The loss of Scott Walker is about as monumental for many as was the loss of, say, David Bowie or Mark Hollis. Though I had known about his pop music (including the reinterpretation of Jacques Brel’s hit, Le Chanson de Jacky), this song was a revelation. It was so far removed from pop music that I figured it sounded more like a combination of cabaret music done by experimental or apocalyptic folk musicians. It was a brilliant career pivot, and he ended up working with some really intriguing characters until his passing yesterday.
The last paragraph shows how devolved society has become if you can’t play a wonderful song by one of the most intriguing artists of his generation. So be it. Still, much respect to Ben Zimmer for the read of the day – commenting on the rendering of “stupid-ass,” which seems so non-offensive now, but which must have caused headaches for the censors back in the day.
With the passing of Scott Walker, who found pop-music fame as a member of the Walker Brothers before setting out on an inimitable solo career, the singer’s best-known work has been making the rounds online. One particularly memorable song from Walker was his first solo single, “Jackie,” released in December 1967. “Jackie” was an English-language rendering of Jacque Brel’s “La chanson de Jacky,” translated from French by Mort Shuman (a Brill Building songwriter who would go on to co-create the musical revue Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris). Both the French and English lyrics were quite racy for the time. The English chorus, as unforgettably delivered by Walker, goes:
If I could be for only an hour
If I could be for an hour every day
If I could be for just one little hour
A-cute-cute in a stupid-ass way
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A perfect Christmas tune with Nat ‘King’ Cole.
As I prepare to spend Christmas alone in Beijing, it’s nice to be able to enjoy the dulcet sounds of the King of the Cameo, Robert Goulet.
Editorial Municipal de Rosario is a record label out of Rosario, Argentina, which normally focuses on classical music. After digging into their catalog, I noticed that they’re not limited to that genre alone.
This album features the warm voice of Ethel Koffman, a fellow Argentine whose voice lilts in a way that would fit well with Bossa Nova music.
It’s not often that I run into some charming music out of Afghanistan. Sahar Sahra is one of the country’s biggest stars currently.