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The Independent Culture
Jimmy Scott: Holding Back the Years (WEA)

For those in the know, the 74-year-old Scott is the most affecting vocalist there is. His uniquely high and expressive voice is partly the result of a rare genetic condition, Kallmann's Syndrome, which restricts the onset of normal physical maturity. Sounding strikingly like his late friends Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington, Scott is a singer whose astonishing emotional reach can produce seismic tremors of catharsis in his listeners. This latest album in a career marked by incredible setbacks may rest on material largely unworthy of his art - contemporary pop ballads associated with the likes of Mick Hucknall, Sinead O'Connor, Bryan Ferry and Elvis Costello - but Scott makes a good fist of it all the same.