This fine collection compiles some of the many high points scaled by Scott Walker during an astonishing period of sustained and prolific brilliance in the late 1960s. The four solo albums he produced in this period (Scott, Scott 2, Scott 3, Scott 4) may not have been imaginatively titled, but they had few other deficiencies: they were the sound of Walker, still only in his mid-20s, struggling to escape the pop star persona he had created leading The Walker Brothers, and turn himself into a serious artist. His success in these endeavours may be measured in the list of artists who have subsequently drawn on these records. Though Walker always wore his own influences on his sleeve--notably Jacques Brel, whose songs he recorded enough of to fill another compilation album--he established the template for the poetically consumptive, heroically tragic, wilfully self-pitying loner since pursued by Bryan Ferry, Marc Almond, Cathal Coughlan, The Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon, The Blue Nile's Paul Buchanan and Tom Waits, among many others. Boychild is best thought of, as it is clearly intended, as a serviceable introduction to one of the most formidable bodies of work ever assembled in the name of pop.
By: Andrew Mueller