The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #63561   Message #1034946
Posted By: McGrath of Harlow
13-Oct-03 - 07:36 PM
Thread Name: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
Subject: RE: Obit: Jacques Brel, Il est Mort ...
"...we just aren't used to hearing male singers invest songs with so much emotion"I doubt if it's really that - Georges Brassens, who is much more understated about emotion, is similarly relatively unrecognised in Anglophone countries.

I think it's more that the English public tends to listen almost exclusively to English speakers. If Edith Piaf was an exception (if)she's very much an exception, even among womeen chanteuses. The current vogue for world music doesn't change that, people aren't finding out what the words mean and listening to them, it's the overall sound that matters.

In fact it seems to me that there's even a certain distaste towards songs that rely too much on words and which talk about complicated ideas, especially in a personal way. Even to a certain extent in present company. Some of the "aren't-singer-songwriters-unbearable" stuff is a reflection of that distaste.

An English Jacques Brel or Georges Brassens wouldn't be massive stars, they'd be respected and admired by a minority, and ignored by the rest. Well, consider the case of Harvey Andrews or the late Jake Thackray when it comes to that kind or thing.