Scar (album)

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This article is about the Joe Henry album. For the album by Lush, see Scar (Lush album).
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 Records
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.

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". Apart from the lyrics, the two songs have nothing in common.

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, 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