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Des de Moor
Lyrics


The Song of Old Lovers
La chanson des vieux amants

Barb Jungr: Chanson The Space In Between From Chanson: The Space In Between
Barb Jungr's chanson album including five original translations by Des.
Click here for details

Barb Jungr
voice
Kim Burton
accordion
Russell Churney
piano
Julie Walkington
double bass


This beautiful, dark and startlingly honest love song was not the first Brel song I performed, but it was the first I prepared as a piano-accompanied chanson when I relaunched my performing career in 1992. At the time I sung it in French, with my own piano arrangement. I'd already attempted an English version but got as far as the chorus and given up, then Barb Jungr asked me to look at it again for her chanson project.

There is at least one other English version, by Eric Blau, but to be honest I don't rate it very highly. I was very proud when in October 2000 a lengthy extract from my version was reproduced in Jef, the French language journal of the Fondation Internationale Jacques Brel in Brussels, as part of an in-depth dossier on the song.

Of course we’ve fought with angry faces:
For twenty years love’s mad at best.
A thousand times you’ve packed your cases,
A thousand times I’ve flown the nest.
Each chair and table still must smart
From war and thunderstorm and frost
That it’s endured from the beginning.
The whole is greater than the parts:
The taste for water you have lost
And me, I’ve lost the taste for winning.

Oh my love,
My sweet, my marvellous, my tender love,
From early dawn until day’s end, my love,
I love you still, you know, I love you.

I know your tricks and your deceptions,
You know my spells and wiles and charms.
From traps you’ve given me protection:
Sometimes I’ve lost you from my arms.
Sure we’ve had lovers in our beds:
It helped when there was time to kill
Or with our bodies’ passions raging,
But in the end when all is said
It seemed our only special skill
Was never growing up, just ageing.

Oh my love,
My sweet, my marvellous, my tender love,
From early dawn until day’s end, my love,
I love you still, you know, I love you.

And each succeeding year uncovers
More opportunities for hurt.
Of traps that lie in wait for lovers
This one’s the hardest to avert.
Of course you take more time to cry,
I take a lot more work to crack,
We get more devious and clever.
You can’t let chances pass you by,
You have to learn to watch your back:
The tender war goes on forever.

Oh my love,
My sweet, my marvellous, my tender love,
From early dawn until day’s end, my love,
I love you still, you know, I love you.

Translation: Deptford and Oxford Street, London, 9 September 1999



 Words
Jacques Brel


 Translation
Des de Moor


 Music
Gérard Jouannest


 Arrangement
Barb Jungr


© Copyright 1967 Editions Musicales Pouchenel, Bruxelles. Translated by permission of the publisher, Gérard Jouannest and France Brel.

Originally recorded by Jacques Brel in 1967, now available on Jacques Brel 6: J'Arrive (Barclay)
This version recorded by Barb Jungr on Chanson: The Space In Between (see opposite).


Buy original version on Jacques Brel: Infiniment complilation from Amazon

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Quartier Latin (Léo Ferré)
Marieke (Jacques Brel/Gérard Jouannest)
La chanson des vieux amants (Jacques Brel/Gérard Jouannest)
Les poètes (Léo Ferré)
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