Jacques Brel

The Poetic World of Jacques Brel

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Released within the U.S. Philips label's Connoisseur Collection series, The Poetic World of Jacques Brel is a strange collection which echoes the earlier Jacques Brel set released by Reprise in delving into the handful of EPs Brel released during 1961-1964. Indeed, four tracks are repeated from the Reprise set -- "Les Biches," "Madeleine," "Les Paumes Du Petit Matin," and "Zangra," a circumstance which is sadly characteristic of Brel's French collections but could easily have been avoided elsewhere. That said, any album which sweeps up the likes of "Les Prenoms de Paris," "Les Singes," "Les Bourgeois," and "Seul," one of the most self-flagellatingly mortifying, but simultaneously beautiful songs ever composed, can only be applauded, especially when paired with Brel's other contribution to the Connoisseur Collection, the If You Go Away collection. Like that set, the manufacturing standards are high, with a heavyweight sleeve, a well annotated booklet and lyrics, and pristine sound quality -- so pristine, in fact, that even collectors who have already scooped up this material on other collections should not readily pass this album by.

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