Ain’t they just dreamy??
Listen – The Walker Brothers – Hurting Each Other – MP3
I hope all is well on your end, and that the end of the week sees you ready for some musical melodrama.
I say melodrama, because the mighty Scott Walker was constitutionally unable to deliver ANY lyric, be it ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore’, or page 432 of the Los Angeles telephone book without it.
Sadly, though Scott himself has enjoyed something of a cultish renaissance thanks to hipster reappraisal of his post-Walkers solo albums (which were duds over here but HUGE in the UK), the Walker Brothers themselves are largely remembered only for the aforementioned ‘Sun…’ and ‘Make It Easy On Yourself.
As a connoisseur of both phases of his career, I can assure you that although the Walkers were rarely as deep as Scott’s solo stuff (he wasn’t free to indulge in his Jacques Brel-mania) they did have many moments of genius, the vast majority of which were due in large part to Scott’s monumental baritone.
Many moons ago, when I was still free to roam the record shows of New Jersey scooping up OG Scott and Walkers vinyl at prices that would now be considered chicken feed I made pretty quick business of a general form of completism (with one or two marked exceptions). A small part of this was the Walkers’ UK LP ‘Portrait’.
The day I bought this record, I got it home, popped it onto the playing deck of the stereophonomachine and about 20 minutes into the record I hear something strangely familiar, a sensation that was prelude to my mind being good and blown. There, in the middle of side one was the Walker Brothers singing a song that I had known for years, as sung by…wait for it…here it comes…are you sure you’re ready???….The Carpenters.
It was one of those moments, that any music nut with a sizable enough record collection will experience frequently, in which you discover that a song you have long associated with an artist was not in fact the original version.
As it turns out, the Walkers weren’t the first to record Gary Geld and Peter Udell’s ‘Hurting Each Other’. They were preceded by both Jimmy Clanton (?!?) and Chad Allen and the Expressions, and though I have yet to hear either of those versions, I’m pretty sure neither of them could possibly match the Walkers, on account of Scott Walker was verily MADE to deliver this tune.
Scott Walker’s voice – one of the really great ones – pours out over the lyrics like so much melted butter – starting slow and building in emotion (and volume), which any Walkers fan will tell you was something of a trademark in their catalog. The really groovy thing in this particular instance, is that the bittersweet melody and the forlorn lyrics seem as if they were tailor made for the group (which obviously they were not).
The arrangement by Reg Guest is killer, taking the Spectorian majesty of records like ‘After the Lights Go Out’ and layering a lush, super-charged version of easy listening strings over it, all paling (and rightfully so) when juxtaposed with Scott’s voice.
It’s a killer, late period track for the Walkers, and a taste of what Scott would do on his own little more than a year later.
I hope you dig it, and that you all have an excellent weekend.