I have been going to Amsterdam for the good part of 12 years now and there are not too many places close to town that I have not been or at least mistakenly wandered into. So it was pretty cool that I went to two new places. First, I took a walk around Westerpark, a huge park on the North West side of town. I had been on the outskirts of it many times, by Willemsbrug road but stopped as it looked like a place a slightly drunk tourist should not wander into. Well, this time I finally broke that invisible boundary and ventured forth. It is a huge park and probably quite nice in the summer. However, the day I went, it was covered with snow. That was still pretty cool. It reminded me of childhood winters spent wandering in Saskatoon. Not a whole lot of signs in English so I am guessing this is a heavily local area. There also were what looked like a couple of cool businesses/ restaurants/ cafes in the park which again would probably be open in better weather. I also ventured for the first time to North Amsterdam, which requires a ferry from behind Central Station. I had heard a lot of great things about this area. I also talked to a few folks who worked in town and lived in that area and they spoke highly of it. It was a nice enough day when I went but alas, I went to early as most things up there were closed. Oh well, perhaps next time.
Liesbeth List is a Dutch singer/actress/ TV personality born in 1941 in the Dutch East Indies. In 1942, when the Japanese occupied the area, her father was sent to the coal mines as she and her mother were sent to a camp. The life there was very hard and shortly after their release and reunion with her father, her mother committed suicide. List and her father returned to Holland and her father remarried. However, List and her step mother clashed repeatedly. In 1948, during a trip to Vlieland, her step mother found a hotel owner who was looking to adopt a daughter. She was adopted by the couple and took their surname, List.
Intrigued by music, art and fashion, she moved to the big city, Amsterdam and bada bing bada boom, found her self on tv singing chansons. She started by collaborating with other singers and would eventually develop into a solo act. She continued what looks like a pretty good run of success up into the late 1970’s with sporadic activity in the decades that followed. She is still alive today and from what I can tell, still somewhat active although I could not translate her web page for some reason.
This album, a greatest hits compilation from 1973 is a collection of ballads and chansons marked by List’s beautiful vocal. Pretty good stuff, most of it is solo performances but there are some duets such as “Pastorale” with Rames Shaffy, one of her early collaborators. Most of the songs are in Dutch I believe but there are a few in English and French. Really good double record.
For a sample, I wanted to go with a couple of songs that I really liked. Well, I liked a lot of songs, but these are the ones that I went with. First, there is “Amsterdam” which sounds like a beautiful song about the city, but in actuality, it is about drunken sailors on leave. It is a tune by Jacques Brel and the lyrics follow Brel’s version somewhat but are a little more grittier. Next , I went with “Victoria”. Third, here is “Vivre Pour Vivre”, which I believe is in French and translates to “Live For Living”. I have heard other French artists do this song and I believe the opening was sampled by Cibo Matto. Finally, if you want something in English, here is “Now You Want To Be Loved”.
Great little album. Satisfactory.