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SCOTT WALKER

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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Scott Walker biography
Born Noel Scott Engel in Hamilton, Ohio in 1943, Scott Walker (January 9, 1943 - March 22, 2019) was an American-British singer and composer with an uniquely peculiar career arc. A distinct and enigmatic figure in the annals of popular music, Walker rose to fame in a teen-pop trio before chafing under stardom and executive meddling, embarking on a long and uncompromising artistic path that recognisably engaged with the more challenging and tenebrous corners of progressive rock.

Walker initially made his name as an expressive baritone crooner performing art songs in the footsteps of his inspiration Jacques Brel, crafting humane, empathetic lyrics relating to society's downtrodden and isolated. Walker's work from 1995 and beyond can be described as a sort of modern classical avant-prog lieder balancing existential horror, humour and hopefulness in an abstract lyrical style often compared to Samuel Beckett, with a decidedly anti-war and anti-fascist bent. The inventive and dissonant string arrangements written by Peter Knight, Reg Guest and especially Angela Morley for his early work carried on to his art-rock and post-industrial periods by way of long-time collaborator Brian Gascoigne, described by Aquarius Records as "Arvo Pärt, Morricone and Penderecki caught in a purgatorial bar-room brawl." Walker's distinct resounding voice and vibrato remained the most recognisable facet of his various eras, along with his perennial earnest performances.

The only son in an upper middle class family, Noel Engel lead a peripatetic youth due to his geologist father's job at an oil company, and settled with his mother in California after they divorced. Engel's musical career began in earnest with a series of lightweight pop songs in his early teens, recorded as the brief protégé of singer Eddie Fisher. Engel worked as a session musician after moving to Los Angeles, developing a taste for jazz and European cinema and befriending singer/guitarist John Maus. The two formed the Walker Brothers in 1964, recruiting drummer Gary Leeds later in the year and adopting the surname "Walker" at Maus' behest, with Noel using his middle name to complete the nom de guerre. Signing to Philips Records and moving to Britain (where Scott would gain citizenship in 1970 and remain the rest of his life), the Walker Brothers performed a blend of "blue-eyed soul" and baroque pop with a Phil Spector-influenced sheen, for a brief time as popular in the U.K. as the Beatles were in the ...
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SCOTT WALKER discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SCOTT WALKER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 3 ratings
Scott
1967
3.67 | 3 ratings
Scott 2
1968
4.25 | 4 ratings
Scott 3
1969
3.00 | 1 ratings
Scott: Scott Walker Sings Songs from His T.V. Series
1969
4.50 | 4 ratings
Scott 4
1969
4.00 | 1 ratings
'Til the Band Comes In
1970
2.95 | 2 ratings
The Moviegoer
1972
2.00 | 1 ratings
Any Day Now
1973
2.00 | 1 ratings
Stretch
1973
2.00 | 1 ratings
We Had It All
1974
3.96 | 4 ratings
Climate of Hunter
1984
4.50 | 2 ratings
Tilt
1995
4.00 | 2 ratings
The Drift
2006
4.50 | 2 ratings
Bish Bosch
2012
4.00 | 2 ratings
Soused (collaboration with Sunn O))))
2014

SCOTT WALKER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SCOTT WALKER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SCOTT WALKER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Romantic Scott Walker
1971
0.00 | 0 ratings
This Is... Scott Walker
1972
0.00 | 0 ratings
Attention! Scott Walker!
1976
0.00 | 0 ratings
Scott Walker Sings Jacques Brel
1981
0.00 | 0 ratings
Boy Child - The Best of 1967-1970
1990
0.00 | 0 ratings
It's Raining Today: The Scott Walker Story (1967-1970)
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Collection
2004

SCOTT WALKER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Jackie / Amsterdam
1967
0.00 | 0 ratings
I Don't Want to Hear It Anymore
1968
5.00 | 1 ratings
Joanna
1968
0.00 | 0 ratings
Amsterdam / Mathilde
1968
0.00 | 0 ratings
A Woman Left Lonely
1973
0.00 | 0 ratings
Delta Dawn
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
Track Three
1983

SCOTT WALKER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Climate of Hunter by WALKER, SCOTT album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.96 | 4 ratings

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Climate of Hunter
Scott Walker Prog Related

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Scott Walker is actually one of my favorite artists and I was surprised to see him added in 2023 on the site. I will start writing about his 'Climate of Hunter' album, because it is perhaps his first progressive rock album. As artistic and masterful as his sixties records may have been, they were in a sense English chansons albums with very sophisticated arrangements. On 'Clime of Hunter' Walker starts his stint with producer Peter Walsh and one could see it as a huge stepping stone or transitional record when having the very accomplished 'Tilt'-album in mind. However, whereas Tilt has a timeless yet modern sound, Climate of Hunter is definitely more rooted in the eighties soundwise. The gated (electronic) drums, the fretles bass and wave-type synths can be quite a hindrance when first listening to this record. I found that repeated listening really did wonders for me and my appreciation for this record. In a way its much easier to listen to than Tilt, yet almost as dark and brooding. The soundstage of the production is brilliant and the voice of Walker is recorded beautifully. The dissonant backdrops are in a stage of development, but they do enrich the eighties sophisto pop/rock arrangements immensely. The echoed voice of Walker sounds like ghost from another age in these eighties soundscapes and somehow it just feels right after a while. What puts 'Climate of Hunter' a notch down is the difference in quality between side 1 and side two. The first four songs are pretty much perfect and different from each other. With 'Sleepwalkers Woman' Walker returns to the fully symphonic arrangements of the sixties in a grand, dark style. De second side starts to drag a bit after a while and even sounds a bit unfinished when it comes to the production; the songs could you use an added instrument or sound effect here and there. Yet, this is really pushing myself to criticize this record in order to explain the record's lesser status in Walker's discography. The digital remastered version from 2008 sounds good, a little more focused and punchier than the eighties vinyl I have - which sound a bit warmer and more spacious. Both are fine. Scott Walker's 'Climate of Hunter' is a great eighties symphonic sophisto pop/rock album with the mark of the artistry of one of the greatest of the twentieth century music. Don't let the shadow that the mighty Tilt- album casts obscure this gem.
 The Moviegoer by WALKER, SCOTT album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.95 | 2 ratings

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The Moviegoer
Scott Walker Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I am more or less familiar with Scott Walker's classic repertoire from the late sixties (actually I mostly have had good compilations at my hand instead of whole individual albums), so it may feel strange that I choose to make a review of this collection of movie songs. Perhaps the given low rating makes me want to find out if it's really that bad in comparison. Upon my initial youtube listening I'd say this isn't a poor album per se, although I certainly see the point why it's not on the same level. First of all, the songwriter Scott Walker is not present here. This was a product aiming at easy marketing.

Wikipedia: "Having lost creative control of his music after the commercial failures of his previous two studio albums Scott 4 and 'Til the Band Comes In, Walker was tasked with recording 'inoffensive, middle-of-the-road material that could be easily processed, marketed and sold'. By way of compromise Walker had some say in the song selection and drew together a selection of themes from some of his favourite films." Some of the twelve tunes on this album are familiar to a large audience, but at least to me there are many good songs unfamiliar to me in advance. Middle-of-the- road easy listening, admittedly. But as such, this is worth hearing: Scott Walker as a singer doesn't fail, and the arrangements are ok.

'This Way Mary' is a theme song from "Mary, Queen of Scots" composed by John Barry who is IMHO among the best movie composers, far beyond his well-known contributions to James Bond films. Nino Rota's 'Speak Softly Love' from The Godfather is unfortunately overplayed up to these days (not the Scott Walker version, but it sounds pretty much the same anyway). 'Glory Road' comes from the film W.U.S.A. (1970, not familiar to me). A recognizable Neil Diamond softness in this song. Nice, if a bit forgettable. 'That Night' composed by Lalo Schiffrin is also a slow-tempo ballad, and the orchestration is very romantic. I do have a sof spot for music like this.

Other featured composers include masters such as Michel Legrand and Henry Mancini. Songs written by less familiar names, like 'Come Saturday Morning' from Pookie (1969) are also very good in this particular easy listening genre, all very suitable for Scott's emotional voice. And it's very nice to hear 'The Ballad of Sacco and Vanzetti' (Ennio Morricone, Joan Baez), being only familiar with 'Here's to You'.

It's safe to say this album is pretty unessential in Scott Walker's discography, but worth listening to, if you have nothing against romantic, orchestrated crooner stuff.

 Joanna by WALKER, SCOTT album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1968
5.00 | 1 ratings

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Joanna
Scott Walker Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
5 stars I'm glad to see Scott Walker here, he's definitely one of the best male voices in popular music ever. His perhaps eyebrow-raising addition in ProgArchives is based on his later era showing a great amount of challenging originality that undoubtedly puts off the easy listening oriented old fans. I'm however personally much more fond of the classic era from 1967 to the early 70's, when he as an artist was closer to the likes of Tony Bennett and Jacques Brel -- whose songs he recorded -- than to anything even remotely prog related. 'Joanna' is a good example of Scott Walker's passionate, larger-than-life art of singing at that time.

This was his second single which climbed even higher on the UK charts (No. 7) than the legendary Jacques Brel interpretation 'Jackie' did the previous year. His debut solo album titled Scott had already been released but 'Joanna' was a new song, written exclusively for Scott Walker by the married songwriting couple Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent. Walker actually wrote a significant proportion of the lyric. The lush orchestral arrangement was done by Peter Knight, who was responsible for the orchestral parts in Days of Future Passed (1967) by The Moody Blues.

Walker's vocals are truly gorgeous here. The song is a shamelessly emotional entertainment vocal music piece, pretty similar to what Tony Bennett (whom I also appreciate) had recorded in the 50's and 60's. The big, deep voice and the beautiful orchestration work brilliantly together.

The B side track 'Always Coming Back to You' was taken from the Scott album and it was written by Scott Walker himself, credited on the label to S. Engel (Noel Scott Engel being his real name). If 'Joanna' showcases his incredible ability as a vocalist, this song is a good example of his impressive songwriting skills. Not as immediately charming as 'Joanna', but a fine and elegant song that gets better with repeated listenings. The orchestral arrangement is by Reg Guest.

P.S. My five stars totally ignore the rating guideline "Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music". On the contrary, I'm finding (guilty?) pleasure from reviewing great music that is not even remotely progressive rock.

Thanks to gordy for the artist addition.

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