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Jack Scott

Jack Scott sounded tough, like someone you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley unless he had a guitar in his hands. When he growled "The Way I Walk," wise men (and women) stepped aside. Despite his snarling rockabilly attitude, Scott hailed from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and grew up across the river, near Detroit, developing a love for hillbilly music along the way. His first sides for ABC/Paramount in 1957 exhibited a profound country-rock synthesis, and after moving to the Carlton label, Scott hit the charts the next year with the tremulous ballad "My True Love," backed by his vocal group, the Chantones. Flip it over, however, and you have the hauling rocker "Leroy," all about some wacked-out tough guy who's content to remain behind the bars of his local jail. Scott's pronounced emphasis on acoustic guitar distinguishes atmospheric rockers like "Goodbye Baby," "Go Wild Little Sadie," "Midgie," and "Geraldine." But his principal pop success came with tears-in-your-beer country-based ballads -- "What in the World's Come Over You" and "Burning Bridges" were massive smashes on Top Rank in 1960, and he recorded an entire album's worth of Hank Williams covers for the firm the same year. Born in Windsor, Ontario, Scott (born Jack Scafone, Jr., January 28, 1936) moved to a town on the outskirts of Detroit, MI, when he was ten years old. At the age of 18, he formed the Southern Drifters and after leading the band for three years, he signed to ABC as a solo artist in 1957. Over the next year, he released a handful of singles for the label before moving to Carlton Records the following year. His double-A-sided debut for Carlton, "My True Love"/"Leroy," became a huge hit, with the first song peaking at number three and the latter at number 11; it also became a Top Ten hit in England. During the next two years, Scott had a number of minor hits for Carlton, highlighted by the number eight hit "Goodbye Baby" (fall 1958). On most of these tracks, the Chantones provided vocal support. Late in 1959, he switched labels, signing with Top Rank. His first single for the label, "What in the World's Come Over You," became a number five hit early in 1960. It was followed a few months later by another Top Ten hit, the number three single "Burning Bridges." The pair of singles were his last major hits, and over the next two years, his singles progressively charted at lower positions than their predecessors. Early in 1961, he signed with Capitol Records, but none of his three singles made the Top 40. Scott continued to vacillate between cowboy crooner and rough-edged rocker throughout the remainder of the '60s and '70s, recording for a variety of labels, including Groove and Dot. In 1974, he managed to have a minor country hit with his Dot single "You're Just Gettin' Better." During the '80s and '90s, Scott occasionally turned up on the oldies circuit, still looking and sounding like a man you seriously didn't want to mess with.
© Bill Dahl /TiVo


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