Boz Scaggs (album)
|Studio album by|
|Studio||Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, Sheffield, Alabama|
|Genre||Americana, blue-eyed soul|
|Boz Scaggs chronology|
Boz Scaggs is the second studio album by American musician Boz Scaggs, released in 1969 by Atlantic Records.[a] A stylistically diverse album, Boz Scaggs incorporates several genres, including Americana, blue-eyed soul, country, and rhythm and blues. The lyrics are about typical themes found in blues songs, such as love, regret, guilt, and loss. Scaggs recorded the album at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio with producer Jann Wenner, the co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine. The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section heavily contributed to the album, which included a young Duane Allman, before his rise to fame with the Allman Brothers Band.
Boz Scaggs was mostly ignored by listeners and critics upon release, and only sold around 20,000 copies within its first few years. The critics that did review the album enjoyed it, and commended the musicianship between Scaggs and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. Boz Scaggs continues to receive praise in retrospective reviews, with some critics calling it one of the most underrated albums of the 1960s. In 2012, Boz Scaggs was ranked at number 496 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Background and recording
In 1967, Boz Scaggs joined the Steve Miller Band, a San Francisco-based rock group. He played guitar on the band's first two albums—Children of the Future and Sailor (both 1968)—before leaving the same year to pursue a solo career. At the time, Scaggs lived in Potrero Hill, and was next-door neighbors with Jann Wenner, the co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine. The two became good friends; Wenner provided feedback on material Scaggs had written, and encouraged him to make some demo tapes.
Wenner was looking more funding for the magazine, and talked with music executives along the East Coast of the United States. In one of the meetings, he talked with Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records, and gave Wexler a demo tape Scaggs had made. Wexler was impressed by the music, and asked Wenner to produce an album with Scaggs under the Atlantic label. After some initial discussions with Scaggs, Wenner suggested he record the album at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama, based on the style of music he had been making. Scaggs wanted to watch some of the recording sessions at Muscle Shoals anonymously, so Wenner gave him a Rolling Stone press badge to visit the studio and interact with the studio musicians. During this visit, Scaggs met several musicians that would appear on Boz Scaggs, including Duane Allman, Roger Hawkins, and David Hood.
Scaggs and Wenner wanted Allman to be one of the prominent guitarists on the album, but after calling Muscle Schoals they found out Allman had moved to Macon, Georgia, and was in the process of forming what would become the Allman Brothers Band. Wenner was able to convince Allman to come back for one week after mentioning Atlantic Records involvement. Scaggs said that having Allman come back was a catalyst for the album, as the musicians in the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section had great respect for him. In addition to Allman, Boz Scaggs featured many backing musicians, including: Hawkins, Hood, Barry Beckett, Eddie Hinton, and Jimmy Johnson. When asked about the recording sessions with Wenner, Scaggs said: "He was as good of a producer as anyone could want, he was very encouraging."
Boz Scaggs an amalgamation of several genres, including Americana, blue-eyed soul, country, and rhythm and blues; tracks on the album often switch between these genres. Lyrically, Scaggs sings about typical themes found in blues songs, such as love, regret, guilt, and loss.
Side one of the album opens with two traditional blue-eyed soul songs titled "I'm Easy" and "I'll Be Long Gone". Variety likened "I'm Easy" to the sound of Aretha Franklin, and "I'll Be Long Gone" to Dionne Warwick. Ed Leimbacher of Rolling Stone expanded upon the Warwick connection, describing the track's gentle interplay on the organ as having a heavy influence of gospel music. "Another Day (Another Letter)" is a rock ballad with '50s progression, while "Now You're Gone" is a honky-tonk country track with a slide guitar and fiddle. The contemporary country track "Finding Her" features a bridge section with more slide guitar and a piano instrumental, which Leimbacher compared Moonlight Sonata. Side one ends with the folk inspired track "Look What I've Got".
Side two opens with a cover of the Jimmy Rodgers song "Waiting for a Train", in which an accentuated piano is accompanied by Scagg's yodels. The penultimate track is "Loan Me a Dime", a cover of the Fenton Robinson song "Somebody Loan Me a Dime". The 1969 release lists Scaggs as the songwriter, but later reissues credit the song to Robinson. It is a twelve and a half minutes and is widely considered by critics to be the centerpiece of the album. About halfway through the track, Scaggs stops singing, and Allman begins an extended guitar solo. The original version of "Loan Me a Dime" was a forty-minute jam session, which was shorted to the twelve minute version on Boz Scaggs. The lyrics on the final track, "Sweet Release" contrast the pessimistic themes found on the rest of the album. Scaggs sings about the necessity in the redemptive power of music.
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
|The Village Voice||B+|
Boz Scaggs was released in August 1969 as Scagg's debut album with Atlantic Records. It was mostly ignored by listeners and critics, and only sold around 20,000 copies within its first few years of release. The critics that did review the album enjoyed it, and commended the musicianship between Scaggs and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. Billboard highlighted the tracks "I'll Be Long Gone", "Finding Her", and "Waiting for a Train", and wrote how the album would boost Scaggs into the public eye. Robert Christgau of The Village Voice praised Allman's role, and called Boz Scaggs "a nice tribute to American music". Rolling Stone critic Ed Leimbacher credited Scaggs for exploring rock, gospel, soul, and the blues "effortlessly" and with "panache".
Critics continue to praise Boz Scaggs in retrospective reviews. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic described the album as a early showcase for Scaggs' musical skills, and ultimately wrote: "[Boz Scaggs] is an enduring blue-eyed soul masterpiece". The Rolling Stone Album Guide gave the album four and a half out of five stars, and described "Loan Me a Dime" as a highlight in the careers of both Scaggs and Allman. In 2012, Rolling Stone ranked Boz Scaggs at number 496 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The magazine called it an "underrated gem", a sentiment which was shared by the magazine No Depression.
Since its initial release, Boz Scaggs has been reissued several times. A 1976 reissue peaked at number 176 on the Billboard 200 in the United States. A 1990 reissue featured a different audio mix, and was at the time the only CD version of the album. The original mix was re-issued in 2013, on the Super Audio CD format by Audio Fidelity. This version came with a 24-karat gold disc.
All tracks composed by Boz Scaggs, except where noted.
|1.||"I'm Easy" (Boz Scaggs, Barry Beckett)||3:05|
|2.||"I'll Be Long Gone"||4:13|
|3.||"Another Day (Another Letter)"||2:53|
|4.||"Now You're Gone"||3:47|
|6.||"Look What I Got" (Charles Chalmers, Donna Rhodes)||4:10|
|1.||"Waiting for a Train" (Jimmie Rodgers)||2:40|
|2.||"Loan Me a Dime" (Fenton Robinson)||12:30|
|3.||"Sweet Release" (Scaggs, Beckett)||6:13|
- Boz Scaggs – guitar, vocals
- Duane Allman – guitar, dobro, slide guitar on side one tracks 5 and 6 and side two tracks 1 and 2
- Eddie Hinton – guitar
- Jimmy Johnson – guitar
- David Hood – bass
- Roger Hawkins – drums
- Barry Beckett – keyboards
- Al Lester – fiddle, violin
- Joe Arnold – tenor saxophone
- Charles Chalmers – tenor saxophone (1)
- James Mitchell – baritone saxophone
- Floyd Newman – baritone saxophone (1)
- Ben Cauley – trumpet (1)
- Gene Miller – trombone, trumpet
- Jeanie Greene – background vocals
- Mary Holliday – background vocals
- Donna Jean Godchaux née, Thatcher – background vocals
- Joyce Dunn – background vocals (2, 4)
- Tracy Nelson – background vocals (2, 4)
- Imma Routen – background vocals (2, 4)
- Producers – Boz Scaggs, Marlin Greene and Jann Wenner.
- Engineer – Marlin Greene
- Mastered by Rob Grenell at Atlantic Studios
- Design – Robert Kingsbury
- Photography – Elaine Mayes
- Inner Liner Photos – Stephen Paley
- Larson, Michael; Luhrssen, David (2017). Encyclopedia of Classic Rock. ABC-CLIO. p. 323. ISBN 978-1-4408-3514-8.
- Tunis, Walter (October 25, 2014). "'Silk' is but one texture of Boz Scaggs' career". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "Boz Scaggs: Jann Wenner And Recording Debut Solo Album". Grammy.com. December 2, 2014. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "Boz Scaggs: On Duane Allman". Grammy.com. December 2, 2014. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- Boz Scaggs (1969). Boz Scaggs (liner notes). Atlantic Records.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (n.d.). "Boz Scaggs - Boz Scaggs". AllMusic. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "Record Reviews". Variety. Vol. 256 no. 4. September 10, 1969. p. 108. ISSN 0042-2738.
- Mankin, Bill (December 12, 2013). "Long Overdue Boz Scaggs Re-Master Brings 'Sweet Release'". No Depression. Archived from the original on July 24, 2014. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
- Leimbacher, Ed (November 15, 1969). "Boz Scaggs". Rolling Stone. No. 46. pp. 33–34. ISSN 0035-791X.
- Dahl, Bill (n.d.). "Fenton Robinson Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
- Boz Scaggs (1978). Boz Scaggs (liner notes). Atlantic Records.
- Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian David. The Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 719. ISBN 978-0-7432-0169-8.
- Christgau, Robert (December 11, 1969). "Consumer Guide (5)". The Village Voice. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
- "Special Merit Picks". Billboard. Vol. 81 no. 38. September 20, 1969. ISSN 0006-2510.
- "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. May 31, 2012. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
- "Boz Scaggs - Releases". AllMusic. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
- "Boz Scaggs Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved April 26, 2019.