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camera4 006 A great album cover and one of the great Belgian/French ballad singers, the poetic Jacques Brel (1929-1978). An artist who would write about the great experience of living with all that it entails. Jacques Brel is a performer from the same era as Georges Brassens, Gilbert Becaud, Leo Ferre, Barbara, Dalida and so many other great performers in the French language from the 60’s/70’s.

Here is one of his fabulous love songs from YouTube. Thank you Samuel Shields for publishing this wonderful piece for us to enjoy!

Lovely music in the original French text:

Se tiennent par la main
Et marchent en silence
Dans ces villes éteintes
Que le crachin balance
Le sol que leur pas
Pas à pas fredonné
Ils marchent en silence
Les désespérés

Ils ont brûlés leurs ailes
Ils ont perdu leurs branches
Tellement naufragés
Que la mort paraît blanche
Ils reviennent d’amour
Ils se sont réveillés

Ils marchent en silence
Les désespérés

Et je sais leur chemin
Pour l’avoir cheminé
Déjà plus de cent fois
Cent fois plus qu’à moitié
Moins vieux ou plus meurtris
Ils vont terminer
Partent en silence

Les désespérés

Lente sous le pont
L’eau est douce et profonde
Voici la bonne hôtesse
Voici la fin du monde
Ils pleurent leurs prénoms
Comme de jeunes mariés
Ils fondent en silence
Les désespérés

Que se lève celui
Qui leur lance la pierre
Ils ne sait de l’amour
Que le verbe s’aimer
Sur le pont il n’est plus rien
Qu’une brume légère
Ça s’oublie en silence
Ceux qui ont espéré (Below in English)

They hold each others hand
They walk without a sound
Down forgotten streets
Their shadows kiss the ground
Their footsteps sing a song
That’s ended before it’s begun
They walk without a sound
The desperate ones
Just like the tiptoe moth
They dance before the flame
They’ve burned their hearts so much
That death is just a game
And if love calls again
So foolishly they run
They run without a sound
The desperate ones
I know the road they’re on
I’ve walked their crooked mile
A hundred times or more
I drank their cup of bile
They watch their dreams go down
Behind the setting sun
They walk without a sound
The desperate ones
And underneath the bridge
The waters sweet and deep
There is the journey’s end
The land of endless sleep
They cry to us for help
We think it’s all in fun
They cry without a sound
The desperate ones
Let he who threw the stone at them
Stand up and take a bow
He knows the verb to love
But he’ll never know how
On the bridge of nevermore
They disappear one by one
Disappear without a sound
The desperate ones

The wonderful thing about collecting record covers and enjoying all different types of music is the enormous amount you learn when doing your research. Granted you need to be passionate about what you do, but a world of surprises opens up and you realize that there are thousands of others out there who share the same passion who often have researched what you are looking for.

Let’s take a trip together, enjoy the covers, the artists, the photographers, the music, the song writers and let it sink in while you read and listen.

camera 6 011Here is another Jacques Brel, somewhat rare album cover not listed in Wikipedia nor on Discogs illustrated by a great New York painter, illustrator and creative director Jules Halfant (1909-2001) who illustrated well over a 130 record covers. What great colors this artist used.

camera 6 010Below is a wonderful nostalgic song from that very same album ” La Chanson des Vieux Amours” uploaded to youtube  for us to enyob by Isabel Risques. Brel was one of the artists who lead the way for American singers like Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Barbara Streisand, Nina Simone and others. His song “Ne me quittez pas” was a world hit in different languages.

Every country has their music history, some long forgotten by the fast track crowd or never taught in school and it is no longer heard on the radio like these ancient Scottish or Irish ballads. camera 6 013The modern looking cover design is by Goran Bjorndal, from the early sixties, I wished I knew more about this artist. A lot of information on this type of folk music has been well researched.

Funny Illustration on record covers? Have a look, this is fabulous art!

camera 6 017Never heard of Anna Russell? Neither did I.

The outside cover was designed by Art Director John Berg who did an enormous amount of covers in the long span of his career. The inside gate fold cover shown below, (on the right side not shown here is text) on the left the art work is designed by Diana Nordhausen and the  funny cover art is by the cartoonist, artist, illustrator Edward Sorel.  

camera 6 019Again our curiosity about the artist led me to Edward Sorel for a great story, all the while accumulating facts about his work.

Really different in nature is this piece of “classical” music.

camera 6 008The first one has the artist name Erik Nitsche (1908-1998) indicated by the arrow. It is Decca gold label number 9706, the second one is by the same Swiss designer, but there is no indication of it and I would not have known it either.

camera 6 006This album is Decca gold label number 9824, presumably not far apart from the first one, with some other logo differences on the cover as well. Erik Nitsche belongs in the great American graphic design Icon Hall of Fame.

Nitsche’s work,especially his posters can still be found occasionally in the commercial market place and is highly sought after.

In this particular case, I just liked the cover and not the music, the “Germanic” music by German composer Carl Orff (1895-1982) is often mentioned in connection with the German Nazi period as mentioned in this Guardian article.

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1979 Art Design Marvin Schwartz

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no credit for the art on the cover

Here is some interesting poetry if you can speak Latin and have a closer look at this hand cut type. The Designers Collaborative (NYC) was responsible for this superb 1959 elegant design. The record is a Smithsonian Folkways spoken word record.

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