Bastille and L’Accordion De La Vie are as raw and powerful in their untutored starkness as the songs on The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, and might have equalled that LP’s impact, had Brel sung them in English. As it is, most people know him through the English interpretations of Scott Walker, Bowie and Seasons In The Sun. No bad thing, but to fully experience Brel’s genius, you need to hear the songs from la bouche de le cheval. This set is as good a way in as any.
Jacques Brel - I Am The Shadow Of The Songs
Could Brel have been the Belgian Dylan? Discuss.
Rev-Ola | ACMEM 113 CD
Reviewed by Steve Rippon
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