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This review is from: Scott (Audio CD)
Born Scott Engel, in Hamilton, Ohio in 1943, Scott Walker rose to fame in the United Kingdom in the mid sixties as a member of The Walker Brothers, taking the self exiled American band back to the US to conquer the world for one brief moment.
In 1967 however, The Walker Brothers were no more, with all three members going their separate ways to forge solo careers. Scott Walker in the same year released his debut; Scott on the Fontana Record Label. It was deliberately as far removed from a Walker Brother pop idol album as you could get.
As it turns out Scott was the beginnings of a very successful, yet equally surprising solo career. This first album was the blue print for the next three albums, all sharing similar characteristics, which on paper were not really of your typical late sixties fare. A unique blend of Orchestral arrangements, humorous and dark lyrics all glazed over in an almost crooner like varnish, which in 1967 Britain just lapped up, with the album being a surprise Autumn hit.
Contained on this album are songs penned by Walker, as well as some fantastic covers including songs written by his favourite writer, Jacques Brel. The best Brel compositions and strongest song on the album as it happens, is the opening track; Mathilde, it is almost hilarious in its drama and its onslaught like qualities, yet it's a compelling listen and is instantly Scott Walker.
Following the opening track, there are ten beautifully orchestrated numbers, with Walker on top crooner form, Montague Terrace (in Blue) and Angelica are stunningly marvellous songs, an enhanced cover of Tim Hardin's The Lady Came From Baltimore continues the momentum that ultimately takes this album into Classic territory.
By the time you get to the final track, also penned by Brel, Amsterdam, nothing really surprises you anymore, although the track is such a dark and desperate tale, it is yet again so beautifully performed by Walker, it just works and is not at all out of place.
This album was the rebirth and reinvention of a man who had already achieved a great deal in such a short space of time. This album and the following three also ensured that Scott Walker would gain a cult audience and going off this debut album, it isn't difficult to see why.