Song Hits - Boz Scaggs Article/Interview
Whether he is playing rock and roll, blues, rhythm and blues or ballads, Boz Scaggs can always be counted on to be exactly as gritty or classy as the moment demands. His last five albums - all of them a succinct blend of styles - are superb testimony to the fact. The newest Boz Scaggs album, Silk Degrees, brings that total to six.
While he is always scaling higher peaks, Silk Degrees is an extension of musical feelings and themes that Boz has always worked with. Today, he is moving smoothly from Allen Toussaint's "What Do You Want The Girl To Do" to his own "It's Over" the same way he did from "I'll Be Long Gone" to "Loan Me A Dime" in his first album, Boz Scaggs, six years ago. Co-produced in Muscle Shoals by Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner, that first album has since become a staple in every record collection.
Boz Scaggs is also noteworthy for containing what very well may be the finest recorded Duane Allman solo, on the aforementioned "Loan Me A Dime". The song appears again on "Duane Allman: An Anthology".
If Boz started off with a stunningly developed work - which he did - he certainly didn't disappoint his following with his second album, Moments. Recorded with a powerful new eight-piece band, the album was both mellower and tighter than the first effort. One song from it, "We Were Always Sweethearts", became an AM hit.
Next came Boz Scaggs and Band, recorded in London and produced by Glyn Johns (The Who, The Rolling Stones). It was a versatile effort, even for the extremely versatile Scaggs. "I listen back to that album now," he says, "and I realise there's no reason I can't play all the music I want to play - confidently. That record covered a lot of ground."
My Time continued the pace and, at the same time, produced another hit single in "Dinah Flo." It was back to Muscle Shoals and the brilliant competency of the studio musicians. "They're geniuses," Boz states flatly, "people don't realise how incredibly brilliant those players are. Given an idea or feeling, they can sense the song and play it for you. That blows me out."
Boz has never hidden his taste for contemporary, Philadelphia r&b. At home, there is almost always a Spinners or Harold Melvin album spinning. It was inevitable, so for his fourth album, Scaggs lent his talents totally to the genre. He hired veteran Motown producer Johnny Bristol - who has come up with the greatest hits of Gladys Knight and the Pips, the Supremes, Junior Walker and others - to work with him on the project. Together they created the sweetly soulful, Slow Dancer.
When he entered the studio to record Silk Degrees with producer Joe Wissert, Boz did not forget the vocal dynamics he learned working with Bristol. The result - Scaggs had made his strongest LP yet. Silk Degrees is the work of a well-rounded professional. "I felt very comfortable making this album," Boz grins. "Joe Wissert brought a lot out of me. I think it shows. I sure feel it."
Boz Scaggs does not talk much of his early days with The Steve Miller Band. There's no real need. He has always been his own interpreter. And after six albums of Scaggs' dazzlingly diversified solo works, it is fairly obvious he is just starting.