Friday, July 06, 2007

Scott - The Majestic Baritone.

Has there ever been a better opening to an album from the sixties than 'Mathilde' from Scott Walker's debut - Scott? It was recorded forty years ago this month and released in September 1967, reaching No.3 in the UK album charts. I'm fairly sure that Phillips, Scott's label didn't release any singles from it, which was strange. It may have helped its chart placing as Scott was such a hot artist at this time.

Apart from the power of Jacque Brel's ‘Mathilde’ there's covers of Tim Hardin's ‘The Lady Came From Baltimore’ along with ‘My Death’ & 'Amsterdam' also by Brel. The rest of the album is made up of Scott originals, and original is the word that describes most of them best. Several of the songs stand up to anything that was written in this pivotal year of pop. 'Montague Terrace (in Blue)' is a masterpiece and 'Such A Small Love' is dark and dramatic and perfectly captures the concept of love and longing. Both of these two songs were arranged, as were 'When Joanna Loved Me', 'The Big Hurt' and 'Mathilde', by Wally Stott. His orchestral sweeps and swoops perfectly counterbalance Scott's majestic baritone.

Wally Stott was born in 1924, making him forty-three when he worked on Scott's album. In the 1970s Wally became Angela Morley in a sex change operation. He worked on Scott 2 and 3 before moving to America. - she wrote the score for 'Watership Down' in 1978.

I have most everything Scott Walker has ever recorded and while I struggle with his recent, intermittent, output I constantly go back to those first four solo albums, as well as 'When The Band Come In' and 'Songs from his TV Show'. For me he's been the quintessential modern day pop singer, running Frank Sinatra a close second.


Lord Straf-Dresden said...

Sadly, I missed these gems. Maybe a little clip could be psoted?

Richard Havers said...

James, Posting clips on a blog is beyond me! Here's a link to clips from every track

r morris said...

I have never even heard of this guy. I'll have to check his music out. Thanks for the heads-up.

Richard Havers said...

He's an American too!

Rob, you are in for a treat!

Marlene said...

He is one my favourite artists who, unfortunately,
seemed to lose his way. I think he has the most amazing voice and is able to interpret a lot of different songs and moods in a truly emotional sense. Thanks Richard, you have made my day