Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Scott Walker - Nearing the Full Circle

There are a few performers for whom I am a completist -- Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, Dinah Washington, Kurt Weill, Caetano Veloso, Velvet Underground, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Ennio Morricone, Brad Mehldau, Keith Jarrett, Erik Satie, David Bowie, Chico Buarque, Randy Crawford, Maria Callas, John Coltrane, Francoise Hardy, Tim Buckley, Nick Drake, Vashit Bunyan, Cass Elliott, The Beatles, Claude Debussy. Those I've been pretty intentional about having their full library.

Then there are some that it's sort of crept up on me how much of their stuff I have and it embarrasses me -- Pet Shop Boys, Diana Krall, Harry Connick, Jr. Ute Lemper, Steely Dan (yes, I know, and I don't have some deep-rooted straight guy vein daring to creep out). But I am not lying when I say that I don't listen to them very often, though I do still have a weak spot for several tunes on
Aja and most of Gaucho. At least I can still claim to be living in a home completely free of Madonna, Whitney, Justin, Celine, Britney, Mariah, et. al. I don't see that changing anytime soon.

This past fall's release of Scott Walker's
The Drift encouraged me to try filling in the gaps. I've been intentional of not doing it all at once, though I've yet to find too much of Scott gets on my nerves. I especially love putting him on random play, so the stuff from 1967 and 1977 has The Drift wedged right in between. Trying to explain the evolution of Scott is really hard to explain without putting a diversity of his tunes or imagine Phil Spector producing Jack Jones singing the tunes of John Cage and you start getting an image of him. And, at the same time, he can sound like he's singing the work of any three of those artists without an ounce of influence from the others.

Today has been an overcast, pleasantly cool February day that was just right for the mood I've been in that called for just a little more Scott Walker in my life. Besides being matinee idol-modster appearing much of his life, he had a Valley of the Dolls-Imitation of Life theme song voice that you could see aunt Agnes and uncle Walter enjoying over martinees in a cocktail lounge that rotating as they peered out on the glittering new frontier. Then, just as the lyrics talk about how his heart wil break, he goes through a break down as the music does the same, his velvet baritone never completely breaking. And he's also sung about getting slapped on the ass like a queer on Next. How can you not love this guy!

So imagine my delight when I walked into the Virgin Megastore this evening to discover a two disc German import marked at $25.98 only to have it marked down to $6.98. Six-ninety-eight, I said to myself as I walked to the door, sure the buzzer would go off alerting the manager of a clerk's error. Heading up Stockton, I pulled out the receipt, and sure enough there it was on the receipt -- an actual bargain at the Virgin Megastore. There is a god afterall. Now I have Soctt singing the theme songs from movies that include The Sterile Cuckoo, The Fox and Mary Queen of Scots. The last one has to be the best, something called. This Way, Mary. Now I just have to wait for the screening of 30th Century Man once it makes it across the big pond.

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