Friday, November 20, 2009

Jack Scott

Original Hits Here is the truth. Jack Scott, whom most people have never heard of, is noted in Whitburn’s Top Pop Artists & Singles 1955 – 1978 as “one of Pop music’s all-time most popular singers.” (The capitalization of “pop” is his, not mine.) I don’t know what qualifies him for the distinction, given that, as I say, few people know who he is.

Here are the facts: Scott recorded for Carlton, and he recorded for Top Rank. His last 3 hits came out on Capital. Altogether he put 19 songs into the top 100. 4 of those singles were in the top 10, 9 in the top 40. And here is the impressive part. I have two collections by Jack Scott, one on Capital called Burning Bridges, and one on Attic called Original Recordings 1958 – 1959. And on those 2 collections I have every hit that Jack Scott ever had. That means that both record companies got it right, an event so unnatural as to suggest that supernatural forces were at play here.

Mr. Sound was the name of the store where I bought Burning Bridges; I don’t remember where I got the other – it’s a cassette and I know I picked it up second hand.

Oh, and he’s Canadian…

Jack Scott:

The Way I Walk – I am what I am, I am who I am, I don’t apologize. No relation to Popeye. All that in a piece of not-quite-rockabilly from the summer of 1959.
Geraldine – Proof positive that you can right a love song to anyone with any name. And it’s not just the song title; he says “Geraldine” more times than you can shake a stick at. With Your Love was the A side of this. From the fall of 1958.
Goodbye Baby – Truly mournful. Johnny’s going away he says. Who’s Johnny? From the winter of 1959.
Leroy – Tale of a perpetual wrongdoer. “Leroy’s back in jail.” Shades of Jailhouse Rock. A hit from the summer of 1958 and the B side of My True Love.
My True Love – This song could be a parody. Everything is exaggerated: The background vocals, Scott’s vocals, his spoken bridge, the rhythm. But it’s not a parody, it’s dead serious. Scott’s biggest record, from the summer of 1958. • Go Wild Little Sadie – Odd. She messed my hair, she pulled my tie. How wild is that. Released in 1960 on Guaranteed Records; did not make the chart.
With Your Love – Another languorous ballad, kind of a My True Love rewrite. When he moves up an octave though… From the fall of 1958.
What Am I Living For – The Chuck Willis song. Like Go Wild Little Sadie, this was released in 1960 on Guaranteed Records.
I Never Felt Like This – An obvious spoof of All Shook Up. At least that’s my best guess. From the spring of 1959.
There Comes A Time – The inevitability of heartbreak, very philosophical. But of course, it’s happening to poor Jack. From the fall of 1959.
Save My Soul – Jack gets religion. The flip of Goodbye Baby. From the winter of 1959.
• Midgie – The story of a woman who’s “got herself another man,” and that makes her “the strangest woman in the land.”
Apple Blossom Time – Usually called I’ll Be With You In Apple Blossom Time. At the risk of being a heretic I’ll admit that I like Wayne Newton’s version of this, from 1965.
Bella – Now it’s odd for me to hear songs about someone named Bella; the only Bellas I’ve ever known have been adults, at a time when I wasn’t one myself.
Bo’s Going To Jail – A hard luck tale, about Bo, who is going to jail. He shot John. Too bad. A bit folky this song. Also a bit silly.
Burning Bridges – Here’s where the Top Rank collection starts. Burning Bridges, a ballad in the My True Love style about a failed romance, was a hit in the summer of 1960. Glen Campbell covered this.
Oh Little One – A straightforward love song, Jack Scott style. The flip of Burning Bridges, from the summer of 1960.
A Little Feeling (Called Love) – From the summer of 1961. “I don’t know right from wrong,” he sings, “when I’m in my baby’s arms.”
My Dream Come True – From the fall of 1961.
All I See Is Blue – A song of regret.
Laugh And The World Laughs With You – Just to prove that he could do a standard. And he does it with fuzz tone guitar.
What In The World’s Come Over You – Imagine, she’s changed, he hasn’t. Arbitrarily it seems. The whole thing. From the winter of 1960, this single kicked off his Top Rank career.
Cool Water – The B side of It Only Happened Yesterday, this was a hit in the summer of 1960. Burning BridgesOriginally by Sons Of The Pioneers, also done by Marty Robbins.
It Only Happened Yesterday – Jack did something dumb, now he regrets it. This really pulls out all the stops – male and female chorus, full complement of strings (even pizzicato). From the fall of 1960. I wonder if this is where Paul McCartney got his idea.
Steps 1 And 2 – Remember Chuck Berry? 13 Question Method? Only 2 steps for Jack. This was his last hit, from the winter of 1961 / 1962 by which time his singles were being released on Capital.
Is There Something On Your Mind – Jack detects something wrong in paradise. From the winter of 1961.
Patsy – So Jack has a taste for women with 2 syllable names: Patsy, Midgie, Bella, Sadie. Exception: Geraldine (Gerry?). Apparently he is also partial to rather young women (I’ll be waitin’ by the school yard gate) On Patsy he finally rocks it up again. From the autumn of 1960.

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