Chancellor of Soul's Chronicles-Journals Dedicated To The
Historical Preservation Of R&B, Pop and It's Artists and Music


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FREDDIE SCOTT

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                                                 FREDDIE SCOTT


Crooners are classified as artists who vocally smooth the rough edges of a song, sometimes jarred by the screamers and shouters, capturing the emotions of the listeners, through lyrical content. Freddie Scott cemented his musical foundation in the same category as a great vocalist, who projects emotional content through his music and performance, which sites him as one of the greatest underrated
artist of our time.

Born on April 24, 1933 in Providence, Rhode Island, Freddie began singing at the age of 12, in his grandmother's gospel group, 'Sally Jones & The Gospel Keyes' while they toured England. At 15, Scott attended Cooper High School in New York City, then pursued a career in medicine in Augusta, Ga. as a premed. With a change of heart, Freddie decided to give up medicine and resume his singing career with the Swanee Quintet Juniors. He was also a member of The Bill Johnson Band and The Shytone 5 Orchestra.

In 1956, Scott relocated to New York where he met Zelma (Zell) Sanders, founder of J&S Records and started there as a songwriter. His first composition 'Turn The Lamps Down Low' recorded by label mates Johnnie & Joe (who later gain fame with 'Over The Mountain' on Chess Records in 1957) died a sudden death. Sanders suggested to Freddie that he record the song and he did. It sold over a 100,000 copies which landed his first appearance at the Apollo Theater. Scott's career was interrupted by his engraftment in the armed forces, where he was stationed in Korea. While in the military, he met a fellow musician who owned and operated the Bow/ Arrow imprints and recorded 6 sides for the label, 'Tell Them For Me b/w 'Hold My Hand' (on Bow) and (on Arrow) as Freddie Scott & The Chimes 'Please Call' b/w 'The Letter Came This Morning' and 'A Faded Memory' b/w 'Loving Baby'. He teamed with The Symphonics on the New York short lived Enrica label and released one single, 'Come On Honey' b/w 'A Blessing To You'.

As the 1960's decade arose, Freddie joined Aldon Music, (a publishing company located in the Brill Building in New York, founded by Al Nevens and Don Kirshner) as a songwriter and collaborated with Helen Miller and composed tunes for such artists like Jackie Wilson, Paul Anka, Bobby Darrin, Ann-Margaret, and Tommy Hunt, as well as provide singing demos for the company. He produced Erma Frankiln (older sister of Aretha Frankiln) first LP on Epic (subsidiary of Columbia Records) entitled 'Her Name Is Erma' in 1962. While focusing on music, Freddie released two uncharted singles on Joy in 1961, 'Baby You're A Long Time Dead' b/w' Lost The Right' and 'When The Wind Changes' b/w 'I Gotta Stand Tall' (1961) (also re-released in 1963).


In 1962, songwriters Carole King and Gerry Goffin brought a song to Freddie Scott called, 'Hey Girl'. When Scott heard it, he said it sounded like a country western song, so he rearranged it. Originally the song was written for Chuck Jackson but failed to show up at the studio, so Freddie and Gerry Goffin, went into the studio and made a demo of it. It stayed on the shelf for a year until Scott went back to the studio and completed it. This masterpiece ballad released on Colpix (Columbia Pictures) during the summer of 1963', hit No.10 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, the week of September 14, 1963, No. 10 Pop, on the Hot 100 (Sept 7, 1963). Musical arrangements is credited to Gary Sherman and background vocals are provided by The Cookies , who were also signed on Colpix. An Colpix LP entitled, 'Fredie Scott Sings And Sings And Sings' released 3 singles, a Ray Charles remake 'I Got A Woman' b/w Brand New World' (No. 48 Pop Dec 7, 1963) and 'Where Does Love Go' b/w 'Where Have All The Flowers Gone' (No. 82 Pop April 11, 1964) and 'If I Had A Hammer' b/w 'On Broadway'.

Without proper promotion and support from the company, Freddie Scott's commercial success seemed to be at a stand still, so he left Columbia and signed on to Bert Berns' fledging label, Shout in 1966. Berns, a major songwriter/ producer/ musician for Atlantic Records in the early 60's, formed his Bang label in 1965 and enjoyed major Pop success with the McCoys ('Hang On Sloopy) the Strangeloves ('I Want Candy') Neil Diamond ('Cherry Cherry') Van Morrison ('Brown-Eyed Girl'). Bert launched his subsidiary imprint Shout in 1966. After 3 years of uncharted success, Scott and Berns co-wrote a tune that bring Freddie back to the fore front, 'Are You Lonely For Me' (Scott is not listed as a writer on the song). Recorded in mid 1966, the song took over 100 takes until Berns was satisfied. The dividends paid off and rewarded Freddie with his first and only No. 1 R&B hit for 4 weeks on Billboard's Top R&B Selling Singles, the week of February 11, 1967. The soulful masterpiece featured background vocals provided by The Sweet Inspirations and NY session players Gary Chester on drums, Eric Gale on guitar and Paul Griffin on piano. The song was cut at Manhattan's A&R Studios with legendary engineer, Phil Ramone running the board. 'Where Were You' another heartfelt beautiful ballad penned by Scott, was issued as the B side. A self-titled LP 'Are You Lonely For Me' charted No. 21 R&B, the week of April 29, 1967. Throughout Freddie's association with Shout Records, the label released 8 charted singles including his follow up, ('Cry To Me') (composed by Bert Berns and originally recorded by Solomon Burke) b/w(' No One Could Ever Love You') (No.40 R&B April 22, 1967), ('Am I Grooving You' b/w 'Never You Mind') (No.25 R&B June 17, 1967), ('He Ain't Give You None') (Van Morrison's classic composition recorded with his group Them who Freddie and Bert worked with on Berns' Bang label) b/w ('Run Joe') (a great foot stomper originally written and recorded by the great Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five in June 1948) (No.24 R&B December 16, 1967), ('Just Like A Woman' b/w 'Spanish Harlem') and his 3rd masterpiece soul shouter written by Gamble & Huff ('You Got What I Need' b/w 'Powerful Love') (No.27 R&B Oct 27, 1968) 'No One Could Ever Love You' b/w 'Loving You Is Killing Me') and in 1971 ( 'Forever My Darling' aka Pledging My Love (composed, recorded by Johnny Ace and posthumously released after his death by his label Duke in 1954). Freddie lifted the first lyric of the song as the title and re-released his classic 68' cut 'You Got What I Need' as the B side.


On December 31, 1967 Bert Berns died of a massive heart attack. Singer/ comedienne Effie Smith (of 'Dial That Telephone' fame, her hit of 1964 on Duo Disc) who was elected as a promotion woman at Shout Records, passed away suddenly. Berns' widow Eileen, would inherit the top position at the company after her husband's death, but wasn't able to keep it up. So singer/ songwriter George Kerr, took charge, until it folded in 1975.

After his Shout stint fizzled, Scott joined the Elephant V label for promotion work. He teamed up with Tommy Kaye and produced a message album and leased it to the label. Unfortunately, after of single releases, 'Sugar On Sunday' b/w ' Johnny's Hill' and 'I'll Be Leaving Her Tomorrow' b/w 'I Shall Be Released' (written by Bob Dylan) issued in 1970, things didn't work out because the label was more rock orientated, so Freddie left and took the LP master and released it on Probe (a subsidiary of ABC Records) entitled ' I Shall Be Released' in late 70'. The title track was reissued as a 45, 'I Shall Be Released' b/w ' Girl I Love You' (No.40 June 27, 1970).


In 1971, Scott appeared on the Vanguard imprint and co-wrote with Michael Gentle, 'I Guess God Wants It That Way' b/w Please Listen. Between 1972 through 1974, Freddie released his last two singles on P.I.P. (Pickwick International Production) ('The Great If' b/w 'Deep In The Night') and on Mainstream ('You Are So Hard To Forget') co-written with his long time songwriting Aldon partner, Helen Miller. Years later, Freddie maintained his lifestyle and income by appearing in two movies, 'No Way Out' and 'Stiletto' and composing jingles. Scott would also tour the States from 1975 through the 80's because his music was in resurgence, with covers by artists like Billy Joel, George Benson, Isaac Hayes, and Michael Mc Donald. His 63' classic 'Hey Girl' was featured in the 1978 movie, ' American Hot Wax', the story of legendary radio personality, Alan Freed.


I had the pleasure of meeting Freddie Scott twice, first at the 2000 R&B Pioneer Awards with Northern Soul legend, Tony Drake and at the 2006 Soul Convention in New Jersey. He was an extremely warm nice gentleman who through our conversation at the Pioneer Awards, told me about the release of his new CD 'A Brand New Man' in 2001. Scott would also lend his voice on a remake of Van Morrison's pop 67' masterpiece hit 'Brown-Eyed Girl' on Morrison's tribute LP 'Vanthology' in 2003 and a duet with legend Betty Harris with ('Since You Brought Your Sweet Love') on Harris' 2007 CD entitled 'Intuition' on the Evidence imprint.

More resurgence would occur for Freddie Scott, as his 1968 Shout classic recording of ('You Got What I Need') was sampled and parodied by rappers, Biz Markie in 1988 for his 'Just A Friend' hit (in which he was sued for songwriting infringement and lost), NY DJ Rob Gee and Ghostface Killah for 'Save Me Dear' released in 2004.

In the beginning of 2007, Freddie Scott was working with an up and coming young female protege' at his fledging FSC label in Queens, NY where a few months later on June 4,pass away at the age of 74.

Freddie Scott's star legacy will forever shine brightly in the far away galaxy of a musical constellation that will leave a celestial body of his heavenly compositions and voice tones for fans like us to drift in a mental eargasm, as we gaze in amazement into the midnight sky of soul.


Mike Boone
(Chancellor of Soul)

(April 2012)



Materials should not be used or altered without expressed permission of the author, Mike Boone'
(Chancellor of Soul)
 

 

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