Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

9. Scott WalkerScott 4

I first listened to Scott 4 when it was released on CD [in 1992] but I’d heard Scott Walker in The Walker Brothers many years earlier as my mum had Images and Portrait. I loved his voice but I kind of forgot about it until the No Regrets compilation came out. It was like a Proustian rush with all these songs I remembered from my childhood, so I reinvestigated. Scott 4 has been talked about a lot and I know it’s one of the records on this list that’s considered a classic but it’s too important to me to not include. It’s such a unique sounding record from a man who always had a pretty unique vision but I think he totally realised it on this. It has all the trimmings of what might be considered easy listening and you could stick it on in a fucking wine bar and it would blend in with The Carpenters or Jimmy Webb. But there’s a sadness in there and the subject matter is so dark; it deals with death, decay and failure. And then there’s ‘The Old Man’s Back Again’, which has an amazing bass line that he plays himself. It’s like jazz! The Bluetones always wanted to cover that song but we could never get it sounding right. So we just did ‘I Can’t Explain’ instead.

There’s such ambition to Scott 4 but at its core there’s something very spare about the songs and they’re quite simple when you break them down. It’s something I try to do with my own songwriting and when I go into the studio I just blam them down on acoustic guitar and then add the bits and bobs over the top.

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: Hannah Peel, Blanck Mass, Johnny Dean of Menswear, Simon Raymonde
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