The Walker Brothers

The Collection

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This mid-priced Walker Brothers collection from England is one of the bigger bargains that one can find in their catalog, offering 18 songs by the group, Scott Walker, and John Walker, all in nearly the latest remasterings and with some decent annotation as well, courtesy of Mark Brennan. The material isn't in strict chronological order, jumping freely across the years 1965-1969, from the trio's roaring "Land of 1,000 Dances" and their larger-than-life productions of "Love Her" and "Here Comes the Night" up through Scott Walker's "Lights of Cincinnati." The range of material is bracing, from their lush, enveloping cover of "Stand By Me" to pop/rock ballads like "Annabella" (by John Walker). The biggest surprise is how well the trio does with Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready" -- there are some songs that, in one's heart, feel like they ought to be off-limits to white singers (Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" being the classic example), and it takes an astoundingly great and sincere performance to break that barrier; Southside Johnny's stage vamp on the Cooke song is one exception that proves the rule, and the Walker Brothers on the Mayfield song is another exception. "Lights of Cincinnati" is co-authored by British songwriting legend Tony Macaulay, but it sounds like a lost Jimmy Webb song and production, with Scott Walker coming down somewhere between Richard Harris and Glen Campbell in the interpretation department.

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