The long lost 1968 debut album by singer-songwriter, Scott Fagan, once tipped to be bigger than Elvis, is set for release on 9th February 2024 via Earth Recordings. ‘South Atlantic Blues’ will be reissued on black vinyl for the first time in its original artwork, with an iconic portrait of Fagan by famed rock photographer, Joel Brodsky, following a widely celebrated, limited edition, 2015 reissue featuring cover art by Jasper Johns.
Revisiting his mystical, mythical, and deeply soulful masterpiece, this psych-folk gem doffs a Tropicalia hat direct from downtown New York.
A recent signing to Fire Songs, who now represent his extraordinary and largely unheard catalogue for both master rights and publishing, Fagan is working on a new album, the never-recorded soundtrack to his 1971 Broadway musical ‘Soon’, originally intended as the follow up to ‘South Atlantic Blues’. He is also the subject of a new documentary, ‘Soon: the Story of Scott Fagan’, currently filming through Scissor Kick Films, from acclaimed director Marah Strauch (‘Sunshine Superman’), writer Chris Campion (who rediscovered the singer-songwriter in 2015), and producer Eric Bruggemann.
Scott Fagan’s story is certainly worthy of a movie. A swinging hipster who landed in the ‘60s Greenwich folk scene, after escaping the abject poverty of his U.S. Virgin Islands upbringing, Fagan found himself mentored by Brill Building songwriters, Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, and feted as the next big thing. He played a residency at the Cafe Au Go Go on the same bill as a pre-fame Jimi Hendrix (performing as Jimmy James and the Blue Flames), and was lined-up to become the first signing to The Beatles’ Apple Records.
Largely overlooked on its initial 1968 release through Atlantic Records-subsidiary, ATCO, ‘South Atlantic Blues’ inspired a lithograph artwork (entitled “Scott Fagan Record”) by pop artist Jasper Johns. Fagan also co-wrote and starred in the first rock musical to be produced on Broadway, 1971’s ‘Soon’ (based on his experiences in the music industry and co-starring a young Richard Gere), and sired songwriter and indie-rock luminary, Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields, the son he did not know existed until 1999.
“Forget Rodriguez, forget Searching for Sugar Man,” says Sharyn Felder, daughter of the late Doc Pomus, the legendary songwriter who signed Fagan to management in 1964. “Scott was so much more. He was cut from a different cloth.”
‘South Atlantic Blues’ is the perfect soundtrack to this tale, an epic song cycle wrapped around an impassioned love story, driven by Fagan’s dense, allusive lyrics, experimental production by Elmer Jared Gordon (Pearls Before Swine) and rich arrangements by Horace Ott (Nina Simone, Sam Cooke, The Shirelles).