The Walker Brothers

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by Richie Unterberger

The Walker Brothers' third and final album of the 1960s was as wildly uneven as their other pair. Affecting pop/rock ballads and operatic crooner vehicles were interspersed with absolutely inappropriate up-tempo blue-eyed soul (always a weak point for the group) and rock covers; the lugubrious reading of "Blueberry Hill" could be the worst track cut by the trio in the '60s. However, Scott Walker's songwriting and singing exhibited a growth that foreshadowed some of the more ambitious aspects of his early solo albums. The almost classical-sounding "Orpheus" was a standout in this arena, and his "Genevieve" was a fine ballad reflecting the encroaching influence of Jacques Brel. "Experience" was a real oddity, with a German oom-pah-like arrangement backing Scott's exhortation "here's to the people who live in a shell"; he also digs into Michel Legrand's "Once Upon a Summertime" and "I Will Wait for You." The gentle John Walker-written and -sung "I Can't Let It Happen to You" is one of the Walker Brothers' best songs, and undoubtedly the best thing John Walker contributed to their records. The CD reissue adds the four tracks from their 1967 singles, including their covers of "Stay With Me Baby" and "Walking in the Rain," and a good overlooked Scott Walker-penned B-side, "Turn Out the Moon."

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