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Date: 20/03/11

Scott Walker - "Jackie" (1967)

A day behind with this because I spent last night doing some behind-the-scenes work on the site, but whatever...

When The Walker Brothers broke up, each of them (none of whom was related to any of the others, and none of whom was called Walker anyway) embarked on solo careers. It was inevitable that the charismatic, mysterious frontman (born Noel Scott Engel) would have the greatest success.

Abandoning the rather dated and staid pop which had typified the latter part of the group's career, Scott Engel combined recordings of his own songs (some of which had a very dark texture and subject matter) with songs by Jacques Brel with English lyrics provided by Mort Shuman.

This is perhaps the most lively of these (although it wasn't his biggest hit). I first heard it in 1978 when I borrowed one of those multi-LP box sets which record clubs sold via mail order, and was blown away by the bravura vocal performance, the rather louche subject matter, and the driving orchestral arrangement by Wally Stott (later Angela Morley). It's still a big favourite.

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Afterword: I did check out Brel's original, but I found that - perhaps because I don't understand French very well - it sounded to me like the sort of parody of chanson that Barry Took and Marty Feldman used to write for Kenneth Williams back in those days. Aren't I a philistine?