JOHN WALKER – IN FOCUS

Some of his releases reviewed


Here are some of my random thoughts and words about John Walker over the years. All of the original John Walker blog posts on my old website have since been deleted so no label scans or picture sleeves are available. Instead, I’ve used images scanned from ’60s music magazine ‘Rave’.

JOHN WALKER – ”If I Promise” / ”I See Love In You” (Philips BF 1612) October 1967

A sparkling disc from John Walker, which personally I prefer to his previous hit ”Annabella”. It’s a real blues-chaser, with a bouncy Latin-flecked rhythm, emphasised by a delicious rippling guitar figure, flute and tambourine. And there’s a fat, fruity brass section adding depth to the accompaniment.

A rip roaring slap happy song it receives a lively personality treatment from John, who goes up still further in my estimation as a result of this effort. Don’t think the song has got what it takes to make the No.1 spot or even 2 or 3…….. But it’s zest, polish and uninhibited gaiety are enough to make it a comfortable hit.
FLIP: A bluesy approach to this beat-ballad, enhanced by organ, pizzicato strings and solo guitar. Sung with sincerity and deep emotion. Appealing!
(NME review – 21/10/67)

It’s not often that I hear a song once and really flip over it, but that’s what happened to me with ”If I Promise”. Tom Jones was going to do this as a single a few months ago, but he was on his ballad kick at the time, and this is not a ballad. It was once recorded in the States by Jerry Reed, but I’ve given it a smoother kind of arrangement. Hope everyone likes it.
(John Walker – RAVE magazine – November 1967)

Another disappointment this week is John’s follow-up to ”Annabella” which I thought was pretty and liked. I don’t really think his voice is terribly suited to this light, fast material. He sounds vaguely uncomfortable throughout the record.
It has a lovely opening with warm guitar and a shuffling South American rhythm, and it does start off well, especially that very American trick of soft double tracking and gentle brass. But the chorus lets it down a bit. Maybe it’s one of those records that insinuates itself with you.
(Disc & Music Weekly review – 14/10/67)

Guitar intro and John sings rather subtly most of the way…nice sprightly tempo and a good song, featuring parts of duetting with himself. Every bit as strong as his original solo item and a cert for the charts. Nice arrangement too and backing.
FLIP: Self-penned and moody old love song. Very well performed.
(Record Mirror review – 21/10/67)

UK Chart Position: None

(07/10/17)

JOHN WALKER – ”Annabella” / ”You Don’t Understand Me” (Philips BF 1593) July 1967

It must have been very hard for John Maus late of Walker Brothers fame to decide what sort of song to choose as a first solo single, therefore congratulations all round because this is very nice and I like it. Which really surprised me in a funny way as people had said ”Oh it needs lots of plays and you won’t like it when you first hear it, but it will grow on you,” which is often what people say when they really mean it’s not a very good record.

Well, this is all breathless and the tune is very much like ”Sunny.” An odd little song about how he loves her and she mustn’t take any notice of the boy who’s after her, it all ends suspended in mid-air. I like listening to it and John’s voice has an uncertain charm which endears me to the record more.
(Penny Valentine review – Disc & Music Echo – July, 1967)

UK Chart Position: 24

(28/05/17)

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