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Lyr/Chords Req: Port of Amsterdam

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Chris Davidson 05 Nov 97 - 10:09 AM
Wolfgang Hell 05 Nov 97 - 10:24 AM
Chris (Again) 05 Nov 97 - 10:36 AM
GUEST,HuwG 07 Mar 02 - 04:19 AM
GUEST,MCP 07 Mar 02 - 03:08 PM
alanabit 07 Mar 02 - 04:55 PM
The Pooka 07 Mar 02 - 08:56 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 07 Mar 02 - 09:25 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 07 Mar 02 - 09:35 PM
Big John 07 Mar 02 - 09:42 PM
Bullfrog Jones 07 Mar 02 - 10:03 PM
alanabit 08 Mar 02 - 03:42 AM
Paddy Plastique 08 Mar 02 - 04:20 AM
Lanfranc 08 Mar 02 - 06:23 AM
GUEST,MAG at work 08 Mar 02 - 11:19 AM
The Pooka 08 Mar 02 - 03:19 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 08 Mar 02 - 09:41 PM
raredance 08 Mar 02 - 11:39 PM
GUEST 09 Mar 02 - 07:19 AM
Bullfrog Jones 09 Mar 02 - 10:59 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 09 Mar 02 - 11:28 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 09 Mar 02 - 11:35 AM
GUEST,Alireza 14 Apr 02 - 08:54 AM
GUEST,Mark in Runcorn 27 Feb 07 - 01:45 PM
Jim Lad 27 Feb 07 - 04:09 PM
GUEST 27 Feb 07 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,rolandonline 24 May 14 - 01:07 PM
BrooklynJay 24 May 14 - 08:28 PM
pdq 24 May 14 - 08:33 PM
BrooklynJay 24 May 14 - 11:50 PM
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Subject: Port of Amsterdam
From: Chris Davidson
Date: 05 Nov 97 - 10:09 AM

I have some lyrics to a charming(sic) little ditty which begins "In the Port of Amsterdam, there's a saylor who cries" or something along those lines. Can anybody give me more lyrics and if possible the guitar cords? Slante!


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Subject: Lyr Add: AMSTERDAM (Jacques Brel)
From: Wolfgang Hell
Date: 05 Nov 97 - 10:24 AM

AMSTERDAM

In the port of Amsterdam
There's a sailor who sings
Of the dreams that he brings
From the wide open sea

In the port of Amsterdam
There's a sailor who sleeps
While the riverbank weeps
To the old willow tree

In the port of Amsterdam
There's a sailor who dies
Full of beer, full of cries
In the drunken town fight

In the port of Amsterdam
There's a sailor who's born
On a hot muggy morn
By the dawn's early light

In the port of Amsterdam
Where the sailors all meet
There's a sailor who eats
Only fish head and tails
And he'll show you his teeth
That have rotted too soon
That can haul up the sails
That can swallow the moon
And he yells to the cook
With his arms open wide
Hey! bring me more fish
Throw it down by my side
And he once sought to belch
But he's too full to try
So he stands up and laughs
And he zips up his fly

In the port of Amsterdam
You can see the sailors dance
And they're bursting their pants
Grinding women to porch
They've forgotten the tune
That their whiskey voice croaked
Splitting the night with the
Roar of their jokes
And they turn and they dance
And they laugh and they lust
'Til the rancid sound of the
Accordion bursts and then
Out of the night
With their pride in their pants
And the sluts that they tow
Underneath the street lamps

In the port of Amsterdam
There's a sailor who drinks
And he drinks
And he drinks
And he drinks once again
He'll drink to the health
Of the whores of Amsterdam
Who've given their bodies
To a thousand other men
Yeah they bargain their virtue
Their goodness all gone
For a few dirty coins
When they just can't go on
Blows his nose to the sky
On the sea up above
And he pisses like I cry
In the port of Amsterdam
In the port of Amsterdam

lookhere for the French original (author: J. Brel)

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: Chris (Again)
Date: 05 Nov 97 - 10:36 AM

Wolfgang,

You're a gent an a scholar sir. I didn't even know it wasn't orignally in english! Brilliant.

Thanks again,

Chris


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: GUEST,HuwG
Date: 07 Mar 02 - 04:19 AM

David Bowie did it on the 'B' side of one of his singles (I forget which) in the 1970's. Very popular at (UK) youth clubs, especially if the 'A' and 'B' side labels were switched !


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 07 Mar 02 - 03:08 PM

Another site which I've found excellent for the lyrics to French songs (including Brel's Amsterdam) is ABC de la Chanson Francophone. The site claims to have more than 15,000 lyrics (I haven't checked) and is searchable by Title/Artist (there is also a text search, but the last time I used the site it was inoperative due to too much data I think).

Mick


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: alanabit
Date: 07 Mar 02 - 04:55 PM

Listening to Jacques Brel makes me wish I'd taken the trouble to learn French. He was Belgian and died of cancer about twenty odd years ago. Other well known songs of his include "Ne me Quitte Pas" and "Le Moribund" and "Le Reve Impossible". There are quite horrible versions of all these songs in English. In particular, the last is painful, because most "interpreters" miss the point that it was performed in the character of Don Quichote. Of the English versions of his songs that I have heard, Bowie's was probably the best of the bunch.


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: The Pooka
Date: 07 Mar 02 - 08:56 PM

alanbit, it's my understanding that "The Impossible Dream" was originally written in English, for the English-language play "Man of La Mancha", lyrics by Joe Darion, music by Mitch Leigh. The production was subsequently translated into French, and Jacques Brel sang Le Reve Impossible, a French translation of The Impossible Dream, in his role as Don Quichotte. I don't know whether Brel did the translation. He did not write the song.

Click here Click here


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Mar 02 - 09:25 PM

Last lines- He directs his nose to the sky, and blows his nose at the stars, and he pisses as I weep for the unfaithful women in the port of Amsterdam, in the port of Amsterdam. The English translation needs a rewrite, but my French is too poor to attempt it.
Jacques Brel was a fantastic singer and composer-poet; he headlined at the Olympia and other venues for years. Guest MCP, thanks for the website. I shall enjoy it.


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Mar 02 - 09:35 PM

Found a translation- and my face is red because my French is even worse than I thought. Amsterdam


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: Big John
Date: 07 Mar 02 - 09:42 PM

I had an LP (fore-runner of the CD) of John Denver some years ago on which he sang "The Old Folks", which featured in Jaques Brel is alive and well and living in Paris. Absolutely beautiful song which I occasionally sing alongside Leonard Cohen's "Last Years Man".


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 07 Mar 02 - 10:03 PM

My favourite of his songs is Jacky, especially the Scott Walker version, translated (I think) by Mort Shuman. Rod McKuen's translation of Le Moribonde, Seasons In The Sun, however stinks to high heaven.


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: alanabit
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 03:42 AM

Thanks for the correction Pookah. I still find the English song cringingly embarrasing.


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: Paddy Plastique
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 04:20 AM

Scott Walker's versions are good passion/arrangement wise - but there's some problems with the Shuman
translations - cleaned up. Marc Almond did an album in the 80s called 'Jacques' with new
translations - can't remember the name of his collaborator. They're OK too - worth
it for 2 wonderful lesser-known songs - 'The Lockman' (L'Eclusier) and 'The Town Fell
Asleep' (La ville s'endormait). Scotsman Nick Currie (Momus) did 3 very clever versions
of 'Jacky' (he did it as 'Nicky'), 'Ne me quitte pas' and the wonderful 'See a Friend in Tears' (Voir un ami pleurer) on an early 80s EP
Definitely worth a listen.


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: Lanfranc
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 06:23 AM

I have been a fan of Jacques Brel from way back. Some translations of his songs into English have been better than others (and some were dire - I agree with Bullfrog Jones about "Seasons in the Sun").

To my mind the best were those of Eric Blau and Mort Shuman as featured in the early 70s film "Jacques Brel is alive and well and living in Paris". I have the film (on Betamax!) and the CDs of the 1997 London revival to which I am listening as I post.

Judy Collins recorded "Le Chanson des Vieux Amants" (on one of her early albums ("Wildflowers"?)), "Marieke" and "La Colombe" was on her album "In My Life". The Johnstons (remember the Johnstons?) included at least one Brel song ("I Loved") on one of their albums.

The Scott Walker interpretations were mostly good, if bowdlerised. Marc Almond's CD is also pretty good.

Incidentally, Brel's "Timid Frieda", as translated by Mort Shuman, was one of the first songs to use the f*** word in a published lyric.

Great stuff all. There used to be a superb Brel website, with the lyrics in French and English based on holycross.edu, compiled by one B Batty, but it had disppeared last time I looked.

Alan


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: GUEST,MAG at work
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 11:19 AM

Fred Holstein does a dynamite job on this incredibly bleak, depressing (but beautifully crafted) song.

On is "Chicago and Other Ports" LP, and the CD re-release.


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: The Pooka
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 03:19 PM

alanabit - yer most welcome; I had the info only because my Francophone wife is a huge Brel fan from way back & has lists of everything he ever wrote. :) While not feeling as vehemently as you do about "The Impossible Dream", I'd say the French translation as sung by Brel has to be better than the original---if only because it's *sung by Brel*. Il etait magnifique.


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 09:41 PM

Lyr. Add: AMSTERDAM

In the port of Amsterdam
There are sailors who sing
About the dreams that haunt them
Away from Amsterdam.
In the port of Amsterdam
There are sailors who sleep
Stretched out like pennants
Along the dismal banks.
In the port of Amsterdam
There are sailors who die
Full of beer and tragedy
In the first light of dawn.
But in the port of Amsterdam
There are sailors new-born
In the growing heat
of the languid seas.

In the port of amsterdam
There are sailors who eat
On bright white tablecloths,
of the shimmering fish,
And hey show you their teeth
Made to bite into fate,
To unhook the moon,
To haul up the mast ropes
And there is the smell of cod
Even to the heart of the french fries
Which their thick hands ask
To come back for more;
Then they get up laughing,
As loud as a storm;
They close up their fly
And go out belching.

In the port of Amsterdam
There are sailors who dance
Rubbing their bellies
Against the bellies of women,
And they turn and they dance
Like spitting suns
In the rending sounds
Of a rancid accordion.
They twist up their necks
To hear themselves laugh
Until all of a sudden
The accordion gives out
Then with a grave gesture
And with a proud glance,
They bring out their *"Dutchman" (batave)
Into the bright light...

In the port of Amsterdam
There are sailors who drink
And drink and drink again
And then drink again.
They drink to the health
Of the whores of Amsterdam,
Of Hamburg and other places,
In short they drink to the women
Who give them their pretty bodies
Who give them their virtue
For a piece of gold
And when they have drunk enough,
They stand, their noses to the sky,
They blow their noses to the stars
And they piss as I cry
Over the unfaithful women
In the port of Amsterdam
In the port of Amsterdam

Mostly the translation of Marie de Grazia. *used by de Grazia. Brel
This also owes to the partial translation by Wolfgang.


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: raredance
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 11:39 PM

John Denver also recorded "Port of Amsterdam" on his second solo album "Take Me To Tomorrow"

rich r


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Mar 02 - 07:19 AM

Agreed --- the Shuman vesion of Jacky was cleaned up but still raunchy enough to become the first record to be banned on BBC Radio 1. There's a programme on BBC Radio 2 tonight at 21.00 GMT about banned records, and the trailer features Scott Walker mentioning the "authentic queers and phony virgins" line as the cause, although I favour the line about having "a finger in every country"!


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 09 Mar 02 - 10:59 AM

Does anyone have a chord progression for Jacky?


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Mar 02 - 11:28 AM

Chords for six Brel songs through the Olga Index: Brel
Lyrics to 26 songs (in French) at Brel One in Real Audio. ,br> No Jacky in these.


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Mar 02 - 11:35 AM

French texts for 137 Brel songs: BREL songs


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: GUEST,Alireza
Date: 14 Apr 02 - 08:54 AM

hey, I am really glad that I have found a website about Jacques Brel's music. Although I do not understand French at all, I believe that he is great Especially his "Amsterdam", "Ne me quitte pas" and "Qaund ...".

You can checkout about his life at www.jacquesbrel.org , his official site.


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: GUEST,Mark in Runcorn
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 01:45 PM

Marc Almond collaborated with PAUL BUCK on his "Jacques" album, recorded between 1986 and 1989. Paul Buck acted as translator on most of the songs, which were produced by Almond and Charles Gray. Most of the musicians were Almonds then backing group, known as the Willing Sinners plus Gray on keyboard. Although "Amsterdam" is not included, it is a live favourite of the singer, who often performs it "a cappella", and an excellent rendition can be found on his "Sin Songs" live DVD (Demon Vision DEMONDVD002).


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: Jim Lad
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 04:09 PM

One more John Denver fan here. His version rocks. Not really a charming little ditty though.


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Subject: RE: Port of Amsterdam
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 04:46 PM

The best version I ever heard was by Dave Van Ronk.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Port of Amsterdam
From: GUEST,rolandonline
Date: 24 May 14 - 01:07 PM

Completely different lyrics in Rod McKuen's version of The Port of Amsterdam:

In the port of Amsterdam, where the wild seagulls fly
There's a sailor who stands, looking out past the sky
And the arch of his back, and the thrust of his hip
Are as strong and as proud as the prow of a ship
In the port of Amsterdam, there's a sailor who's face
Is as withered and cracked, as a cobblestone street
And another who's face, is as fair as the Christ
Who visits the sailors, that rot in the deep

In the port of Amsterdam, there are sailors in pairs
Who's only adventures are climbin' up stairs
They're climbing up stairs, and descending again
In houses and hotels from china to Maine
In the port of Amsterdam, there's a sailor I'm told
Who at 26 years looks withered and old
In the bellies of whores he's spilled out his youth
On the long run to nowhere, in search of the truth

In the port of Amsterdam, there's a one legged man
Who used to go sailing but no longer can
His tales of the sea, grow wilder each year
As his guts sail along on a belly of beer
And he yells to the sailor who's sitting alone
"for a bottle of beer, I'll follow you home
And we find us some women who smell like the sea
A blonde one for you and a black one for me"

In the port of Amsterdam, I stood in the dawn
As accordions died and the daylight came on
I see the blank faces of sailors go by
Empty and wild as the wide open sky
And I cry to the god, wherever he be
Who invites the young men, to follow the sea
And leave them alone like a hollowed out shell
Condemned to burn up on the seashores of hell

In the port of Amsterdam
In the port of Amsterdam
In the port of Amsterdam
In the port of Amsterdam
Goddamn Amsterdam


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Port of Amsterdam
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 24 May 14 - 08:28 PM

In the second post in this thread, there are a number of errors in the lyrics (from the original Off-Broadway production of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well...).

It should be:

AMSTERDAM

In the port of Amsterdam
There's a sailor who sings
Of the dreams that he brings
From the wide open sea

In the port of Amsterdam
There's a sailor who sleeps
While the riverbank weeps
To the old willow tree

In the port of Amsterdam
There's a sailor who dies
Full of beer, full of cries
In the drunken down fight

And in the port of Amsterdam
There's a sailor who's born
On a muggy, hot morn
By the dawn's early light

In the port of Amsterdam
Where the sailors all meet
There's a sailor who eats
Only fish heads and tails
He'll show you his teeth
That have rotted too soon
That can swallow the moon
That can haul up the sails

And he yells to the cook
With his arms open wide
Bring me more fish
Put it down by my side
Then he wants so to belch
But he's too full to try
So he gets up and laughs
And he zips up his fly

In the port of Amsterdam
You can see sailors dance
Paunches bursting their pants
Grinding woman to paunch
They've forgotten the tune
That their whiskey voice croaks
Splitting the night
With the roar of their jokes

And they turn and they dance
And they laugh and they lust
'Til the rancid sound of the accordion bursts
Then, out into the night
With their pride in their pants
And the slut that they tow
Underneath the street lamps

In the port of Amsterdam
There's a sailor who drinks
And he drinks, and he drinks
And he drinks once again
He drinks to the health
Of the whores of Amsterdam
Who've promised their love
To a thousand other men

They've bargained their bodies
And their virtue long gone
For a few dirty coins
And when he can't go on
He plants his nose in the sky
Wipes it up above
And he pisses like I cry
For an unfaithful love
In the port of Amsterdam
In the port of Amsterdam

I've known that show inside and out for 45 years, and even worked on a production back in 1982. I'm pretty sure this is accurate.

Jay


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Port of Amsterdam
From: pdq
Date: 24 May 14 - 08:33 PM

Thnk you very much.

That is the version that Dave Van Ronk sang.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Chords Req: Port of Amsterdam
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 24 May 14 - 11:50 PM

Even I'm not infallible - the line should be:

In a drunken down fight.


J.


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