Fourth Time A Charm

A week ago, I talked about a bit about the career of Scott Walker, and reviewed his latest CD, the soundtrack to the Royal Festival Hall dance work,  And Who Shall Go To The Ball? And What Shall Go The Ball? And while his latest work is deliberately difficult and hard to access for first-time listeners, today I would like to introduce an album that does showcase everything I love about Scott Walker, and which remains very close to my list of all-time top CDs.

Scott wasn’t the most original in his solo album titles but his first three solo albums, Scott, Scott 2 , and yup, Scott 3, were all significant hits – indeed Scott 2 was one of the albums that broke the Beatles/Dylan/Stones/Sound of Music five year domination at number 1 on the UK album chart. Their success was probably based on Scott’s teenage idol looks and voice, but careful listening indicated that Scott was moving into darker territory with his covers of Jacques Brel songs and his own songs of isolation, loneliness and shattered hearts.

So Scott 4 should have continued that success, but some reason the fans seem to have had enough, and the album flaked out on the charts and shattered Scott’s confidence. However, history has now resurrected it as a cult favorite and deservedly show. There is the typical wall of sound and orchestration from Scott’s earlier records but also hints of rock and country which give the record a bit of an extra edge – alt country chanteuse Neko Case covered Duchess from Scott 4 on her first album.

All the 1o tracks have something to recommend them, but I have to mention On Your Own Again, Boy Child, Angel of Ashes and Rhymes Of Goodbye which have a heartbreaking beauty that leaves the listener riveted and almost in tears. As Stuart Maconie from NME once said ” Yes, there are people in the world who do not love Scott Walker. But what must their hearts be like? This is the voice. More than anything before or since, the voice of mystery, suffering, heartbreak, nostalgia, yearning and joy.”

Invest in this one today. It could be a tonic for your heart.

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