Monday, August 29, 2005

Facing The Night...

The Walker Brothers - After The Lights Go Out

Half cut on cheap whiskey, I've just hit on the realisation that there are really only two musical inevitables in my little corner of the universe. One is The Velvet Underground and the other, The Walker Brothers. For years these two bands and the solo work of Scott Walker, John Cale and Nico have provided me with all the templates, starting points, signposts and destinations that I need, whether it be bubblegum pop, folk, avant noise, free improvisation, vast arrangements, cavernous echo, drones, heartbreak, mystery, European ballads, Country, R'n'B riffs, deep, dark words, flippant jokes - sorry, got to break off now and cycle down to the Co-op for more alcohol. See you in a bit.

It's pay day, so I'm back with a bottle of Jameson to help the night along. Thanks for waiting.

I've heard 'After The Lights Go Out' a thousand times and only recently made the "Stand By Me" connection. Whether intentional or otherwise, there it is, right from the start. Bass, echoed percussion, opening lyrics about the approach of the darkness. But while Ben sings a song of optimism and undying devotion, Scott comes in with despair, loss, and a sense of grandiose, unreasonable and downright ridiculous wallowing in self pity which some one with a lesser voice - which is everybody - would be completely unable to carry off. But we're talking Scott here.

So what do we have? A fantastic arrangement full of harpsichords, strings and tympanis that is so great you wonder what was the point of the last few decades, and a lyric that winds up savage and lost - just check out that final verse.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the nights are drawing in. Charge your glasses with autumn and drink deep, drink deep.

Buy - The Walker Brothers - After the Lights Go Out: Best of 1965-1967
This is THE really great Walkers compilation - total bargain!! Buy it for everyone you know!! Buy it to give away to complete strangers!!
Visit - Montague Terrace (A Scott Fansite)


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