Laura Nyro vs. Scott Walker

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Which?

Nyro
26
60%
Walker
17
40%
 
Total votes: 43

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Count Machuki
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Re: Laura Nyro vs. Scott Walker

Postby Count Machuki » 12 Jun 2013, 06:56

The Homosexual Lobby wrote:
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Oh, now you done did it: link :|

Anyway, I've got two Laura Nyro records, freshly harvested from the dollar bin ready for listening this weekend. I'll report back. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed a comp of hers I found a while ago, something like The Early Songs (?).
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Re: Laura Nyro vs. Scott Walker

Postby Thesiger » 12 Jun 2013, 08:48

sloopjohnc wrote:The Brits love Scott Walker.


Many of us can't see any merit in the guy.
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Re: Laura Nyro vs. Scott Walker

Postby Toby » 12 Jun 2013, 08:54

I can appreciate why people don't like Scott Walker - but personally I love him and IV is a personal favourite.

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Re: Laura Nyro vs. Scott Walker

Postby slightbreeze » 12 Jun 2013, 08:55

Laura Nyro, along with Judee Sill, is one of the most underrated artists of all time. Passion in her voice, superbly crafted songs, many with a dark underbelly. Not a great pianist, though. Scott? Overwraught, overthetop and over here ;)

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Re: Laura Nyro vs. Scott Walker

Postby Jeemo » 12 Jun 2013, 09:08

Thesiger wrote:
sloopjohnc wrote:The Brits love Scott Walker.


Many of us can't see any merit in the guy.


And many of us wouldn't know a Nyro classic if it hit us in the face.
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Re: Laura Nyro vs. Scott Walker

Postby Nick » 12 Jun 2013, 09:22

Jeemo wrote:And many of us wouldn't know a Nyro classic if it hit us in the face.


I've got a two-disc comp of Nyro, Stoned Soul Picnic, that someone on here kindly sent me about a decade ago.

Periodically I give it a spin to see if anything's changed, but so far every time I've got about halfway through it and taken it off in deep disappointment. To me she's like Rufus Wainwright - you read her cheerleaders going on about how great her songwriting is, and you get all excited about hearing her, and then you put the music on... and ho hum.

By contrast, Scott's music is about as far from ho hum as art gets.
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Re: Laura Nyro vs. Scott Walker

Postby mantochanga » 12 Jun 2013, 10:18

I really love both artists.

But let's be honest, in both cases there's a bit of a readjustment you have to make when you first hear them.

Scott - it's just easy listening!
Nyro - it's Ethel Merman on crystal meth!

At the core of each of their catalogues is a truly unique album - Scott 4 and Eli and the Thirteenth Confession. Two of the greatest records I have ever heard. Of these two, the Laura Nyro one edges it (it's also one of Peter Buck's top 5 with Forever Changes and Sister Lovers and two that I can't recall).

Only on BCB would we have a snarky row about stuff as life affirmingly beautiful as this! Which I suppose is why I like it here.
Last edited by mantochanga on 12 Jun 2013, 19:23, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Laura Nyro vs. Scott Walker

Postby Goat Boy » 12 Jun 2013, 12:25

Dizzley tha Fat Boy wrote:Lets just stick to the first bad assertion on this thread before adding any new ones, okay John?

First off - on the claim that Walker is the more original artist...that's just wrong on every level. This is a site that fellates the likes of Kraftwerk for being innovative, yet somehow Laura Nyro's influence on music is news here? G likened her songs to show tunes, but show me all of the show tunes before her that she sounded like. I guarantee you that you'll find a lot more after her records came out. Meanwhile the list of artists who have acknowledged her influence includes the likes of Elton John, Joni Mitchell (who never admits to being influenced by anyone not black and 20 years older), Todd Rundgren, Elvis Costello, Rickie Lee Jones and Steely Dan.

While influence and originality are not the same thing, it should be noted that Nyro was redefining the whole concept of the singer-songwriter when Walker was peddling stiff Brel covers.

As for who is the better songwriter - there is no doubt whose songs have made the bigger impact. In her short career Nyro wrote classic after classic - and completely innovated song structure in the process. Walker wrote a few nice little existential dirges.

I'm less bothered by the issues you guys have with her performing style, but since she's up against one of the most mannered performers of the rock era here, hard to see that as a point in Walkers favor.

Frankly...I can't think of a category beyond longevity where he compares favorably to Nyro.


When he's right, he's right.

To suggest Walker is a better songwriter is so laughable it's actually kind of sad. Most of his magic, and I say this as a fan, comes from his voice and the orchestrations. He's miles behind Laura. Fucking miles. And to call her hammy? Walker is a hammy as they come. Fuck me.

And don't get me started on those records where he goes all Mulligan and O'Hare and starts banging a pork chop off a radiator.

I may write more when I have the time but if you can track it down it's well worth reading Ian MacDonalds piece on Laura that appeared in Uncut years ago. I think it's in that People Music book.
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Re: Laura Nyro vs. Scott Walker

Postby Nick » 12 Jun 2013, 12:36

Goat Boy wrote: Meanwhile the list of artists who have acknowledged her influence includes the likes of Elton John, Joni Mitchell (who never admits to being influenced by anyone not black and 20 years older), Todd Rundgren, Elvis Costello, Rickie Lee Jones and Steely Dan.


And the list of artists citing Scott Walker as an obvious major influence would include (amongst others) David Bowie, Brian Eno, Bryan Ferry, Diamanda Galas, Marc Almond, Pulp, David Sylvian, Billy McKenzie and Radiohead.
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Re: Laura Nyro vs. Scott Walker

Postby Nick » 12 Jun 2013, 12:43

Goat Boy wrote:To suggest Walker is a better songwriter is so laughable it's actually kind of sad. Most of his magic, and I say this as a fan, comes from his voice and the orchestrations. He's miles behind Laura. Fucking miles. And to call her hammy? Walker is a hammy as they come. Fuck me.


You don't rate Scott as a lyricist???

Also, I think hammy is the wrong word, and does him a disservice. In his solo work he's influenced by and working within a very different tradition to Laura Nyro.

As an artist he's far more part of the European culture of performers and writers, not the American one of singer songwriters. He's in the line of chanson and Brechtian cabaret performance. I think you also have to take into account the huge influence on him of European cinema and art.

You could just as well level the charge of hamminess at Edith Piaf, Serge Gainsbourg, Jacques Brel, Nina Simone, Alex Harvey, Bryan Ferry, and Bowie as well, and it would be equally misplaced.
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Re: Laura Nyro vs. Scott Walker

Postby The Modernist » 12 Jun 2013, 12:50

Goat Boy wrote:
When he's right, he's right.

To suggest Walker is a better songwriter is so laughable it's actually kind of sad. Most of his magic, and I say this as a fan, comes from his voice and the orchestrations. .


He is a great lyricist for a start who had a real gift (when he still wrote lyrics conventionally) for a poignant, poetic image. He also has a great gift for melody, the likes of It's Raining Today or Such A Small Love soar in unexpected ways.
Goat Boy wrote: He's miles behind Laura. Fucking miles. And to call her hammy? Walker is a hammy as they come. Fuck me.
.


Walker was clearly influenced by Brel in his theatrical way of delivery. How "hammy" you find it probably depends on how you feel about Brel. But Walker didn't use the same mode of delivery on all his songs anyway. The restrained way he sings something like "Boychild" is very different to his approach on "Jackie" for instance.
As for Nyro, there is certainly a Broadway jazz/showtune approach to her vocals on New York Tendaberry, although I don't know how indicative that is of her material generally.

I appreciate you're a Nyro fan, but in seeking to put forward her strengths you've fallen into the trap of being too dismissive of Walker. Easy to do on these V threads to be fair.










-

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Re: Laura Nyro vs. Scott Walker

Postby Goat Boy » 12 Jun 2013, 12:51

Nick wrote:
Goat Boy wrote:To suggest Walker is a better songwriter is so laughable it's actually kind of sad. Most of his magic, and I say this as a fan, comes from his voice and the orchestrations. He's miles behind Laura. Fucking miles. And to call her hammy? Walker is a hammy as they come. Fuck me.


You don't rate Scott as a lyricist???

Also, I think hammy is the wrong word, and does him a disservice. In his solo work he's influenced by and working within a very different tradition to Laura Nyro.

As an artist he's far more part of the European culture of performers and writers, not the American one of singer songwriters. He's in the line of chanson and Brechtian cabaret performance. I think you also have to take into account the huge influence on him of European cinema and art.

You could just as well level the charge of hamminess at Edith Piaf, Serge Gainsbourg, Jacques Brel, Nina Simone, Alex Harvey, Bryan Ferry, and Bowie as well, and it would be equally misplaced.


I think it's pretentious wank mostly. Let's write a song about a Bergman movie! Fucking hell. The lyrics are not why I love some of his records, no. I was responding to G's claim that Laura was hammy not because I necessarily have a problem with being hammy per se. It just seems a strange criticism to make of Laura when you're bigging up Walker, that's all.
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Re: Laura Nyro vs. Scott Walker

Postby The Modernist » 12 Jun 2013, 13:00

Nick wrote:
Goat Boy wrote: Meanwhile the list of artists who have acknowledged her influence includes the likes of Elton John, Joni Mitchell (who never admits to being influenced by anyone not black and 20 years older), Todd Rundgren, Elvis Costello, Rickie Lee Jones and Steely Dan.


And the list of artists citing Scott Walker as an obvious major influence would include (amongst others) David Bowie, Brian Eno, Bryan Ferry, Diamanda Galas, Marc Almond, Pulp, David Sylvian, Billy McKenzie and Radiohead.


Yeah but Davey wouldn't accept any of those. They're from the wrong countries and the wrong era for a start! :lol:

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Re: Laura Nyro vs. Scott Walker

Postby Nick » 12 Jun 2013, 13:06

The G Experience! wrote:Yeah but Davey wouldn't accept any of those. They're from the wrong countries and the wrong era for a start! :lol:


:lol:
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Re: Laura Nyro vs. Scott Walker

Postby Goat Boy » 12 Jun 2013, 13:09

The G Experience! wrote:
Goat Boy wrote:
When he's right, he's right.

To suggest Walker is a better songwriter is so laughable it's actually kind of sad. Most of his magic, and I say this as a fan, comes from his voice and the orchestrations. .


He is a great lyricist for a start who had a real gift (when he still wrote lyrics conventionally) for a poignant, poetic image. He also has a great gift for melody, the likes of It's Raining Today or Such A Small Love soar in unexpected ways.
Goat Boy wrote: He's miles behind Laura. Fucking miles. And to call her hammy? Walker is a hammy as they come. Fuck me.
.


Walker was clearly influenced by Brel in his theatrical way of delivery. How "hammy" you find it probably depends on how you feel about Brel. But Walker didn't use the same mode of delivery on all his songs anyway. The restrained way he sings something like "Boychild" is very different to his approach on "Jackie" for instance.
As for Nyro, there is certainly a Broadway jazz/showtune approach to her vocals on New York Tendaberry, although I don't know how indicative that is of her material generally.

I appreciate you're a Nyro fan, but in seeking to put forward her strengths you've fallen into the trap of being too dismissive of Walker. Easy to do on these V threads to be fair.


-


He can write an occasionally arresting line but mostly it's empty and pretentious nonsense. Which is fine. I don't have a problem with that but I would never say he was a great lyricist. Loveless said Laura's music reeks of effort or something. Well, I think Scott's lyrics reek of effort. Real effort. His whole solo career does in fact and no more so than the latter, experiemental stuff.

Like I said to Nick, I don't have a problem with 'hammy' it just seems a strange criticism to make of Laura in this context, that's all. I actually find her to be one of the most natural songwriters ever. She's chanelling something deep inside her and giving it a voice whereas Walker is all 'head' if you know what I mean. That maybe reducing it to an obvious head/heart, male/female dichotomy but that's how I see it. Laura's music is all about instinct, feeling which is why it can be demanding. She goes off on strange, thrilling tangents on a whim. She goes wherever the hell she wants frankly and this is part of her charm and genius. Her song construction is way beyond Walkers in this respect. If you get the chance relisten to New York Tendaberry and just focus on her piano playing. It's stunningly good. Walker could never construct a song as interesting as those imo. That's not to say he can't write a gorgeous melody (On Your Own Again etc) because he can but as a songwriter and musician he simply isn't as talented.
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Re: Laura Nyro vs. Scott Walker

Postby The Modernist » 12 Jun 2013, 13:34

I'll give NYT a listen today Dougie, with open ears -I'd like to be converted (like Hatz I like a number of her songs done by others).
I really do think Walker's a great lyricist, but I'm happy to agree to differ there as arguing about lyrics in pop music isn't really something I do.

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Re: Laura Nyro vs. Scott Walker

Postby Goat Boy » 12 Jun 2013, 13:47

At least give the following a go...

You Don’t Love Me When I Cry
Captain For Dark Mornings
Gibson St
The Man Who Sends me Home
New York Tendaberry
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Re: Laura Nyro vs. Scott Walker

Postby Nick » 12 Jun 2013, 14:27

pig bodine wrote:Walker's recent material is beyond horrible.


I like a lot of it. The four songs he wrote for Nite Flights are terrific, especially the title track and The Electrician. The latter song contains the blueprints for almost all of what he's done since (especially Tilt), whilst also giving a nod back to the lush orchestration of The Walker Brothers and the chilly existentialism of his classic solo records.

I think Climate of Hunter is a good album, marred a little by 80s production.

Tilt is one of the key albums of the 90s, and would probably vie with Scott 4 as my favourite of his albums. Sure it takes a fair bit of effort to get into, and sounds forbidding at first, but there is music of real merit and rare artistic vision going on there.

Pola X and And Who Shall Go To The Dance... are more like ominous ambient music than anything else, and probably shouldn't be compared to what you might call his albums proper.

I see The Drift and Bish Bosch more as pieces where you listen to the performance as a drama, like a play, rather than as music, and I think they work well like that, especially The Drift.
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Re: Laura Nyro vs. Scott Walker

Postby mantochanga » 12 Jun 2013, 14:40

Eli and the Thirteenth Confession is a better starting point than NYT.

That album is a tour de force, an inspirational demonstration of genius and talent. And fun to boot.

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Re: Laura Nyro vs. Scott Walker

Postby Nick » 12 Jun 2013, 15:22

mantochanga wrote:That album is a tour de force, an inspirational demonstration of genius and talent. And fun to boot.


Scott Walker's more recent albums are fun too. Especially if you have neighbours you dislike :twisted:
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