The name of Scott Fagan will be unfamiliar to most. For those fortunate enough to have heard of him, his musical reputation rests firmly upon two albums that he recorded in the late 60s/mid-70s. Following the release of these two records (South Atlantic Blues in 1968 and Many Sunny Places in 1975), Fagan – a native New Yorker, though raised on the U.S. Virgin Islands – disappeared into musical obscurity living what he describes as “a real and interesting life”.
It would appear to have been a life punctuated by hard drinking and the raising of five children, one of whom – The Magnetic Fields‘ mastermind Stephin Merritt – Scott Fagan met for the very first time only two years ago. Despite the fact that the paths of both father and son had not crossed for almost 50 years, there are striking, strangely eerie similarities between both men’s music.
One listen to ‘In My Head’ will surely affirm this. The opening track from South Atlantic Blues is a most sumptuous slice of baroque pop, one where Scott Fagan’s voice – accurately described by Hugh Dellar of Shindig magazine as being “somewhere between Scott Walker, Tim Hardin, early Bowie and Donovan” – floats quite gloriously over a hazy force field of brass orchestration. It brings a completely fresh musical meaning to the term ‘buried treasure’.
South Atlantic Blues is due to be reissued on 20th November 2015 by Saint Cecilia Knows in association with Scott Fagan’s own lil’fish records.