It's 2018 and I mean to start it off in the most weird and wonderful way possible, courtesy of a 75th birthday tribute to a legendary figure.
All you Plastic Palace Peoples and Boychildren, today is your lucky day, for we begin the new year with a tribute to the iconic and iconoclastic Scott Walker.
Surely the architect of one of, if not the most unusual career trajectories in the annals of modern music, if you don't know Scott then 1) I feel sorry for you and 2) his music occupies the space somewhere between Jacques Brel, Andy Williams and Nick Drake.
There's really no describing him, so let's stick to the acknowledged facts. He began in the mid-1960s as part of a group, then split off from them to make some of the most evocative and bizarre music of the era, and then he rejoined them... except their later music was more redolent of his inspired madness than their previous poppy sounds ever were.
After he quit them again, he became even more out there and made records and film scores that made his previous, ultra-challenging material seem quaint and accessible by comparison.
He's been doing it for over 50 years on entirely his own terms and has gotten better and better, which as we know is not often the norm for the aging musos of yesterday's life. His solo records of the late 1960s are still utterly revered by millions, and likely will always be because they are just that one-of-a-kind ingenious.
He made some truly strange covers albums in the early 1970s that have never -- and, if he has his way, will never -- be reissued digitally... but for me I've always found the records that artists have disowned to be among their most rewarding. I think of the Tim Maia Racional series, for example; when homeboy starts burning the master tapes, it's time to seek out those LPs immediately.
So.... what have we here, then? Why, it's those very same three deleted LPs, transferred so beautifully from pristine vinyl you'd almost never know they were not real reissues. I told you things were gonna get weird.
Scott Walker Sings Songs from His TV Series (1969)
01 Will You Still Be Mine
02 I Have Dreamed
03 When the World Was Young
04 Who (Will Take My Place)
05 If She Walked Into My Life
06 The Impossible Dream
07 The Song Is You
08 The Look of Love
09 Country Girl
10 Someone to Light Up My Life
11 Only the Young
12 Lost In the Stars
13 Joanna (bonus)
14 Lights of Cincinnati (bonus)
15 I Will Wait for You (bonus)
Total time: 48:07
The Moviegoer (1972)
01 This Way Mary (Theme from "Mary, Queen of Scots")
02 Speak Softly Love (Theme from "The Godfather")
03 Glory Road (Theme from "W.U.S.A.")
04 That Night (Theme from "The Fox")
05 The Summer Knows (Theme from "Summer of '42")
06 The Ballad of Sacco and Vanzetti (Theme from "Sacco e Vanzetti")
07 A Face in the Crowd (Theme from "Le Mans")
08 Joe Hill (Theme from "The Ballad of Joe Hill")
09 Loss of Love (Theme from "Sunflower")
10 All His Children (Theme from "Never Give an Inch")
11 Come Saturday Morning (Theme from "Pookie")
12 Easy Come, Easy Go (Theme from "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?")
Total time: 38:52
Any Day Now (1973)
01 Any Day Now
02 All My Love's Laughter
03 Do I Love You
04 Maria Bethania
06 When You Get Right Down To It
08 Ain't No Sunshine
09 The Me I Never Knew
10 If Ships Were Made To Sail
11 We Could Be Flying
Total time: 38:29
3 deleted LPs transferred from original vinyl at 24/96 and turned to 16/44 for you
all 3 LPs zipped together
630 MB FLAC/January 2018 archive link
Just because I am emphasizing unsolicited kindness in the new year, I have also placed cloudward another little nugget for everyone brave/stupid enough to read this shit all the way to its (yes it's merciful) conclusion.
Back when Scott was in between record deals at the turn of the 1970s to the 1980s, The Teardrop Explodes' Julian Cope made a fantastic 12-track compilation of SW's first few solo records, with the understated, austere title of Fire Escape In the Sky: The Godlike Genius of Scott Walker.
This was issued on vinyl in 1981 and renewed interest in his stuff enough to help relaunch his solo career, but it's as of yet never made it to CD... so I reconstructed it from the reissues of his albums and remastered it a bit to get it all sounding like it hangs together sonically.
Anyway you read this nonsensical screed to this point, so go get it because it's really great... it can be located in FLAC right here.
Do enjoy these albums, completely ridiculous as they are and with thoroughly over-the-top orchestrations designed to saturate the soul and melt the mind. I shall return soonly with more cream for your coffee, in just a little while. And of course a very awesome birthday wish to Scott Walker, born this day in 1943 and still making crazy, vital music after all these years.--J.