The Walker Brothers

The Walker Brothers in Japan

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Although the Walker Brothers broke up in the spring of 1967, and although Scott Walker had already released his first solo album later that year, the group reunited at the beginning of 1968 to make a brief one-off tour of Japan. This double LP was recorded during shows at Osaka Festival Hall in January of 1968. The very things that make this live release an appealing collector's item, however, are the same ones that make it one of their less essential recorded documents. Although the sound is respectable, the audience enthusiastic, and the trio accompanied by a band with horns, the arrangements simply can't match the full orchestral production of their studio work. In addition, the material, perhaps in a nod to songs that worked better in a live setting, is heavy on soul and rock & roll covers rather than the dark and majestic ballads that were the group's (and particularly Scott Walker's) strongest suit. That does mean it contains quite a number of songs that never made it onto their official releases, including versions of Stevie Wonder's "Uptight," Bobby Parker's "Watch Your Step," Larry Williams' "Dizzy Miss Lizzy," the Beatles' "Yesterday," the Four Tops' "Reach Out (I'll Be There)," Ray Charles' "Tell Me How Do You Feel," Sam & Dave's "Hold On! I'm Comin'," Bobby "Blue" Bland's "Turn On Your Love Light," and Jessie Hill's "Ooh Poo Pah Doo." There are even renditions of "The Lady Came from Baltimore," the Tim Hardin composition that Scott Walker put on his first album; "Twinkie Lee," the Gary Walker solo single that made the Top Ten in Japan; and John Walker's small 1967 U.K. solo hit, "Annabella." There are also performances of their biggest hits (including "Make It Easy On Yourself" and "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore"), but not much in the way of their better obscure songs, other than "In My Room." It's actually sung with reasonable spirit, but it just sounds thin next to their proper records, making this more of a souvenir for curious fans than a significant addition to their discography. And those fans will certainly appreciate the illustrations on the dust jackets of the Bam Caruso LP, which feature reproductions of rare Japanese picture sleeves of releases by both the collective and individual Walker Brothers.

blue highlight denotes track pick