I became a fan of Scott Walker through his later music so listening to his earlier music is always a bit of a challenge for me, both because it’s significantly different to what came later (that’s an understatement) and because it’s not my thing.
With the benefit of hindsight, this is the first of his early records where you can hear germs (just the tiniest germs) of what would come later. On earlier records, it’s basically on the lyrics of certain songs which hint of what would come. Here the music at least sometimes matches the lyrics. I generally find it incongruous when lyrics and music don’t match, so maybe that’s one reason I’ve struggled with his early stuff.
But even though the music is a little closer to the lyrics this time out, I still struggle with the record in part because I cannot imagine ever loving something like this (or any of his early solo records). The whole vaguely sinister or depressing, lush orchestral arrangement thing is not something that I particularly enjoy. When I do enjoy it, it’s in brief snippets, and not whole records.
But that sounds like I’m being really critical and I don’t necessarily mean that. The songs are compelling and the covers are, as always, expertly curated. The record itself is immaculate. And I appreciate the dissonance creeping in. I like it more than the earlier solo records (and, I assume, Walker Brothers records). It’s just not my thing.
All tracks written by Noel Scott Engel except where noted.
- “It’s Raining Today” 4:02
- “Copenhagen” 2:22
- “Rosemary” 3:22
- “Big Louise” 3:10
- “We Came Through” 1:59
- “Butterfly” 1:42
- “Two Ragged Soldiers” 3:07
- “30 Century Man” 1:29
- “Winter Night” 1:45
- “Two Weeks Since You’ve Gone” 2:48
- “Sons Of” (Gérard Jouannest, Jacques Brel, Mort Shuman) 3:45
- “Funeral Tango” (Jouannest, Brel, Shuman) 2:56
- “If You Go Away” (Brel, Rod McKuen) 4:57
- Scott Walker – vocals, arranger
- Wally Stott – Arranged and conducted all songs except “30 Century Man” and “Funeral Tango”
- Peter Knight – Arranged and conducted “Funeral Tango”