Press play and read on. Tracklist at the end.
For my first post about Creeds ABC-Paramount, or Am-Par records period, I chose Patricia Scots Once Around The Clock. It is a masterpiece of easy listening jazz vocals. Most importantly though, when I reached out to Scot, now Patricia Yorton, I received an enthusiastic response from the singer herself, willing to do an interview.
It’s important for context, to understand the time and place the album was recorded, New York City, 1959. If you have watched any of the Amazon Studios’ Mrs. Maisel series, it’s right about then.
A then 30-year old Creed Taylor had recorded four albums with Chris Conner for Bethlehem including the iconic Lullaby of Birdland; Eydie Gorme had been signed as Am-Pars first artist, and by the time her album and single came out in September 1955, the company had changed to ABC-Paramount. In 1959, ABC-Paramount were still pumping out Gorme albums. Over at Verve, Taylors future boss, Norman Granz, had Anita O’Day as one of his star singers. A good stand-up, live, female singer was essential for a labels success. Creed needed his female vocalist.
By the time Scot arrived in NYC, she was an accomplished live performer, who’d just got off an award-winning, nightly slot on the “In Town Tonight” TV show in Chicago. She had also met and married, then comedy hot-shot, Mike Nichols. Mike was the reason Patricia had moved to New York. If you want more general info, I’ve updated her artist page at Discogs with a bio cribbed from her own website.
How Did The Album Come About?
On moving to NYC, Patricia had sets at both The Den, a New York Supper club, and The Blue Angel club. Jack Rollins, Mike’s manager and a major talent agent, who would go on to manage and co-produce all of Woody Allens films, arranged one night for Creed Taylor to come to the Blue Angel. The recording deal with Creed followed.
The Creed Taylor Orchestra was actually an alias for the Kenyon Hopkins Orchestra, who were under exclusive contract to Capitol records at the time. Creed and Kenyon went on to record a number concept albums, such as Shock; Lonelyville “The Nervous Beat”; Panic The Son of Shock and others together. They would go one to create the seminal Sound Tour album series together in 1961/62.
The orchestra for this recording was a small group of jazz all-stars, featuring a woodwind section of Phil Woods and Jerome Richardson; trombones were Jimmy Cleveland, Dick Hixson, Jim Dahl and Frank Rehak; and one of the all-time greats, Don Lamond, on drums. Joe Venuto on vibes, and bongos, Milt Hinton and Al Hall on bass. As was typical of the day, they were uncredited on the album sleeve.
In the Creed Taylor pantheon, Once Around The Clock came after Lonelyville in 1959, and before Panic in 1960, both done with Bob [Kenyon] Hopkins. Prior to recording, Scot was able to choose most of the songs from her cabaret sets and from current popular songs of the day, and Hopkins set about working on the arrangements, and getting the orchestra together.
When recording day came around for Pat, she was surprised to find she would be recording to pre-recorded orchestra tapes. For someone who’d earned her chops in live clubs and on tour with a live orchestra, this was a very different way to make music. The spent 3-days recording, of that time Scot said of Creed:
While mostly quiet, Creed had very clear ideas how he wanted some of the lines in songs, and they style of the song. He became impatient when I was unable to sing a specific line the way he wanted it on the track Do It Again.Interview with Patricia Scot, March 18th, 2020
As well as not meeting the musicians, recording vocals in a booth, presented other challenges for a predominantly live performer. Scot says she’d have preferred not to have sung with 4x trombones on backing, as that impacted how she sang. Scot also wanted to change the ending of one song, and while Taylor/Kenyon agreed to the change, and the music was re-recorded. When the album came out, it wasn’t “Count Basie style ending” that Scot had wanted.
The end result is a pleasing, lightweight jazz orchestra album. The title track Once Around The Clock sounds just like tracks from the earlier Hopkins/Taylor recordings; as is for me, a classic recording of Noel Coward’s Mad About The Boy. They feature Hopkins’ spare, light arrangements which tease out a useful atmosphere for Scots accomplished, smooth vocals.
Get On Board – is almost Miller-esq, in it’s treatment. I get the feeling Let’s Sit Down And Talk It Over is the sort of track that Scot would have been at home with while on tour with the Charlie Ventura band. Having talked to Scot, I can’t listen to Do It Again, without imagining Marilyn Monroe trying to sing “no no no, but do it again”, in the style of Monroe’s breathless Happy Birthday, Mr President, sung a few years later. Meanwhile, I imagine Scot sailing through it with a cheeky grin and a glint in her eye.
The album never made the charts, and as far as Patricia could recall, she wasn’t asked to do any promotional work. She felt the album failed due to “lack of promotion”. Even though the album was part of the ABC-Paramount “Fall Fiesta Album Release” and ABC-Paramount were running four sales conventions around America to promote Fall Fiesta to its’ distributors, the album failed to gain traction in sales.
Looking at the album line-up in the full-page advertisement, which ran in both Cash Box and Billboard magazines, it’s easy to see why. In the Fall Fiesta albums were a number were the labels vocal headliners. Four Taylor produced albums were included, which were among 28 albums he would produce in 1959. In fact it had been a phenomenally productive year for Creed, recording two albums with Sabicas the new Spanish flamenco guitarist.
It’s easy to see why Taylor didn’t record a follow-up, add low sales, and the fact that by her own admission, Patricia hadn’t been able to deliver some of the lines and songs they way Creed had wanted, it was the end of the road for Scot on ABC-Paramount.
By 2009 the album was out of copyright in Japan, and was issued on CD, with no royalties going to Scot. That same CD version is now available for streaming from online services, and for purchase as a download. The album was awarded 4.5/5 stars by Samuel Chell, reviewing for All About Jazz.
It was Taylor who decided to present Patricia Scot as a “stand-up” vocalist. Based on this early-’60s recording, his faith was not misplaced.Samuel Chell, All About Jazz, August 1,st, 2009.
Scot’s vocal quality is live and vibrant yet widely expressive, ranging from humorous (“Speed of Light”) to intense and deeply felt (Noel Coward’s “Mad About the Boy”). The vocal register, timbre and vitality are suggestive of a hip Julie Andrews, but the urgency and sincerity recall Billie Holiday.
- The Sound Of New York – Kenyon Hopkins, The Sound Of New York album, ABC 2269
- Johnny – Creed Taylor Orchestra and Chorus, Barrack Room Ballads, ABC 317
- Just Once Around The Clock – Patricia Scot with the Creed Taylor Orchestra, ABC 301
- Nothing At All – Patricia Scot with the Creed Taylor Orchestra, ABC 301
- Dianne – Creed Taylor Orchestra and Chorus, Barrack Room Ballads, ABC 317
- Mad About The Boy – Patricia Scot with the Creed Taylor Orchestra, ABC 301
- I’ll Be Seeing You – Creed Taylor Orchestra and Chorus, Barrack Room Ballads, ABC 317
- Lullaby Of Broadway – Kenyon Hopkins