24.2.10

SCOTT WALKER : Any Day Now & Stretch (1973)

Any Day Now
Stretch
As promised, two more neglected LPs from the Scott Walker canon. I won't dwell on them for too long, they've not been ignored without good reason after all, but it goes without saying that, if you're a Scott fan, you must hear them.

Stretch, released on CBS in 1973, is my personal favourite of the two. It's actually listenable throughout (if you're not chronically averse to frequent lashings of easy listening schmaltz that is) & only Jimmy Webb's cringe-worthy, though well-intentioned, "Where Does Brown Begin?" sets the gag-0-meter hurtling into the red. A handful of Stretch's songs are actually so good that I'm confused as to how they've managed to remain a secret for so long - at least one of them, the astonishing "Someone Who Cared", could almost be a Scott 3 outtake. Based around a maudlin lyric, beautiful orchestration & a magnificent vocal, it's one of the finest things Scott recorded during his wilderness period & deserves to be welcomed back in from the cold immediately.

Any Day Now, from 1973 again & his final Philips release, scrapes the bottom of the barrel a little more noticeably but, once again, is just about tolerable if you're in love with that voice. Promisingly, Johnny Franz is still on board as producer & Peter Knight conducts & arranges, though even they can't rescue c'n'w schlock like "All My Love's Daughter", while "Maria Berthania" sounds like something Roy North might've knocked out on Get It Together (a Godawful English kids' show that, thankfully, has been unceremoniously wiped from the public consciousness - Mr. Roy would have been better off sticking with Basil Brush I think?). However, tracks like "When You Get Right Down To It" & "If Ships Were Made To Sail" are better than anything The Walker Brothers recorded during their brief 70s regrouping, & Scott's gentle take on Bread's "If", a song most folk still recall (reluctantly) from Telly Savalas's unavoidable no.1 1975 megahit, is invested with yearning vulnerability rather than Kojak's semi-traumatic post-coital sleaze. I'd be daft to say it compares with Scott's interpretations of Brel but I am so I will.

Any Day Now has never been reissued & remains Scott's rarest album. Stretch briefly reappeared on CD in 1997 as a 2-fer with his other Columbia LP, 1974's We Had It All, which I'll share here shortly...

Any Day Now / Stretch

10 comments:

  1. thank you. there's just too little from his, isn't it.
    i think i have read it somewhere that Any Day Now, or maybe all of Scott's LPs from that period, were released on CD in Japan but went deleted shortly afterwards, as he didn't want to see them reissued any more.

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  2. Yeah, that's what I heard too. I don't blame Scott for disowning this stuff but it's a shame it's not more widely available... x

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  3. they're not bad albums, are they. sure they got their moments.
    funnily, when i first got into music hunting over the 'net, it was 2003, i used a p2p service called WinMX (had no idea about Soulseek) and, after muuuuch searching, i only managed to find two songs from Scott Walker, those cherished findings being the well-known "Nite Flights" and very rare "Maria Bethania".
    i have added your blog to my list on http://panmietek.blogspot.com/
    take a look if you care,
    cheers from Poland

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  4. Exactly. With a little care, somebody could compile a fine album from the stuff Scott recorded while he was hiding out in the "wilderness".

    I've still never used Soulseek, is it still worth a look?

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  5. dunno. i haven't used it since i switched to a new pc 2 years ago. it got my 'net connection clogging and choking.

    and bear wiv me, i got somewhere on my disc a version of "We Could Be Flying" from a tv show - a video file, once available on youtube (not any more). i'll upload it somewhere, totally different version from the lp - with guitars and rocking.

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  6. ...I think I know the clip you mean, doesn't it end with Scott briefly flying (badly superimposed) over central London with a bunch of odd looking 70s dancers in tow?

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  7. yep, exactly the same. here it is as an mp4 video file:
    http://www.mirrorcreator.com/files/0UQ8BYFV/scott_walker_-_we_could_be_flying.mp4_links
    which you can save on your hard disk rather than watch on a website. and it's a very small file, 7 or 8 Mbytes. the song is smashing!

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  8. Haha, I haven't seen this for ages (I wonder why it disappeared off of Youtube, another clip from the same show is still up)? It's good to know that Scott managed to maintain a sense of humour during his years out in the cold though, eh? I wonder how much stuff like this is still hanging around in the archives...?

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  9. Anonymous18.4.11

    Thanks for Stretch.. Having had the 1st 4 for many years I recently Dl'd 'Till The Band Comes In which I feared was going to be awful but I was pleasantly surprised so here's hoping for this one..

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  10. 'Til The Band Comes In is definitely a grower, there's a handful of GREAT songs on there... These 70s LPs are nowhere near as interesting, though you could probably cobble together 1 decent album out of the 4 of 'em - The Moviegoer is on here too somewhere, & I'll upload We Had It All as you've reminded me...

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