on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2013 13 Jun

The Big Hurt hat ein großes Herz!

von: Bob T Bright Filed under: Blog | TB | 3 Comments



It’s a wonderful thing to get drunk on music – and particularly the music of Scott Walker. Since first hearing ‚Such a Small Love‘, when buying the Julian Cope compilation many years ago at the height of post punk (it’s funny how each epic period that we lived through seemed eternal at the time, but with retrospect lasted perhaps a few months!) I have loved almost everything I have heard of his (with the possible exception of ‚Stretch/We had it all‘) and find his most recent work to have surpassed even his earlier seminal solo work (recently re-released and remastered) in terms of its scope, artistic ambition – its  humour and literary playfulness/inventiveness. But despite Tilt/the Drift and Bish Bosch being just about as fine as it can get, I still love his earlier work and can’t believe that until today I had never actually heard ‚the big Hurt‘! So to sit in front of a roaring computer, listening to a wonderful ’new‘ Scott Walker song (well, he didn’t actually write it) that has already been freely available for years is akin to … well, is akin to finding a Scott Walker that you didn’t know about, when you perhaps could have done so simply by buying the album! The song has the typical ‚big‘ orchestration of that period and, again typically, has a prominent violin presence … but unlike, say, the sinister sustained string effect on ‚it’s Raining Today‘, here, the violin has a ludic/lunatic/Rabelasian quality – jumping around wildly all over the place – as if mocking the counterpart MOR orchestration that forms the backdrop to much of the rest of the song. It’s almost as though the violin part is channeling Scott’s psychic disquiet as he wears, but at the same time seeks to shake off, the mantle of conformity to the mainstream, which he had donned as a teenager and worn ever since with elan, sophistication  and youthful Schnodderigkeit. Interestingly, the violin part isn’t consistently wild and untrammeled, but (playing its part to perfection) intermittently bows to conformity and sounds at times almost as though it would feel at home in the ‚Stingray‘ outro (not in itself a bad thing!). And just when the strings have had enough of being ‚out there‘, the unrest spreads elsewhere to the trumpet … it seems that something has to give: the truth will out … But what holds all of this together and prevents it from fracturing completely, is the voice, which glides effortlessly from stanza to stanza (I think the word is more appropriate here than ‚verse‘) in what is perhaps the finest example of ‚gliding‘ that I can recall in a song, as it rises and descends through the pitches like a cool, ray-banned surfer … expressing on the surface, loss – of love and time, but also pointing towards some kind of recovery and growth; both in terms of the narrative of the song, but also an artistic and spiritual growth. If this is hurting, then who needs joy!

This entry was posted on Donnerstag, 13. Juni 2013 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    I got my Scott Walker box weeks ago. I knew his four solo albums (1,2,3,4) quite well, but not as good as I thought. So I followed your words, and with a bagle and a cup of green tea at hand, I sat down in my listening room, read the liner notes concerning „Scott 1“ where we encounter „The Big Hurt“ – and then I let the song flow over me. It puts a smile on my face realizing you do not really know the things you think you know. „Scott 3“ and „Scott 4“ are regarded as his masterpieces (of that era), but, obviously, you should never strictly accept the official canon (you would miss too much). „Scott 2“ and „Scott 1“ contain much more than Scott Walker walking in the footsteps of Jacques Brel.

  2. Bob T Bright:

    A bagle, green tea and Scott Walker sounds a great combination! The strange thing is that I only actually own Scott 4 and numerous compilations – which explains why I missed it … I love the energy of his Brel interpretations.

  3. Michael Engelbrecht:

    My favourite place for bagels, in Aachen:

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