Columbia/Legacy will release a 2-CD overview of the 44-year recording career of Boz Scaggs. The Essential Boz Scaggs will be out on October 29.
The album opens with I’ll Be Long Gone from Scaggs’ self-titled 1969 debut and ends with Gone Baby Gone from this year’s Memphis. In between are the hits (Lowdown, Lido Shuffle, Look What You’ve Done to Me) the classic album cuts (Loan Me a Dime, Dinah Flo) and a number of other tracks from throughout his career.
The liner notes are written by Rolling Stone contributing editor Anthony DeCurtis. He analyzes Scaggs’ Texas rhythm & blues-flavored vocal mastery, and points to his hitmaking years at Columbia as “a seemingly unstoppable roll.”
The juggernaut began with Slow Dancer in 1974 (produced by Johnny Bristol), and reached cruising speed in the spring of 1976, with the release of Silk Degrees. That album’s string of four hits kept him inside the Top 40 on pop and R&B lists for more than a year: It’s Over, Lowdown (Grammy Award® for Best R&B Song), What Can I Say and Lido Shuffle. All four of those touchstones are included on the album, along with the Silk Degrees album tracks We’re All Alone (which served as a B-side on two separate singles) and Harbor Lights.
Silk Degrees was aided immeasurably by pre-Toto musicians Jeff Porcaro on drums, bassist David Hungate, and 21-year old David Paich on keyboards, Scaggs’ backing rhythm section on the road for more than two years. Silk Degrees remains an iconic album which set the stage for much of what followed in the late ’70s, with sales over 5 million copies to date in the U.S. alone. For Scaggs, it was the kickoff of the “seemingly unstoppable roll” that propelled him through the rest of that first decade with Columbia and his next three albums:
Down Two Then Left (RIAA platinum, 1977, with Hard Times)
Middle Man (RIAA platinum, early 1980, with Breakdown Dead Ahead and JoJo, both Top 20 hits co-written by Scaggs and David Foster, plus album tracks Isn’t It Time and another Foster co-write, Simone)
Hits! (RIAA platinum, late 1980, with another pair of Top 15 hits, Look What You’ve Done To Me with the Eagles’ Glenn Frey, Don Henley and Tim Schmit on backing vocals, from the Urban Cowboy movie soundtrack, and Miss Sun)
After more than six years of non-stop touring and recording, Boz Scaggs took a well-earned sabbatical that turned into an eight year hiatus.
Scaggs’ final Columbia album (and his first in the CD era) arrived in 1988, Other Roads, featuring the Top 40 chart hit, Heart Of Mine. In 1994, he was the guest of the syndicated Columbia Records Radio Hour. One of the show’s highlights was his version of the vintage blues As The Years Go Passing By, backed by Booker T. & the MG’s.
That same year (1994), Scaggs began his three album stint on Virgin Records with Some Change. Critics praised the co-production (his first official time behind the console) with Ricky Fataar of the Beach Boys, and the album became the source of Some Change and Sierra. Come On Home, a thematic album of Scaggs’ favorite soul and R&B numbers followed in 1997, featuring Earl King’s It All Went Down The Drain.
Twenty years after Silk Degrees and Toto, David Paich returned to co-produce (with Danny Kortchmar) Dig, Scaggs’ final Virgin album, the source of Miss Riddle, Thanks To You (both co-written by Scaggs and Paich), and I Just Go. The Essential Boz Scaggs concludes with Gone Baby Gone (produced by Steve Jordan), the opening track on Memphis, released on the Los Angeles-based roots-rock label, 429 Records.
“Scaggs feels more conviction about the quality of work he is doing than ever before,” DeCurtis writes of the artist. “There’s a point at which you rely on inspiration, which is there from the beginning, but as with any career that has any kind of arc, I eventually began to recognize my own style. I really began to find out what I was doing here.”
I’ll Be Long Gone (from Boz Scaggs, 1969)
Loan Me A Dime (from Boz Scaggs, 1969)
Runnin’ Blue (from Boz Scaggs & Band, 1971)
We Were Always Sweethearts (from Moments, 1971)
Painted Bells (from Moments, 1971)
Near You (from Moments, 1971)
Dinah Flo (from My Time, 1972)
Might Have To Cry (from My Time, 1972)
You Make It So Hard (To Say No) (from Slow Dancer, 1974)
Slow Dancer (from Slow Dancer, 1974)
What Can I Say (from Silk Degrees, 1976)
It’s Over (from Silk Degrees, 1976)
Harbor Lights (from Silk Degrees, 1976)
Lowdown (from Silk Degrees, 1976)
Lido Shuffle (from Silk Degrees, 1976)
We’re All Alone (from Silk Degrees, 1976)
Hard Times (from Down Two Then Left, 1977)
JoJo (from Middle Man, 1980)
Isn’t It Time (from Middle Man, 1980)
Simone (from Middle Man, 1980)
Breakdown Dead Ahead (from Middle Man, 1980)
Miss Sun (from Hits!, 1980)
Look What You’ve Done To Me (from Hits!, 1980)
Heart Of Mine (from Other Roads, 1988)
Some Change (from Some Change, 1994)
Sierra (from Some Change, 1994)
As The Years Go Passing By (with Booker T. & The MG’s) (from The Best Of The Columbia Records Radio Hour, Volume 2, 1996)
It All Went Down The Drain (from Come On Home, 1997)
Miss Riddle (from Dig, 2001)
I Just Go (from Dig, 2001)
Thanks To You (from Dig, 2001)
Gone Baby Gone (from Memphis, 2013)
Read more at VVN Music
Stay updated with your free Noise11 daily music newsletter. Subscribe to Noise11 Music News here