By Paul Rigby
Walker, known for the easy pop ballads of the 60s, with the Walker Brothers combo, has always been determined and somewhat enigmatic. When the Walker Brothers split during the late 60s, Walker reportedly left to become reclusive, although, if you talk to him, he wouldn’t agree. Walker is on record as saying that, if you’ve got nothing to say, then don’t talk. Speaking at the time of the split and during the making of his fourth solo album, Scott 4, he commented that, “I haven’t been trying to escape. I’m a bit of a gypsy, I cannot stay in one place for too long. I’ve been writing and producing which I enjoy doing. I enjoy classical music so I go to a lot of concerts.”
Referring to the reports that he’d run off to a monastery to hide when, in fact, he wanted to learn the Gregorian Chant, Walker noted that, “I think that the press, like the public, keep one thing in their heads for too long a time. People change, I’ve taken on a big change and I am not the same person that I was when I was with the Walker Brothers, it’s hard for them to forget that. They read in to things that I say, things that don’t exist. I enjoy permanence so I enjoy making records. I personally like records. I enjoy recording. I enjoy hearing something that I have done orchestrated and put together and then I leave it.”
Scott 4 is Walker’s finest solo work, a real balance between production and introspective, ambitious lyrics with a stripped-down approach (that continues to become leaner even today) that actually illuminated his songs further. Packed with original material including the Ennio Morricone-esque The Seventh Seal and Hero Of The War, Walker’s songs play with emotion and intention while his folk and country influences became more dominant.
Walker paid for his single minded approach, however, “The problem really started with my third album,” he explained to the BBC more recently, “because it was practically written on 3/4. Ridiculous. You can’t dance to it so easily…unless you wanted to waltz all night. [With Scott 4] I became kind of a leper. People didn’t really want to touch me commercially. After that? I don’t know what happened. A whole lotta drinkin’!”
Stand-out track: The Old Man’s Back Again
A real groove is dominated by the foundational bass guitar which keeps the track rolling, flanked by the orchestral touches and sweeping, sometimes, punchy, strings and haunting background vocals. Your hi-fi will benefit from good low frequency bass control to hang on to that funky bass while excellent instrumental separation will allow the ear to pick out the comparatively complex soundstage.
Scott 4 – A Recorded History
1969 LP Philips SBL 7913
1992 CD Fontana 510 882-2
2000 CD Fontana 510 882-2
2004 LP Philips SBL 7913