Friday, August 22, 2008


Listen to NE ME QUITTE PAS by Jacques Brel.
Listen to LA CHASON DES VIEUX AMANTS by Jacques Brel.

Jason dropping in.

I usually start the selection process by reflecting on Bill's posts for the week. This week was Bo Diddley - and I have nothing to offer in this vein. There are a few of the "big" genres that I don't listen to - country, classical, opera - but I can at least name one or two things from those that I can appreciate. But I can't name a single thing about the blues that I like. For me, it is the most generic, unimaginative. formulaic, mono-themed, limited style of music I can think of. In fact, if anyone can steer me differently, I'd welcome it. Go on - name a single blues track that's worth it - I'll give it a shot - educate me.

So, instead, I turned to John's post of last Friday to influence this selection.

John chose the best "frivolous french pop" and it got me thinking......

Eight years ago, when I moved to New York City, Mojo magazine published their 100 greatest songs of all time. I had just discovered napster (with a dial-up connection) and this was my first list of songs to check out via download. Normally a list like that would have you had me trawling for weeks through second-hand stores - but with a PC I could get most of them in minutes and see what all the fuss was about. That list will live in my memory alongside the "first 7-inch ever bought" or "first album ever bought" mementos of my life. And it holds up eight years later- check it out.

I'll never agree that River Man (at #42) is Nick Drake's best song (for me, its "Northern Sky") but that list turned me on to great stuff like James Carr's "The Dark End of The Street", Tom Waits' "Jersey Girl" and Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You"....

....and, at number 68 - "Ne Me Quitte Pas", by Jacques Brel (one of only two non-English language songs on the list).

I've never believed its a love song - I love its vulnerability - but I prefer its sister song used in the "Jacques Brel is Alive and Well" film - "La Chanson Des Vieux Amants" ("Song for Old Lovers").

You don't need to understand French to understand these songs.

Pour yourself a glass of red, light some candles....and listen.

Photo: Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, 2001. Taken by Jason Bryant.



Asbo said...

Just found your blog and must say it's excellent.
Well worth wasting the last hour :)

bill said...

Thanks Asbo! As you know, it's always nice to know you have visitors. I'll be checking your blog out today.