Various Artists : 4 Scott

Charity event's star-studded souvenir live album

ROCK’N’ROLL very rarely loses its sense of perspective. After all, who really cares about freak global flooding and the sighting of a smog-cloud two miles wide over Asia when word comes down the wire that Julian Cassablancas has bruised his knee or that Pete from The Libertines has missed a gig in Scarborough?

Strange and wonderful then to report of the all-star cast captured on ‘4 Scott’, who gathered in honour of sadly departed plugger Scott Piering at the Scala back in April. As ever, less is more.

“First time I ever met Scott was to show him the video for this song; he hated it,” deadpans Jarvis prior to a gracious opening ‘Babies’, and the dignified if downcast mood lingers all the way up until Brian Molko arrives at the microphone and bawls “I was hanging from a tree” during ‘Haemoglobin’. As ever, when rock stars are allowed out with only an acoustic guitar for company, danger lurks at every chorus. Badly Drawn Boy‘s solo rendition of ‘Once Around The Block’ should be avoided by anyone with any feelings at all for the sublime rendition on ‘Hour Of…’, whilst a plain scary Richard Ashcroft barks his way through ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ with the same steely-eyed determination Macca showed conducting the singalong at the end of the Jubilee bash. Let’s not even mention McAlmont & Butler.

Pearls come from the unlikeliest of sources. Kelly Jones weighs in with truly poignant solo acoustic renditions of ‘Just Looking’ and ‘Traffic’; Embrace forget their troubles for long enough to apply oxyacetylene to ‘New Adam New Eve’ and the Charlatans give their wonderful ‘We’re So Pretty’ a hefty live kick up the backside. It’s worth getting for those alone. Curio value, meanwhile, comes with the final track; a version of the KLF’s legendary ‘Justified & Ancient’ complete with Scott’s voice intoning “Mine’s a 99” over the top of it. A sweet(shop) absurdity you imagine he would have loved. Oh, and two quid from each sale goes to charity. Well, what are you waiting for?

Jason Fox