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