6/2/15 – Scott Walker – Scott / Montague Terrace -1967

Scott Scott Walker Album CoverAlthough Scott Walker wrote songs in his own right, he paid a lot of attention to the songs that inspired him as written by other artists. Consequently he became known as a great interpreter of  poignant songs of love as well as poetic and/or gritty classics.

Traditionally, from the first Walker Brothers albums up to Scott 4, Scott Walker wrote an average of two or three songs per album either by himself or as co-writes often with producer John Franz. (On The Walker Brothers debut album, it was just one song co-written with British singer/songwriter Lesley Duncan). The Walker Brothers released three albums in the UK in the Sixties, Take It Easy With The Walker Brothers (1965) No.3 in the UK, Portarait (1966) No.3 in the UK and Images (1967)  No.6 in the UK. There were different releases in the US, none of which charted.

By 1969 Scott Walker had released five solo albums, Scott (1967) No.3 in the UK, Scott 2 (1968) No.1 in the UK, Scott 3 (1969) No.3 in the UK and Scott Walker Sings Songs From His TV Series (1969) No.7 in the UK. Finally his third release in that year was Scott 4 (1969). This was his first album of all original songs, releasing it under his real name Noel Scott Engel instead of Scott Walker –  it was a commercial failure and didn’t chart. Perhaps the idea of associating an album of his own songs with his real name made sense to him, but not to the public. The album was soon deleted and any reissues have been released under his stage name, Scott Walker.

Despite this set back Scott Walker’s talent as a songwriter is without question. Montague Terrace (In Blue) was a song he wrote himself that appeared on his first solo album, Scott in 1967. It was a highlight on an album that also featured songs by Tim Hardin (Lady Came From Baltimore) Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann (Angelica) and classic Brel songs recently translated from the original French by Mort Shuman (My Death and Amsterdam) as well as album opener Mathilde co-written by Brel with pianist and collaborator Gérard Jouannest. Other writers included, Robert Wells and Jack Segal’s When Johanna Loved Me. Film composers, Mack Gordon and Alfred Newman’s Through A Long and Sleepless Night and Andre and Dory Previn’s You’re Gonna Hear From Me, alongside three Walker originals including Montague Tearrace (In Blue), Such A Small Love and Always Coming Back To You.

It’s an album that showcases his skills as a singer and a songwriter and demonstrates his quest for a powerful lyric over a dynamic arrangement. He maintains such a high standard, writing his own songs but also choosing songs from the  deep well of the world’s greatest songwriters both contemporary and from other eras. Scott is a stirring, passionate masterpiece featuring iconic conductor/arrangers Wally Stott, Reg Guest and Peter Knight and engineered by Peter Olliff. The album is a haunting sonic adventure, lyrical brain food and one of a series of Walker’s inspiring Sixties works. If you don’t own it you don’t yet have a record collection.

Monatgue Terrace (In Blue)

The little clock’s stopped ticking now
We’re swallowed in the stomached rue/room
The only sound to tear the night
Comes from the man upstairs

His bloated belching figure stomps
He may crash through the ceiling soon
The window sees trees cry from cold
And claw the moon

But we know don’t we
And we’ll dream won’t we
Of Montague Terrace in blue

The girl across the hall makes love
Her thoughts lay cold like shattered stone
Her thighs are full of tales to tell
Of all the nights she’s known

Your eyes ignite like cold blue fire
The scent of secrets everywhere
A fist filled with illusions
Clutches all our cares

But we know don’t we
And we’ll dream won’t we
Of Montague Terrace in blue oh in blue



A note from You Tube on the video”

…”archival footage of the devastation on Market Street soon after the great San Francisco earthquake of 1907.”