Friday Song: Scott Walker

The hipster’s ur-hipster of fringe songwriters is probably Scott Walker nee Noel Scott Engel — not to be confused at all with Wisconsin’s present GOP embarrassment — the American expat who found huge success as The Walker Brothers in England with a slew of hits that rarely receive radio play these days. He soon branched out on his own as a unique tune interpreter/writer, covering works by Jacque Brel, and whose sound I can only liken to a 60’s combination of Sinatra and Morrissey, utilizing wry lyrics and bombastic orchestrations. He was the secret influence on folks like David Bowie, Brian Eno, David Sylvian, Radiohead, Johnny Marr and his cult career was but a hidden footnote to those in the know; I never heard of him until one warm fall midnight in Austin, Texas, circa 1999, listening to KUT, when the epic, bubbling melody of “Plastic Palace People” filled the room and my head. I was immediately hooked and soon devoured his limited output of records with his amazing trio of late 60’s records simply titled, “Scott,” “Scott 2” and “Scott 3.” He fought fame and his own demons, until his resurgence in the late 20th century with a 2005 documentary (30TH CENTURY MAN), tracks in THE AQUATIC LIFE and even a new song for the Bond film, THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH. For this wet, gray Friday, I thought it apropos to pick a lovely live version of “It’s Raining Today,” one of my favorites from “Scott 3.” This version has a nice intro which gives you some insight into the mystery man and his magical music…

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