Published on February 20th, 2019 | by Justin G.
Brett Walker: Last Parade (MelodicRock, 2019)
The late AOR singer/guitarist/songwriter Brett Walker is the subject of a painstakingly assembled 6-disc box set on the MelodicRock label titled Last Parade. Featuring more than 100 previously unreleased (and newly remastered) songs, Last Parade is the perfect tribute to Walker’s music and too-brief career.
Here’s what Last Parade has to offer:
Disc 1: The Early Demos – 16 demo recordings from 1991-1993, featuring early versions of many of the songs from his essential album Nevertheless. It’s the songs that didn’t make the album that are most interesting though, as they paint a picture of what might have been if Walker had gone in a less AOR direction at the time.
Disc 2: Album Cuts (The Alt Mixes) – 17 alternate versions of songs from Walker’s studio albums (including some cool alternate versions of Nevertheless songs). Some of the alternate approaches work really well, and some don’t. Either way these are really cool to hear.
Disc 3: Person to Person (The Complete Original Recordings) – These 18 tracks are a collector’s dream. This is the project Walker worked on prior to his solo debut, and while it shares a few songs from Nevertheless, it has a much more ’80s production and approach. Bootleg versions of these songs have been circulating for years, but we finally get a proper remastered version here.
Disc 4: The Unreleased Archives Volume 1 (The AOR Anthems) – the title says it all when it comes to these 17 songs. These upbeat melodic rock songs are very much in keeping with Walker’s best albums.
Disc 5: The Unreleased Archives Volume 2 (More Anthems & Guest Spots) – 18 more rarities, including six songs with vocals by Carl Dixon of Coney Hatch. It’s weird hearing Walker’s songs sung by someone else, but who better than Carl Dixon?
Disc 6: The Unreleased Archives Volume 3 (The Midwestern Moods) – The final 17 songs in this set are late career recordings where Walker was trying a more heartland singer/songwriter sound. It’s a departure from his AOR sound, and doesn’t have the same appeal as some of the earlier material in this set, but he still sounds great and I’d rather hear more Brett Walker material than less.
Last Parade really is a labor of love. The MelodicRock label went to great lengths to curate and polish these rare songs (remastering by J.K. Northrup) and give die-hard Brett Walker a collection of material that enhances his legacy and provides a look into his early work and creative process. It’s going to be way too much for the casual fan, but the serious Brett Walker fans are going to absolutely love this set.
Edition Notes: There are a couple of different ways to get Last Parade. It’s available as a pair of 3-disc sets if you want only the first three (or last three) discs separately. That’s the budget-friendly option. There’s also a deluxe box set that features all six discs in a longbox slipcase with a large-format book and an additional 50 bonus tracks (available digitally, not on disc). That’s a more expensive option, but if you’re already at the point where you’re chasing 6 discs worth of Brett Walker rarities, I don’t see how you pass by another 50 tracks, even if they are only available digitally.
Summary: This is a must-have for serious Brett Walker fans.