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Scott Walker - Stretch CD (album) cover


Scott Walker

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3 stars You may call it my guilty pleasure, to write premier PA reviews on albums or singles that sometimes are as far from progressive rock as possible. With Scott Walker it's an easy task indeed, hardly anyone else here even thinks of reviewing his easy-listening oriented cover performance era that followed the commercial failures of the 1969 and 1970 albums featuring his own song-writing. This forgettable and artistically weak era concerns the albums The Moviegoer (1972), Any Day Now (1973), Stretch (1973) and We Had It All (1974), after which Scott returned to song-writing with the three-year reunion of The Walker Brothers.

Stretch contains the clearest country songs Scott ever recorded, while the majority of songs still represent the same safe mainstream pop and soft folk-rock style of the previous albums. According to the All Music Guide review, Scott sings here with greater passion than for years, "but that still doesn't save Stretch from being anything more than a curiosity for dedicated fans". I agree that as a vocalist Scott Walker is in a good shape here, and that's actually enough to make this album a pleasant listen to anyone not despising easy-listening, middle-of-the-road entertainment vocal music. The arrangements are soft and romantic. I certainly prefer listening to well-made romantic entertainment music than poor pop/rock such as the Scott Walker single I reviewed yesterday.

'Sunshine' is a laid-back and soft country song. Now, country as a genre has never been close to my heart, but this kind of entertainment music oriented country isn't so bad, fairly close to Glen Campbell. 'Just One Smile' written by Randy Newman (another artist I appreciate) is a sentimental slow-tempo ballad. 'A Woman Left Lonely' also, with a country flavour. 'No Easy Way Down' was familiar to me as the Carole King original. Scott's version is expectedly more sentimental. The producer and arranger Del Newman plays very safe throughout the album. All the possible rough edges are well erased and everything is as accessible and easy as it gets. 'That's How I Got to Memphis' is another Glen Campbell style country ballad.

'Use Me' is written by Bill "Ain't No Sunshine" Withers, and it brings some needed groove to this album. 'Frisco Depot' returns to soft sentimentality and features a harpsichord sound. Del Newman's own 'Someone Who Cared' is extremely slow, orchestrated melancholic ballad, and pretty gorgeous as such. The album continues safely til the end, offering some more country, and finally another Randy Newman piece, 'I'll Be Home' as a serene piano ballad. Sure, in the Scott Walker discography this is among the most forgettable and insignificant albums, but since this is a good entertainment music album, I rate it with three friendly stars.

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Posted Thursday, March 9, 2023 | Review Permalink

SCOTT WALKER Stretch ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only
  • 2 stars Gordy (El Gringo del Mundo) SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Folk/Eclectic/PSIKE/Metal/Post/Math Team
  • 2 stars WinterWarlock (Johnny)
  • 5 stars dannyb

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