Scott Walker’s revered Scott 4 album will be reissued as a half-speed remaster by UMC/Mercury/USM on 20 September. Like Dusty Springfield’s Dusty In Memphis, to be released on the same date, it has undergone the high audio definition remastering treatment at London’s Abbey Road Studios.
The reissue affords a new opportunity to appreciate one of the finest works of the American-born stylist, who died at the age of 76 in March. After his departure from chart regulars and pop pinups the Walker Brothers, Walker had enjoyed huge success with his first four solo releases (Scott, Scott 2 and Scott 3, plus a Songs From His TV Series set).
The avant-garde Scott 4 failed to make any chart impression, perhaps also in part because Walker released it under his birth name of Scott Engel. It was deleted soon after release, but has gone on to be hailed as a huge influence by artists including David Bowie, Jarvis Cocker and Marc Almond.
Scott 4 was the first of his albums to feature entirely original material, and includes such memorable compositions as ‘The Seventh Seal,’ informed by Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 film of the same name. ‘The Old Man’s Back Again (Dedicated to the Neo-Stalinist Regime)’ was in reference to the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia that had taken place in 1968, the year before the LP’s recording.
In a 2012 career overview for The New Yorker, Sasha Frere-Jones contextualised the singer-writer’s artistic motivation by writing: “To conceive of Walker simply as someone who moved from pop to art is to hear only one channel of a stereo narrative: the paired signal is that Walker has always been idiosyncratic, and favoured extremes from the start.”
Scott 4 is reissued as a high-speed remaster on 20 September. Scroll down for the track listing, and pre-order it here.
The Seventh Seal
On Your Own Again
The World’s Strongest Man
Angels Of Ashes
Hero Of The War
The Old Man’s Back Again (Dedicated To The Neo-Stalinist Regime)
Get Behind Me
Rhymes Of Goodbye