My Record Collection 205

Scott Walker – famous in the Sixties as half of The Walker Brothers, who had a few hits with ballads.  Well, Scott is still writing and singing, but a million miles away from the Sixties.  In fact, very modern and almost unlistenable songs (where exactly is the melody?) – although the voice is still superb.  Only one album Tilt. Only one song I almost like ‘Farmer In The City’.

Joe Walsh – Famously joined the Eagles in late Seventies, and had one great hit solo before that ‘Life’s Been Good’.  He started off with a band, The James Gang in the early Seventies.  I have a best of James Gang and Joe Walsh – though, no big hit.  Not a bad record, but it doesn’t really grab me. 

WAR CHILD – 2 free Cds given away with The Independent.  Cd1 was more conventional songs by Coldplay, McCartney and a few others.  Best was ‘Vietnem’ by New Order.  Cd2 was more dance oriented and featured Massive Attack and Faithless as well as Magic Numbers and Starsailor.  Both highly enjoyable but hardly essentialClifford T.Ward – A truly gentle soul with the voice of an angel.  He was a teacher but played guitar and wrote songs and in the early Seventies tried to make it – which he did for a while.  With a faithful band of fans he released several albums and had a handful of hits before a progressive MS finally claimed him in 2001.  His debut Singer Songwriter came out in 1972.   A bit naïve and one feels he was a bit too tentative – still I particularly like ‘A Dream’, ‘Carrie’ and ‘Circus Girl’.   1973 saw probably his best album, the glorious Home Thought From Abroad – the centre-piece of which is the title song, a pean to his old girlfriend, which quotes from a poem by Robert Browning; it is a very poignant song.  But the lead-off song is his biggest hit single – the sumptuous ‘Gaye’.  There is barely a poor song here; my other favourites being ‘The Open University’, ‘Time, The Magician’ and ‘Where Would That Leave Me’.   The songs are timeless with gorgeous melodies and mostly orchestral arrangements; in some ways they are quite middle of the road but are saved from being mawkish by Clifford’s hauntingly beautiful voice.  A triumph.   Nearly as good was his third Mantle Pieces, also 1973.  Some delightful songs – the excellent single ‘Scullery’, the poignant Sylvia Plath inspired ‘Waving Not Drowning’ and the humorous but sad ‘To An Air Hostess’ among others.   Escalator followed in 1975, and included ‘Jigsaw Girl’, ‘We Could be Talking’ and ‘A Sad Affair’.  I did buy his next 4 albums on vinyl, but they are all quite expensive now, if available at all, on CD.  A pity, as I really loved them.  I do have a very late release Bittersweet (1999) when poor Clifford was by then unable to walk or talk or record.  Some nice alternate versions of some of his songs and the lovely ‘Jayne From Andromeda Spiral’.  A nice collection but for real fans only.  Best was a compilation Gaye and other Stories (1990) – a real best of.  Faves are all the early songs – but also ‘A  Minor’.  A lovely gentle man, a real inspiration to us all