Milwaukee Journal - Boz Scaggs Interview
The fame that Boz Scaggs experienced in the '70s with such releases as the quadruple-platinum "Silk Degrees" and platinum-plus "Down Two Then Left" was in some ways as inhibiting as it was enriching.
In the whirlwind of success, Scaggs says he forgot his original reason for getting into the music business: his love of music. In fact, it got so bad that Scaggs didn't even keep a guitar in his house.
However, with his new album, "Come On Home," he's returned to his beginnings. The April 8 release is a collection of classic R&B and blues songs of all stripes, many of which influenced Scaggs as a youth.
"I remember hearing (T-Bone Walker's) 'T-Bone Shuffle' as I was driving away from my school on a Tuesday or Wednesday night," he says.
"I was listening to a radio station that played this kind of stuff and it came on. Something inside of me stirred. There was something that I heard that was a clue about what I would be doing later on."
Always a student of the blues, Scaggs had a wealth of material to consider when he started the project. To aid him, he brought in Harry Duncan, whom Scaggs describes as "an encyclopedia on rhythm and blues" and the provider of an unlimited amount of material. The pair "met regularly two times a week or one time a week, and we sat down across the table and formulated the things we chose."
Ultimately, the selection came down to songs that Scaggs liked to sing, and, he confesses, tunes that he could sing.
"In choosing this material, we considered thousands of titles. We ultimately put down a list of hundreds, and I actually made demos of 40 to 50 songs," he says.
"I couldn't sing some of these songs, so it became a matter of the ones I could sing as well as the ones I like."
For Scaggs, picking the songs was the easy part. The album also contains four songs penned by him.
"It was very difficult for me," he says.
"It should have been easy as pie, but I found myself tortured over what I could do to lend myself to that genre. It was really difficult to come up with pieces that I could hold up to Jimmy Reed or Bobby `Blue' Bland much harder than writing a typical solo album."
Scaggs also encountered difficulty recording the album, which he produced.
"One of the challenges was to bring these songs into the '90s sonically," he says.
"So much of the ambience or the atmosphere of these songs had to do with the primitive recording technique people used, and you have to bring it into the modern age, but not lose that atmosphere."