Monday, 25 March 2019

RIP

Today brings the sad news that the famously enigmatic singer and songwriter Scott Walker has died at the age of 76. In a sense, I grew up with Walker, relishing those epic pop songs he performed with the Walker Brothers, and following him into his solo career with something like obsessive devotion – I still have half a dozen or more of his solo albums on aged, played-to-death vinyl, and remember many a smoky evening wallowing in the glory of the Scott Walker sound (which at that time was largely the creation of the great producer and arranger Wally Stott, who later became Angela Morley). From the Eighties, as he moved on into ever more hermetic realms, often beyond melody and coherence (or so it seemed to me), I gradually gave up trying to follow him – it was too late for me; the world was too much with me, the smoky evenings were over, my musical taste had moved on. But I never lost my respect for that elusive touch of greatness in Scott Walker at his best. Here's a track from his first solo album. The lyrics don't bear much examination, but what a sound, what a performance, what a chorus – what grandeur...

6 comments:

  1. He always, for me, stood apart - at least as a solo artist. And like another amazing talent Carlos Kleiber, one sensed that he seemingly didn't care about the 'noise' going on around him - in his case the flakey world of 'Pop'. Someone said of Kleiber that he only worked when his fridge was empty - and there was much of that in Walker. Can we afford to lose too many talents such as his (I think of Leonard Cohen a couple of years ago)when the list is not being replenished at the other end? Methinks not.
    I'm going to play Farmer in the City now, from Tilt - I'm sure you know it Nige - and contemplate our loss.

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  2. Yes Mm, it's a loss all right...
    Thank heavens for recording technology – imagine what it must have been like in earlier times to lose a great artist (and imagine the intensity with which you'd have to listen to something you might never hear again). There's something to be said for the modern world...

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  3. Lol. I needed the following palette cleanser after that:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3W1Jm2jF8MI

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