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scott walker

By Sean Browne

Scott 2
Genre: Baroque Pop
Recorded: 1967-1968
Release Date: March 1968.
Artist: Scott Walker
Label: Philips

This album, Scott 2, was Walker’s second solo release after the demise of the Walker Brothers released in March 1968. It follows the style of its predecessor Scott.

By his own admission, he was tired of the pop world and craved a new musical direction to pursue. His then-girlfriend introduced him to her European pop record collection and in particular the music of Jaques Brel. Brel’s lyrics and slant on life appealed to the rebel in Walker and he began to record several of his songs.

Walker’s lush baritone voice was in distinct contrast to the somewhat abstract melodies and arrangements on this album and to hear him sing the somewhat risqué Brel lyrics in his lounge singer style made you sometimes turn your head to see if that’s what you actually heard. Needless to say, the BBC banned the single Jackie because of its references to homosexuality and drugs, which was a step too far for 1968 establishment radio.

Along with the Brel songs, Jackie, Next, and The Girls and the Dogs, Walker included a couple of his own songs – Plastic Palace People and The Girls in the Street. In a later radio interview from 1975, the then reformed Walker Brothers were promoting their new album, No Regrets. During the course of the interview, a listener rang up and spoke to Scott mentioning how disturbed she still was when she heard Plastic Palace People being sung; there was a pause and Scott replied, “yes I know what you mean I felt like that when I sang it.” 

There in a nutshell is the enigma that was Scott Walker. Walker who died in March 2019 was to many people a cult hero.

A strange reclusive character he stopped live performances back in 1978 and he left the music industry entirely for a while becoming a painter and decorator, but a renewed interest in his works was starting to emerge. As early as 1981 Julian Cope singer from Teardrop Explodes, had put together the compilation album, Fire Escape in the Sky the Godlike Genius of Scott Walker, and the record label Phonogram released Boy Child: The Best of Scott Walker 1967-70 in 1990 and No Regrets: The Best of Scott Walker and the Walker Brothers 1965-76 in1992. Two years later he released Tilt, his first album in 11 years. He was asked to curate the Meltdown festival in 2000, and in the same year, he composed two songs for German cabaret singer, Ute Lemper’s, Punishing Kiss album in 2000. He produced Pulp’s album, We Love Life in 2002, and in 2003 he received a Q Magazine award. He was back and the albums that followed cemented him with an even bigger cult following.

 For more information on Scott Walker and his fascinating career check out the Scott Walker: 30 Century Man DVD from 2007.