Music and lyrics written by Jacques Brel. English lyrics translated by Eric Blau and Mort Schuman.
Principal cast: Elly Stone, Mort Schuman, Shawn Elliott, Alice Whitfield.
Recorded at Columbia 30th St. Studios, New York, New York on January 29 & February 5, 1968. Originally released on Columbia (779). Includes liner notes by Richard Jay-Alexander.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Director: Moni Yakim.
Photographers: Abe V‚lez; Don Hunstein.
Arranger: Wolfgang Knittel.
One of the most fascinating figures in French pop music history, singer/songwriter Jacques Brel is renowned for his overt theatricality and witty lyrics, which could range in tone from playfully bawdy to outright morbid. Though quite popular in Europe Brel's bold aesthetic eventually won a cult following in the United States, thanks to the occasional English translation and interpretation of his compositions. In 1968, New York City-based playwright Eric Blau and singer/songwriter Mort Shuman translated a large number of Brel's tunes and based their theatrical production, JACQUES BREL IS ALIVE & WELL & LIVING IN PARIS, around them. It's no surprise that many of the performances echo the work of another beloved cult musician Scott Walker, particularly since the American-born singer has interpreted dozens of Brel songs in his own distinctive, brooding velvety manner. Fans of Brel, Walker, and inventive musicals in general will appreciate this reverent and celebratory production.