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Scott Walker

A friend gave me a copy of ‘Boy Child’. I listened to it and enjoyed it. The overall sound seemed to sit in the same place as big production crooner stuff from the sixties. I listened to it again and some of the weird sounds started to distance it a bit from the likes of Christie, Bennet and Humperdinck. I listened to it again and Walker’s voice struck me as being absolutely unique. By the time I listened to it again the lyrics were coming to the fore and they just seemed like nothing that had ever been written before or since. I listened to it over and over, constantly, for several months.

Scott Walker Boy ChildSome of the songs touch on familiar territory: love etc, but the huge majority of them are wildly out there subjects from Stalin to Bergman’s Seventh Seal, to the plain weird Amorous Humphrey Plugg, to Brel-esque tales of drunken nights with Girls from the Streets.

As well as being a formidable songwriter, Scott Walker was also a bass player. I think he played bass on The Old Man’s Back, and anyone who doesn’t think that is the best bass line ever recorded is an idiot.

Although he’s been quiet for a while his vision does not seem to have dimmed over the years as he continues to produce songs like the one about Mussolini’s wife sung to the sound of a conductor punching a side of raw meat.

‘Boy Child’ is a compilation of songs from Scott Walker’s first four or five solo albums. I’ve not taken the time to listen to each of these albums individually. Given the lofty esteem in which I hold ‘Boy Child’ you’d think I’d be eager to devour anything else by him, but I never have. Perhaps it’s because I see perfection in this compilation and fear anything else may detract.

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