It’s probably safe to say that no one has a voice quite like Jimmy Scott’s. Add kickass musicians like Junior Mance and Ron Carterand you get one hell of an album.
It is extraordinary to think that one of the finest singers in the history of, well, ever spent a large part of his career working as lift attendant in Cleveland. Trapped in an unjust recording contract, Jimmy Scott was effectively forced to retire despite the fact that he had recorded some of the most graceful vocal albums in music. The Source is one such masterpiece: a collection of spine-tinglingly powerful torch songs. It’s a testament to this man’s talent and humanity that he conveys such meaning and hope through every lyric, despite a life riddled with hardship. Restrictive recording contracts aside, Scott was orphaned as a teenager and lived with a genetic condition that prevented him reaching puberty – all of which gives this album and all his work its characteristic mesmerising contralto vocal sound. With songs such as ‘Exodus’ and ‘Day by Day’, it is not hard to see why the likes of Lou Reed, David Lynch and Anthony & The Johnsons fall over themselves to work with Scott. He’s simply an intensive, jaw-dropping listening experience that has to be heard.
Tracks A1 Exodus 4:33 A2 On Broadway 3:31 A3 Our Day Will Come 3:46 A4 I Wish I Knew 4:21 B1 Unchained Melody 5:45 B2 Day by Day 4:47 B3 Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child 4:50 B4 This Love of Mine 4:20
This is certainly a deserted island must.
At least for those who are touched by Jimmy Scott’s voice and how he uses it masterfully as an instrument of art. This is the master of jazz ballad singing, or call it torch song if you want, but no-bo-dy interprets them like Jimmy does!
The key word is INTENSITY.
Countless great artists adore him, respect him, (just check his official website), yet he seems to remain a cult figure.
Often on the edge of exaggeration, Jimmy Scott does remain credible with his passionate and powerful high singing. His exceptional (slow) phrasing accentuates each word, each syllable, each note. This man doesn’t sing a song, he lives it (he does know what it is to be a “motherless child”).
Pure artistry is this respect, or even better: LOVE, for rythm, melody and lyrics.
The choice of songs is superb. Too many favourites to name any, although ON BROADWAY (Cissy Houston – on vocals ) stands apart as different in tone (a groove!), yet delicious too. The opener, EXODUS, has a fascinating grandeur and something mysterious. DAY BY DAY is generally considered as one of his most exceptional and unforgettable interpretations (and I agree).
But, ALL is great; in fact, this album is really TOO special a collection of masterpieces to listen to in one time; one should only listen to one song a day!
I’m not sure if this is the best album to get to know Jimmy Scott, but it is surely his most intense album, the top of his work. Keep in mind that, back in 1969, it was the first album this man could finally do all as he wanted, without any commercial rules or restrictions.
Timeless art. Breaks your heart. Feeds your soul.
The final note leaves you breathless and emotionally exhausted as if Jimmy used your own energy too… Try it!
A unique moment from the legendary Jimmy Scott – a one-off album cut for Atlantic Records – recorded after his initial 50s fame, and decades before he’d finally get his due, much later in his life! The album’s got a style that’s a bit more mature than Scott’s initial sides – a bit more grown up in approach, even though Jimmy’s still got that really unique light tone to his vocals – and arranged by Arif Mardin and William Fischer in a hip blend of jazz and strings – with a slow-moving vibe that’s completely mesmerizing. The core instrumentation is by a group that includes Junior Mance on piano, Billy Butler on guitar, and Ron Carter on bass.
For over 40 years, Scott’s frankly feminine registers, delayed deliveries, easy shapings, and full-soul bellows have been a source of inspiration and style for everyone from Nancy Wilson to k.d. lang, and this collection carries that legendary legacy into the 21st century.