25 August 2011

Gary Walker - You Don't Love Me

Label: CBS
Year of Release: 1966

So then - Left and to the Back - it's a blog focussed on flops and obscurities, isn't it?

Yes, it is. We're there first with that essential oddity every time, and you know it!

So why have you included this one, then? A minor hit in 1966, I believe.

Well, we occasionally...

And don't use the "One Hit Wonder" excuse. Gary Walker wasn't really a One Hit Wonder, was he?

No, he had two minor hits. This got to number 26 in 1966, as did "Twinkie Lee" in the same year, and he had more hits than I could count in Britain with the Walker Brothers, who as we all know released one of the most played and purchased records of the period in "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore"...

Yes, yes, yes, I knew all that. So what is he doing on here, then?

I don't really have a good reason, other than that it's an absolutely cracking record. The fuzz guitar on this, and the aggression behind the vocals, actually make it one of the more striking sounds of the period. It's safe to say that Gary Walker was also an unlikely source for something of this nature - popular though The Walker Brothers were, they weren't exactly a credible band outside of mainstream circles.

But still, I refer you back to the purpose of the "Left and to the Back" blog.

It was a minor hit, it's true, but that didn't put the "Chocolate Soup for Diabetics" series of albums from compiling it along side all manner of flop artistes. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me.

So if the compilers of "Chocolate Soup for Diabetics" joined The Taliban, you'd do it too, would you?

Well, there's no need for that!

Sorry. But you take my point. And why have you written this blog entry in the style of The Guardian's "Pass Notes", a much-aped journalistic cliche which already seemed tired by 2001?

Well, as a retro-leaning blog, I felt it was time to revisit the format of Pass Notes, and see if it had any life left in it...

Stop making excuses. You're bereft of inspiration aren't you, you pathetic man?

I am not!

I put it to you that you've had this record for some time now, and just can't think of anything interesting to say about Gary Walker's career.

That's slander! I'll have you know that The Walker Brothers are, in my opinion, one of the era's more under-rated groups amongst snobs/ aficionados. "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" is of course a classic, but beyond that there were even gems tucked away on B-sides like "Arcangel", which utilised a church organ way before "A White Shade of Pale" had even been thought of - a radical move some have been tempted to suggest inspired Procul Harum. For all that, though, Gary Walker's talents were never given much exercise within the unit - largely due to some perverse contractual obligations preventing him from contributing much - and some of his solo material and group material with The Rain shows an artist who was actually rather more hip and swinging than the times gave him credit for. A lot of his non-Brother related output, and most especially this single, still stands up very well today in a mod pop vein, and deserves a lot more attention. His work may be terribly overshadowed by Scott Walker's monumental achievements with the classic albums Scotts 1-4, but there's plenty to appreciate, even if it doesn't cover the same cinematic, melodramatic ground.

Oh. Well, why didn't you say all that in the first place?

Bloody hell...

You're never going to write an entry in this style again, are you?

I doubt it very much, mate.

(And after all that, I'm afraid that this song is now legally available to buy on iTunes, so I've taken down the mp3s and will instead direct you all there. Sorry!)

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