Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Listen to ALWAYS COMING BACK TO YOU by Scott Walker.

Speaking of artists I'd like to devote a blog to, Scott Walker would rank high on the list. Certainly, someday soon we'll put together a series on Scott Walker and the 90s or something like that. Whatever we do, one of the essential arguments is that his music has always sounded best in the spring, in that period after it's not too cold and right before it's too hot.

In Texas (and probably everywhere else), that period of time is fleetingly short, and triggers huge amounts of nostalgia and regret. The good weather of spring is "over before it starts," it's "slipping through our fingers." Every good night out makes you question whether it's the last one as good, or whether you missed one even better the night before.

For some of us, Scott Walker is really good for that kind of weather. I'm not sure I can describe why that is, but something in the way he attacks this material (that even (especially?) when it was being recorded, was already a little quaint) with such conviction. Is he acting or is he not? What does he know that I don't? Scott makes you question your premises (and/or write fruity blog posts!)

Photo: Grey units (3).



Barbara said...

There's a documentary called Scott Walker: 30 Century Man,
It's gone the Festival route and is now available on DVD in England.
Hopefully they'll get it to the States soon.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill,

I agree with what you are tyring to say here, and that is Scott's music is evocative and atmospheric, yes this is a feeling that comes with the spring.

The 30 Century Man DVD is something to watch out for it is a most deserved tribute to someone who has given much inspiration to the music industry.

Corbett said...

I'm not sure what you're saying here. I think it's universally agreed upon that Walker season starts in autumn and ends in spring (well, with the possible exception of "Come Next Spring").

Regardless, this is an amazing song. It's lovely, evocative and utterly strange all at the same time. And, agreed, it must have sounded even more odd at the time than it does today. The thing I'd like to highlight is the quality of Scott's originals--on a record packed with excellent interpretations of lauded songwriters' work, the originals are the most compelling.

Here's a task: Define concretely what makes a singer like Scott (or Elvis) so superior when he covers other people's songs? I was thinking about this as American Idol was blaring on TV last's certainly more than choice of material and lack of vocal histrionics.

Corbett said...

...just in case your readers haven't seen these incredible photos of the Walkers, take a look at

bill said...

Just a few points: Thanks for the shouts on 30 Century Man. I've definitely been looking forward to it, and maybe we can do the Scott series when it finally gets a release over here.

I think we'll quickly get into trouble defining "walker season" too rigidly. I would think it's any time when the weather is pregnant with change & loss. For me, that's usually early (and usually been) early spring, but you can get that any time, I'd think. Fact is, Scott always sounds moody & mysterious.

Barbara said...

You're welcome.
I seem to remember a crooner in the early 60's by the name of Scotty Engel.
It's amazing how much he has changed.

I missed the premiere here in New York and have been kicking myself ever since:(

John said...

Thanks for shining the spotlight on this track; when one listens to the album, it sounds like a whisper following the bombast of the preceding lineup. Standing alone it's easier to appreciate the arrangement (I'd forgotten there was an organ in that first bit) which shapes the emotion of the song brilliantly.

Also, Scott's mid-song "..what the hell" is tough in both the (Chris) Flood-ian sense and in the fact that it's damn part of the lyrics!

As for me, Walker season starts with that first autumnal cold slap on the face and ends when it's just too sunny outside to listen to Montague Terrace (In Blue)... but then again, I can always listen to Montague Terrace.