Scott Walkers career has never made any sense. Starting out as a sexy, 60’s teen idol in the Walker Brothers, by decades end his quartet of iconic solo LP’s had become less and less pop compliant and more croon heavy. It felt a bit like Donny Osmond morphing into the avant-garde composer John Cage.
I discovered his records in 1981 via reviews of Julian Copes Walker compilation Fire Escape In The Sky. That LP was impossible to find anywhere but luckily the originals were still around, certainly in Reading’s handful of second hand record shops. They are albums of such rare beauty that I find it impossible to write about them in a way that doesn’t sound stupidly gushing. Needless to say they have stayed with me and are still played occasionally when I’m feeling particularly maudlin.
The records that came after were far more difficult affairs, possibly intentionally so, and merely succeeded in pissing off his legion of fans who didn’t quite know what to do with the lack of melody, creepy synth drones, industrial opera and hostile string sections. They may have been intense and exhausting art of the highest order but they were also very pretentious and quite frankly a load of bollocks.
My take on it is that Scott Walker is a classic example of how cult status can magically attach itself to an artist where it grows like a weed, strangling and obscuring its host more and more with the passing years. Maybe he’s been pushing the boundaries in a vain quest to disappear completely. If he has, he’s failed miserably because the further out he’s gone the more his music has been celebrated. He’s found that if people won’t let you, it’s impossible to be free!
1. You’re All Around Me (Walker Brothers) / Single B Side November 1965
2. After The Lights Go Out (Walker Brothers) / Single B Side February 1966
3. In My Room (Walker Brothers) / Portrait LP August 1966
4. Orpheus (Walker Brothers) / Images LP March 1967
5. Montague Terrace In Blue / Scott LP August 1967
6. My Death / Scott LP August 1967
7. Jackie / Single A Side November 1967
8. The Bridge / Scott 2 LP March 1968
9. Big Louise / Scott 3 LP March 1969
10. If You Go Away / Scott 3 LP March 1969
11. The Seventh Seal / Scott 4 LP November 1969
12. On Your Own Again / Scott 4 LP November 1969
13. Rhymes Of Goodbye / Scott 4 LP November 1969
14. Prologue/Little Things / Til’ The Band Comes In LP December 1970
15. The Ballad Of Sacco And Vanzetti / The Moviegoer LP October 1972
16. Someone Who Cared / Stretch LP November 1973
17. No Regrets (Walker Brothers) / No Regrets LP October 1975
18. Fat Mama Kick (Walker Brothers) / Nite Flights LP July 1978
19. Track 3 / Climate Of Hunter LP March 1984
20. Farmer In The City / Tilt LP May 1995
21. Bombupper / Pola X Soundtrack LP June 2000
22. Cossacks Are / Drift LP May 2006