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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A late developers Classic,
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This review is from: Scott 4 (Audio CD)I've been plundering all of Scott Walkers albums of late, and I have to say that this one Scott 4, is by far the best album. My favourite track is without doubt 'Angels of Ashes'. There is something timeless about this album where most of the tracks have aged really well. But that voice - how it booms out of the speakers and seems to dominate the music, is simply great.
From what I've read, this album was quickly deleted upon release, and I guess this is a symptom of it being too forward for it's time.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Uncompromising Classic,
By A Customer
This review is from: Scott 4 [VINYL] (Vinyl)By the time Scott Walker released Scott 4, he'd been both a sixties pop star and then a solo artist who initially managed to retain a portion of his teenage audience as he headed off into new territory. Not many artists have made this transition. Scott, his first solo album mixed his own songs, Brel covers and other covers. Scott 2 was a similar mix, however by the time he released Scott 3 he was combining the Brel material with his own exceptional songwriting talent. Scott 4 was the first record that was made up of his own compositions only. It is regarded as his best work, with good reason. It starts with 'The Seventh Seal' an homage to the film of the same name. Using horns, acoustic guitars, orchestration and a chorus he conjures up an epic scene. Rather different to the other records released at the time! He moves on through some familar Walker territory on 'On Your Own Again' then slips into 'The World's Strongest Man' with it's beautiful soaring chorus. 'The Angels Of Ashes' is beautifully sung, and 'Boy Child' sounds truly amazing. This is a classic album and it doesn't have a bad song on it. It is short and concise too-Scott goes anti-war andpolitical on 'Hero of The War' and the 'Old Man's Back Again' respectively. 'The Old Man's Back Again' features a stunning bass line-did Scott play this bass line? The record is rounded off by the country tinged 'Duchess', a contempory sounding (for him) 'Get Behind Me' and 'The Rhymes of Goodbye'. All in all a great record, beautifully sung- Scott is a truly talented singer. A shame then, that the record was unsuccessful at the time of it's release. However, time has been kind to Scott 4 and it is now well regarded and deservedly so! A truly uncompromising effort-just like 'Tilt' possibly his best (and most recent) work.
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich, dense and beautiful,
This review is from: Scott 4 (Audio CD)Scott Walker is a new discovery for me, I thought I would check him out after hearing that some of my favourite artists (Radiohead, Rufus Wainwright, Bowie) cite him as a major influence. I learned that this album was one of his worst in terms of sales and got deleted soon after release which I find absurd because this is a classic album! His silky voice croons over lush, string-laden textures and the arrangements are breathtaking, just as good as anything that's around at the moment. The combination of that distinctive voice, quality songwriting and powerful lyrical content makes this timeless music. To top it off, it has been digitally remastered and booms out of the speakers! Trust me, this album is worthy of your pennies.
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pearls Before Swine,
This review is from: Scott 4 (Audio CD)You have to appreciate an album like this in the context of the times in which it was made. In my humble opinion, Scott had already made his rare and beautiful masterpiece - Scott 3 - but he was unhappy that too much of that album had been conceived in 3/4 time and therefore there wasn't much differentiation between tracks. Such are the hang-ups with minutiae that great artists have, and who am I to argue that Scott was WRONG WRONG WRONG! Any album containing songs of the calibre of Big Louise, It's Raining Today, We Came Through, 30 Century Man, Two Ragged Soldiers, plus his inimitable take on Brel's Ne Me Quitte Pas (If You Go Away), deserves a place in any serious record collection. What you get on Scott 3 is pure unadulterated Scott to tug away at the heartstrings, but here's the rub: that was an album that charted, just like the previous two, though not as high up. Maybe it was too much of Scott for most tastes, but more likely that it was a finer distillation of his two previous outings (let's not forget the fine original classics both of those albums contain: Montague Terrace, Plastic Palace People, Such A Small Love, etc.) and what most people were looking for was The Walker Bros. mk II.
Without a trace of irony, then, Scott 4 was conceived in order to win back some of that audience that had drifted away. That it was intended for popular consumption at all seems almost astonishing to me. Songs like Seventh Seal, i.e., almost a transliteral commentary on the Bergman film of the same name (watch it, then listen to the song, and be amazed at its accuracy), the Mahler-like strings and spaciness of the classic Boychild, the Bo Diddley skank of Hero Of The War, the Dylanesque simplicity of Rhymes Of Goodbye, and the almost progressive rock-out of Get Behind Me. Something for everyone, you'll agree, but had it been made today, i.e., most people would never get to hear of it unless it was nominated for the Mercury awards or by chance surfing the net. There are certainly few media outlets for music of such quality today. Great as Scott 4 undoubtedly is, it's one of those adorable children who just can't find a place in the big world, destined to fade into obscurity, much like Scott's subsequent output: both paradox and enigma, that such craft and beauty and, above all, such a great voice must needs be buried under the weight of past expectations. The ultimate failure of this album was a real kick in the teeth for Scott (who never recovered). There are subsequent highs: No Regrets, Lines, Nite Flights, Sleepwalker's Woman, The Electrician, Farmer In The City, and at least Scott's content to plough his own random and sporadic furrow, but you cannot invest as much as he did in those late sixties records to reap such scant reward without it affecting your whole outlook, I'm certain. Still, had Scott not gone out on such a limb, or had he not tried to ensnare the reflection of the moon on the surface of the lake of popular song, we wouldn't have half of what we have today. Scott was and always will be that rarest of pop creatures: a true visionary. Long may he be content to drift.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an obscure masterpiece,
By A Customer
This review is from: Scott 4 (Audio CD)Very few people seem to have heard of Scott Walker, which is a pity considering just how commercial he could have been. This album may be a cult classic, but is there any reason why it could not have been a smash?
It starts all brass and drums, in the same vein as Love's Forever Changes, on "The Seventh Seal". This high drama soon gives way to the more plaintive "The World's Strongest Man", before reaching "Ashes of Angels", one of the high points of the album. The song is not great in the orthodox sense in that it consists of little more than a refrain which circles "again, and again" in between several keys and modes. But it is this stream-of-consciousness feel which gives it its watery, dreamlike brilliance.
That is soon violently broken by "The Old Man's Back Again", which Scott ironically dedicated to the Neo-Stalinist regime (Walker's real name may be Engels, but the similarity ends there!) An almost funky bassline gives way to choirs of ghostly voices and plenty of catchy-as-hell minor chord sequences. The finished result sounds like a cross between Frank Sinatra, the Stone Roses and Thomas Tallis and is quite breath-taking.
The country twang of "Duchess" could scarcely be more different, but it is quick to show its gorgeously melodic credentials, before perhaps the last great track on the album, the soulful "Get Behind Me" turns into the last lap.
It is difficult to categorise this album - Matt Monroe sings Leonard Cohen with a soul band, anyone?
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scott 4, Scott Walker - intriguing and enigmatic, yet accessible jazz/soul,
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This review is from: Scott 4 (Audio CD)`Seriously, everyone needs a bit of Scott Walker in their lives' - so said a friend of mine, recommending I buy this album. I was a bit sceptical as I had heard a few Walker Brothers tracks, and apart from `The Sun Aint Gonna Shine Anymore', I hadn't been over impressed. Anyway, this was reasonably priced, so I got it and gave it a spin. I am really glad I did. My friend's opinion was totally correct, and this is an essential album.
The tone is soulful and jazzy, as Walker roams through a series of tracks that reflect on the times. The themes are very much a commentary on the attitudes and events in the world of the late 60s. You might expect these to be a little dated now, but there is a timelessness about the singing and musical backing that makes these tracks still feel relevant today.
My particular favourites are the opener, Seventh Seal, a song based on the film of the same name, and Rhymes of Goodbye, the album closer. It's a touching song with some intriguing lyrics.
It's one of those albums that you find yourself automatically replaying after it has come to a close, the sign of a great album to me.
This remaster is pretty good, with a very nice tone and sound. There is a booklet with all the song lyrics and some recording details, but no essay.
All in all a five star album.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest albums of all time,
This review is from: Scott 4 (Audio CD)Scott Walker had been on my list of artists to check out for many years, but for some reason it took me a long time to get round to it. How I regret it now!
His first 3 albums (imaginatively titled Scott, Scott II and Scott III - at least it's easy to remember the order in which they were released) all have great moments, but sometimes drift into MOR or Brel bombast.
Scott IV is perfect. Since I bought it a couple of years ago hardly a week passes without me playing it. It has great songs (touching love songs, political songs), great arrangements and Scott's fantastic voice.
If you think you've got the 60s sewn up and you don't own this album, think again. This is one of the finest records ever recorded, worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Revolver and Pet Sounds.
It's that good.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars goghbil,
This review is from: Scott 4 (Audio CD)Oh Scott Walker, how thou has forsaken pop music...
These are simpler times, where melody reigns supreme and lyrics invite you through the door gently. There are arrangements that can't be called "deathly" of "chilling"; they're grand and somewhat cheesy, but completely inkeeping with Scott's glorious take on operatic crooning, always flexing those vocal chords but never wandering off towards that dreaded self-indulgence we read so much about. The opener, "The Seventh Seal", man, it's like Morricone meets J. R. R. Tolkien in a haunted church, with Walker watching over ominously, commenting on the deadly game of chess that takes place. It's a stupendous opener, and it never really gives the rest of the album a chance to recover. The musical backing on Scott 4 soon slips into the realms of soft rock and easy-listening, although the lyrical sharpness keeps everything above water. Moments of beauty flash past the listener, but it all comes from Scott; those rising violins and soft guitar plucks aren't impressing me too much, producers. Up your game. But it comes good. Oh, you bet it does! "Hero of the War" makes decrying the effects of battle sound like an as yet untouched topic in music. It comes through sincerely and seriously, with lines that could stop a train in its tracks. The shuffling, almost funky bass of the song that follows continues the party, and offers us all a welcome contrast; a blinding beam of light to balance out the darkness that can sometimes infest this apparent pop album.
Laying all my cards on the table, I can freely admit that this is not a record without flaws. There's filler where there shouldn't be filler, and occasional musical accompaniment that would belong better on albums that seem to exist only in bargain bins. But it's all about Scott Walker, one of the greatest voices in music history and one of the very few solo artists that can carry records entirely on their own back if needs be.
Oh Scott Walker, how did I ever live without you?
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The boy comes of age,
This review is from: Scott 4 (Audio CD)Scott Walker's four numbered albums are akin to a magazine series, standing apart from the entertaining, but often fluffy, Walker Brothers' music and Walker's mid-1970s bland aberrations. All four are worth buying, but this one is the crowning glory. Entirely self-penned, it benefits, like its predecessors, from Johnny Franz's inspired arrangements, Walker's sense of adventure and, of course, that voice.
The arrangements vary greatly, but are never incongruous. 'The Seventh Seal' is a dramatic opening track, containing a similar intensity to 'The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore', but with a typically deep and dark lyric. 'On Your Own Again' swings to the other extreme, being a simple acoustic number. The music sometimes has that syrupy quality you'd expect from, say, Glen Campbell, but Walker's voice changes it all. His lyrics at their best are beautiful and poetic, but he does get carried away. On 'Angels Of Ashes', for instance, he gives us 'and the fullness that fills up the pulse of durations is gone'. If you're going to go over the top, I guess you might as well go for broke.
The best tracks are probably the spine-tingling 'Boy Child', 'The Seventh Seal', 'The Old Man's Back Again' (great bass guitar and an earthy vocal delivery) and the soft, soulful pop of 'Duchess'. The truth is, though, that your favourites can change with each listen. This is a rare treat that repays repeated playing.
42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, only heard by a priveliged few...,
This review is from: Scott 4 (Audio CD)In the recording studio in 1993, Radiohead's Thom Yorke started to rehearse something with the working title of "Our Scott Walker Song". The song would eventually be released under the title "Creep" and it would become one of the greatest songs of the Nineties. Yet it wouldn't make it onto this album. Scott 4 is without a doubt the pinnacle of this remarkable man's catalogue and is one of the most beautifully atmospheric LP's ever made. It is an immensely varied work, from the charging brass intro to The Seventh Seal to the gentle acoustic strum of The Angels Of Ashes. However, the voice is the focal point, and behind Jeff Buckley, Scott Walker is probably the greatest singer to have ever lived. On Your Own Again, the second track, doesn't even last two minutes, yet manages to convey more emotion than Coldplay will probably manage in their whole career. The whole album is incredibly engulfing and consumes the listener. In musical terms, it is very hard to imagine if you haven't heard it before. Try to think of Sinatra's "In the Wee Small Hours" mixed with Nick Drake's "Bryter Layter". Actually, it's a lot better than that even. Track five, Boy Child is, in my opinion, the peak of music itself, The Best Song Ever written, across any musical medium in any time period. Beautiful lyrics, and a tune that I would be quite happy to listen to for the rest of my life. It is a crying shame that so few people have heard this astonishing album. People who would like to think they have any reasonable knowledge of music will already own Revolver, Blood On The Tracks, The Queen Is Dead and OK Computer. If you'd like to think you are one of these people, then you really should own this record too. Without it, your experience of music is incomplete.
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