Sunday, May 20, 2007

Do you remember Jack Scott

(updated May 1, 2009)

The great Jack Scott, one of the original damn hard rockers of the late 50s.
His first hit was My True Love in 1958, a slow moody gem of a rock ballad. It went to #3, and is one of the basic classic oldies. Followed by With Your Love, #28, a similar style. Then Goodbye Baby, a #8, with a rousing B-side Save My Soul. With Goodbye Baby he established a style of a hypnotic repetitive medium rock beat which he used well the rest of his career.
Jack was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, but moved to Detroit, USA at age ten. Both nations would like to lay claim to him. He has a strong following to this day, and reissues are not hard to find. It was a time when Conway Twitty was doing similar things in rock+roll. Elvis was in the army 1958-1960, and they helped fill the gap. It seems like when Elvis returned, these two singers stopped having big hits, as if they were no longer needed. Is that fate?
Some other notable Scott hits were The Way I Walk (#35 1959), What In the World's Come Over You (#5 1960), and Burning Bridges (#3 1960).
Jack did spend 1959 in the army, but single releases on the Carlton label continued, including the #78 I Never Felt Like This. It had a haunting ballad on the B-side, "Bella", a great example of that style.
In 1960 he was on the Top Rank label. At the same time as Conway Twitty he had a single of What Am I Living For, without about similarities. Plus he made an album of that name, very rare but good rock+roll. Another rare LP was What In the World's Come Over you. I know someone who found it for $1 in a stack at a Goodwill thrift shop. The definition of jealousy.
There was an album titled "I Remember Hank Williams". I was disappointed that he concentrated on slow ballads, and it didn't work well for his style. But a great LP the next year was "The Spirit Moves Me". That collection of uptempo spirituals worked very well.
He switched to Capitol in 1961 and released there until 1963. Some had a country tendency, but he was never far from that rock style, at least putting some good ones on B-sides. Examples of these are Sad Story, Strange Desire, Grizzly Bear. In 1963 came Laugh and the World Laughs With You, a non-hit which was played in my area, which is on a par with From a Jack To a King by Ned Miller.
In 1963 he was on RCA's Groove label. Among others, there was a Christmas release of There's Trouble Brewing/ Jingle Bell Slide, plus another hypnotic rock song Wiggle On Out.
That was it for his rock fame, but he has never quit making appearances. In Winnipeg Canada, home of the famed Burton Cummings, Burton has insisted on inviting him to rock revival events there. Burton can't get him out of his head either.

Click to hear a sample:
Save My Soul
Grizzly Bear
Laugh and the World Laughs With You
Wiggle On Out

The Spirit Moves Me 1961 album

This has to be one of the greatest gospel albums of the rock era, but it's so so obscure. It should be known. Sample the ENTIRE ALBUM here. It's uptempo and compares with Elvis', but contains a few songs you've never heard. Click the cover image to see it larger.


Dave said...

Jack Scott ranks up there with Del Shannon, Johnny Horton, and Johnny Burnett Johnny Rivers Buddy Holly, etc., etc., etc. This music is the greatest.

Jeff St John said...

Totally agree, nice to hear he is still with us, hope he is well.

Warren Cosford said...

If you remember Laugh And The World Laughs With You by Jack Scott as a hit in 'your area'.....then you must be from Winnipeg.

Me too.

In 1963 Jerry Bright at CKY had a Battle of The New Sounds. It was Jack Scott vs Bobby Vinton. I called, my mother called, my friends were threatened with death if they didn't call. Jack Scott's Laugh And The World Laugh's With You won all week long. 'KY's competition CKRC never played it, but 'Laugh' rose to #6 on the CKY Chart. What I learned was....sometimes there were great records that we never heard because, for some reason, Radio didn't play them.

It was now 1977. I was now working in Radio and discovered that the Record Companies collectively released many records every week, but only a few became 'priorities'. The idea seemed to be to get each Radio Format to play the same records. Listening to my competitors in Toronto, it seemed to be working well. I thought....I need to find a Great Record the Record Company isn't promoting.

And that's how Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf became a Hit Record on CHUM-FM Toronto....and later a multi-million seller in North America.