My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Fellow Travelers: Jack Scott (1936-)

jack scottMost of the artists featured here previously were big stars here or elsewhere with many hit records, if not many country chart hits. Our current Fellow Traveler could best be described as a “cult favorite”. He sounded tough, like someone you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley, but he was also an effective gospel singer and could handle country music and rock and roll with equal aplomb, and he was a powerful balladeer.

Jack Scott, born Giovanni Domenico Scafone, Jr. was of Canadian birth (Windsor, Ontario) but emerged from the Detroit rock and roll scene. His first ten years were spent in Windsor, but at age ten his parents moved across the river to Detroit where his musical career. He grew up listening to hillbilly music and the nascent sounds of early rock and roll, By the time Rock and Roll arrived in the form of 1954’s “Rock Around The Clock” Jack was already 18 years old, so his musical influences primarily come from other sources.

WHO WAS HE?

Although classified as a rock and roll or rockabilly singer, Jack Scott was really a big-voiced balladeer who scored with a couple of large hits, while mostly recording for minor labels such as Top Rank and Carlton. He wrote most of his own material, especially his singles and has been elected as a member of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Jack’s first records were on the Carlton label. Although the record did not chart nationally, an early Carlton release “Greaseball” was a regional success, that helped focus attention on Scott.

Jack first hit the charts with a song he wrote titled “My True Love” which hit #3 in 1958. The flip side, “Leroy” also charted reaching #11. Later in 1958, the tough-minded “Goodbye Baby” reached #8. Jack spent 1959 in the US Army, which slowed down his career, although a record released during his military service, “The Way I Walk” , reached the top forty.

Upon his release from the military, Jack signed with Top Rank records which led to two quick top ten records in 1960 with “What In The World’s Come Over You” (#5) and “Burning Bridges (#3).

After this Jack faded off the charts quickly being too rockabilly, too tough and possibly too masculine sounding for the doo-wop and teen idol songs that dominated before the British invasion of 1964.

WHAT WAS HIS CONNECTION TO COUNTRY MUSIC ?

Jack Scott recorded and released many country songs during his career; in fact, his second album for Top Rank was titled I REMEMBER HANK WILLIAMS . Some country radio played his songs, although only 1974’s Dot recording of “You’re Just Gettin’ Better” ever reached the country charts. His single of “Burning Bridges featured a steel guitar, and both of his 1960 top tens were covered by country artist for country chart hits, with Glen Campbell taking “Burning Bridges” to #17 in 1967, and Sonny James having a top ten record in 1975 with “What In The World’s Come Over You”.

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