Great article in this month’s Wire magazine by Ian Penman on the largely unheralded period in Scott Walker’s career from the late 1960s to the early 1970s.
It’s a fine reappraisal of this unique singer as well as being an intelligent insight into how the music industry has changed beyond recognition over the last two decades. Penman argues that it’s all too easy to snub ‘safe’ MOR music and praise the kind of ‘difficult’ sounds we hear on Scott’s more recent albums like Tilt and The Drift.
I particularly liked this section:
“Avant garde noise is seldom the background or soundtrack to anything – which is supposed to be part of its valour. But sometimes it can feel a bit ‘preaching to the converted’ music for an audience of people who all think the same. Sometimes a hint of something like old-time Protestant denial – the idea that if it’s louder, difficult, more of an endurance trial, it’s already more virtuous”.
As a reminder of how he was, this is a clip from of him performing Jackie on Howerd’s Hour in 1968:
I Love Total Destruction Blogspot contains download links to some of Scott’s forgotten non-masterpieces.