Scar (album)

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Studio album by Joe Henry
Released May 15, 2001
Recorded The Sound Factory, Hollywood, September 7–10, 2000
Genre Alternative
Length 57:59
Label Mammoth
Producer Craig Street, Joe Henry
Joe Henry chronology
Tiny Voices
Professional ratings
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Allmusic 4/5 stars link

Scar is the eighth studio album by Joe Henry, released in May 2001 on Mammoth Records. Co-produced by Craig Street, it marked another shift in direction for Henry's music, and a foray into the genres of jazz and soul music. The opening track is a homage to comedian Richard Pryor (whom the album is also dedicated to), and according to Henry's essay "The Ghost in the Song," he was "called by a vision" to collaborate with free jazz artist Ornette Coleman. Henry wrote:

Henry eventually convinced Coleman to record a solo for the track "Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation," and also contributed a reprise at the very end of the album as a hidden track. Henry discusses his interactions with Coleman at length as the last part of a 2016 interview.[1]

Another track of note is "Stop", a tango originally written by Henry. His wife, Melanie, sent an early demo of the track to her sister Madonna, who re-used the lyrics for Don't Tell Me. Henry often quips during live gigs that "I recorded my version as a tango, and she recorded hers as a hit".

Lizz Wright recorded a jazzy take on "Stop" which she included in her 2005 release Dreaming Wide Awake, also an album produced by Craig Street and recorded by S. Husky Höskulds.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Joe Henry, except where noted.

  1. "Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation" – 6:21
  2. "Stop" – 4:40
  3. "Mean Flower" – 4:50
  4. "Struck" – 5:24
  5. "Rough and Tumble" – 4:53
  6. "Lock and Key" – 4:46
  7. "Nico Lost One Small Buddha" – 3:23
  8. "Cold Enough to Cross" – 3:12
  9. "Edgar Bergen" – 6:03
  10. "Scar" / hidden track: "Richard Pryor Reprise" (Henry, Ornette Coleman) – 14:22


  • Joe Henry – vocals, guitar, keyboards, percussion
  • Marc Ribot – guitar
  • Bobby Malach – reeds
  • David Piltch (as David Pilch) – bass
  • Brian Blade – drums, percussion
  • Ornette Coleman – alto saxophone solo
  • Brad Mehldau – piano
  • Meshell Ndegeocello – bass
  • Abe Laboriel Jr. – drums
  • "Orchestra" on tracks 1, 4 and 9:
    • Bobby Malach – reeds
    • Sandra Park – violin, concert master
    • Sharon Yamada – violin
    • Robert Rinehart – viola
    • Elizabeth Dyson, Gene Moye – cello
    • Stacey Shames – harp
    • Eric Charleston – vibes, percussion
    • Orchestra arranged and conducted by Steven Barber


  1. ^ [1], Steve Dawson, Music Makers and Soul Shakers Podcast, Episode 16 - Joe Henry (Part 2).