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Scott Walker in 5 Easy Pieces Box set

3.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, 24 Nov 2003
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Product details

  • Audio CD (24 Nov. 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Universal
  • ASIN: B0000EWNXS
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 268,406 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Prologue/Little Things
  2. I Don't Want To Hear It Anymore
  3. In My Room
  4. After the Lights Go Out
  5. Archangel
  6. Orpheus
  7. Mrs Murphy
  8. Montague Terrace
  9. Such A Small Love
  10. The Amorous Humphrey Plugg
  11. It's Raining Today
  12. Rosemary
  13. Big Louise
  14. Angels Of Ashes
  15. Hero Of The War
  16. Time Operator
  17. Joe
  18. The War Is Over

Disc: 2

  1. Where's The Girl?
  2. You're All Around Me
  3. Just Say Goodbye
  4. Hurting Each Other
  5. Genevieve
  6. Once Upon A Summertime
  7. When Johanna Loved Me
  8. Joanna
  9. Angelica
  10. Always Coming back To You
  11. The Bridge
  12. Best Of Both Worlds
  13. Two Weeks Since You're Gone
  14. On Your Own Again
  15. Someone Who Cared
  16. Long About Now (Esther Ofarim)
  17. Scope J (sung by Ute Lemper)
  18. Lullaby ( By - by - by )

Disc: 3

  1. Jackie
  2. Mathilde
  3. The Girls And The Dogs
  4. Amsterdam
  5. Next
  6. The Girls From The Streets
  7. My Death
  8. Sons Of
  9. If You Go Away
  10. Copenhagen
  11. We Came Through
  12. Thirtieth Century Man
  13. Rhymes Of Goodbye
  14. Thanks For Chicago
  15. Cowbells Shakin
  16. My Way Home
  17. Lines
  18. Rawhide
  19. Blanket Roll Blues
  20. Tilt
  21. Patriot

Disc: 4

  1. The Plague
  2. Plastic Palace people
  3. Boy Child
  4. The Shut Out
  5. Fat Mama Kick
  6. Nite Flights
  7. The Electrician
  8. Dealer
  9. Track 3 (Delayed)
  10. Sleepwalkers Woman
  11. Track 5 (It's A Starving)
  12. Farmer In The City (full length)
  13. The Cockfighter (full length)
  14. Bouncer See Bouncer
  15. Face On Breast

Disc: 5

  1. Light
  2. Deadlier Than The Male
  3. The Rope And The Colt
  4. Meadow
  5. The Seventh Seal
  6. The Darkest Forest
  7. The Ballad Of Sacco And Vanzetti
  8. The Summer Knows (from Summer of '42)
  9. Glory Road 3:32
  10. Isabel
  11. Man From Reno
  12. The Church Of The Apostles
  13. Indecent Sacrifice
  14. Bombupper
  15. I Threw It All Away
  16. River Of Blood
  17. Only Myself To Blame
  18. Running
  19. The Time Is Out Of Joint
  20. Never again
  21. Closing

Product description

BBC Review

Someone at Universal is having a laugh. Five Easy Pieces? This is surely the most ironic title of the year. Despite the former Scott Engel's exemplary crooning ability and his propensity for loungey arrangements, his was never an easy career to sum up. Let's not forget that this is a man who can still be heard regularly on Radio 2; yet his last two albums could easily be described as virtually impenetrable. And how many artists (other than fellow recluse Syd Barrett) could number David Bowie, Brian Eno and Julian Cope among their fans?

Theming Walker's output over five discs has already led some purists to bemoan any departure from the sacred texts. Received wisdom tells us that Scott's four, numbered solo albums between 1967 and 1969 are the place to really experience the man in all his genre-busting glory. Yet to take this approach would be to miss a vast swathe of classic angst from both his Walker Brothers days and the thirty five years since. With this in mind the work is split by either subject matter or source. Thus we get one disc of love songs; one of existential drama; one of movie work; one of 'difficult' pieces and one of European and American material. Phew indeed...

Ostensibly an MOR interpreter of material, Walker was no ordinary chicken-in-a-basket club turn, and his Europhile, Left Bank leanings proved his downfall. Assured his idol status and granted his own peak-time TV variety show, he proceeded to throw some very extreme curveballs. His first solo album was warning enough. It contained the Jacques Brel number ''Amsterdam'' (featured on the Euro disc along with other Brel and Weill classics) and its mention of pimps and prostitutes hardly fitted his hipper, younger Jack Jones profile. More Brel numbers followed along with strange, twisted kitchen sink dramasand other non-family favourites, all set to Wally Stott's magisterial strings. By Scott 4 he was composing all his own work and chart success was sacrificed for material concerning Bergman movies and Stalinism.

Yet the intellectual versus populist contradictions in his career meant that he still attempted something akin to pop material, even toning down his love of Euro cinema to produce the saccharine The Moviegoer with its Legrand and Mancini tunes. By the mid-seventies attempts to balance Walker Brothers reunions with his insularity and artistic frustration led to him dropping off the radar almost completely. Abandoning the life that had made him a pin-up, his rare appearances in the studio now yielded music that was totally uncompromising and uncompromised.

The contradiction for the listener is that both sides of Scott offer wonderful rewards. A song as carefully rendered as ''Johanna'' (from Scott 2) rates with the great performances of Sinatra with Billy May, while work as angular as ''The Electrician'' resonates with confrontational integrity, almost daring you to turn away. His stature as a writer is confirmed by the tracks completed for Ute Lemper. ''Scope J'' and ''Lullaby'' are simply astounding in their depth, complexity and understanding of Northern European conventions.

Of course plenty of this stuff straddles both camps. Classics such as ''Montague Terrace (In Blue)'', ''It's Raining Today'' and ''Big Louise'' all approach the listener like ticking time bombs of gritty realism smuggled inside lush arangements. For someone so associated with existential misery there's even a fair smattering of humour. Just listen to the self-pitying narrator of ''Time Operator''.

So, this is a brave and noble attempt to sum up the career of a man who, by his very existence, defies summation. For newcomer and aficionado alike, this is no easy ride, but a totally worthwhile one... --Chris Jones

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is an excellent package - but not without some minor flaws, as previous reviewers have pointed out. Serious Scott fans will probably already have virtually everything here already. There are no unreleased tracks - although there are many deleted and extremely hard to find ones. The booklet could have been more illuminating. But, irritating as those things are, I really don't think they detract too much from this major collection of Scott's work authorised by the great man himself.
Each CD is assembled thematically,which forces you to listen to the songs in a different context. I have always felt Scott 3 and Tilt are the high watermarks of his recording career and, interestingly, the track listing knocks down the view held by some that Scott 4 is his best album by taking relatively few tracks from it.
Disc 1 dishes up the kitchen sink dramas. It is, more so than the other discs, pretty heavy with Walker Brothers material - but this only serves to remind you just how under-rated much of the Walker Brothers stuff is compared to Scott's solo output. Disc 2 focuses on songs about or for women. This disc is, early on particularly, heavy on covers - but it's a reminder that Scott is undoubtedly one of the foremost interpreters of songs in music history with tracks that could be lightweight given depth and emotion. It rounds off with the recent collaboration with Ute Lemper - two stunning tracks that sound like nothing you have ever heard before... except perhaps Tilt or Pola X! Disc 3 is a fairly self-explanatory collection of songs about Europe and America. Disc 4 is billed as an alternative best-of, focussing on the harder-edged stuff - with heavy emphasis on Climate Of Hunter and Tilt. Disc 5 rounds up soundtrack and film-inspired stuff from various sources.
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By A Customer on 2 Jan. 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you're new to Scott Walker, I suppose this is a good place to start, but realistically, the idly curious aren't going to want to shell out substantial money for a 5-CD box set (Boy Child is an inexpensive, single-disc introduction to the first five or so solo albums). So who's left? the "die-hard fans" the compiler pointedly informs us the set ISN'T for. And serious fans are likely to be disappointed by 5 Easy Pieces: There are a few rarities and out-of-print tracks here, but the bulk of the set's ninety-odd tracks are available elsewhere, and nothing has been included in the way of unreleased material, alternate versions, etc.
Further bad news: the package - an odd, undersized, flimsy slipcase-and-tray affair - is sadly shabby, and the artwork is barely bootleg-quality. The booklet, as amateurish and slapdash as the rest of the set's design, consists of nothing beyond track information and little snippets of praise from other artists - no essays, no photos, no other information.
The good news: the music is consistently brilliant (five stars for the material). The sound quality is excellent, the five discs have been cleverly and thoughtfully compiled according to loose themes, and the conceit works more often than not. I know, the music is what matters, ultimately - but it's heartbreaking to contemplate the cheesiness of this set. It could have been so much more. As it stands, 5 Easy Pieces is a monumental missed opportunity.
A final note: as another reviewer has pointed out, the third disc is missing a channel in early copies. Universal sent me a replacement within a week so I can't complain about customer service, but it's one more slap in the face to Scott fans that the folks who put this out couldn't even be bothered to get the mastering right.
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Format: Audio CD
As much as I would like to praise the contents of this magnificent box-set, I feel the need to warn future owners about a manufacture fault on disc 3 of this set named 'An American in Europe'.
As it appears, this disc was mastered on only on the right channel, so there's no sound on the left channel at all !! Only if you play this disc in the mono-mode, you will be able to play this disc properly, but it was not intended that way.
My box-set has been replaced twice, but the same problem keeps appearing. There seem to be a lot of rotten copies around
What about some decent quality-control, you folks at Universal !!!
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Format: Audio CD
This Five-CD overview of Noel S. Engel's career from the 1960s to 2000's film-related work is an utter joy- one that hardcore Scott fans will adore & pretty much the definitive Scott-compilation (there are so many, always missing key songs...this one does not & comes as a package approved of & worked on by Scott) Too many tracks to go into, of course, I'll offer a slight overview:
Disc One opens and closes with selections from 1970's Til the Band Comes in (Little Things, War is Over) and between offers up some more obscure Walker Brothers (Orpheus, After the Lights Go Out, In My Room) & some solo joys (Big Louise, Angels of Ashes,The Amorous Humphrey Plugg). There's nothing quite like the sweep of Montague Terrace (In Blue), that point where Scott sings "but we'll dream, won't we?" as horns et al burst remains one of the most cinematic songs recorded...Disc Two focuses on 60s/70s solo Scott (The Bridge, hit single Joanna, Scott IV's On Your Own Again, Walkers classic Genevieve). Even better is the juxatposition of 1970's Long About Now (covered by Fatima Mansions) which features Esther Ofarim and the songs Scott wrote for Ute Lemper (Scope, Lullaby)- which are hard to find (Lullaby is a Japansese-only release) & fuse Nico-style chanteuse singing with Walker's Tilt/Pola-X approach to songwriting...
The third disc is pure solo Scott, drifting from the cult solo albums of the late 60s& early 70s to the infrequent dark masterpieces, Climate of Hunter (1984) & Tilt (1995) Some great, heck, definitive Jacques Brel cover versions (My Death, Jacky, Amsterdam)- without those, forget Bowie, Almond, Cope, Jack...whoever! Next is a major highlight, perfect 60's Scott & his take on If You Go Away has never been improved on (no matter how many times Marc Almond records it!).
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