Grammy Award®-winner Boz Scaggs' unique mix of blues and soul, rock, and sophisticated R&B all comes together on The Essential Boz Scaggs, a new collection of his work that will be available everywhere October 29th through Columbia/Legacy..
The Essential Boz Scaggs is the first 32-song, double-CD collection to track his solo career from 1969 (his seminal self-titled American debut LP on Atlantic Records, produced by Rolling Stone editor/publisher Jann Wenner in Muscle Shoals, with Duane Allman on lead guitar) all the way to 2013 (his Memphis album, a tribute to that city's musical greats). At the heart of this collection are 23 cuts that cover his near two-decade stay at Columbia Records starting in 1971, including 14 Hot 100 chart singles that established him on radio in the U.S.
The well-crafted liner notes essay for The Essential Boz Scaggs (which utilizes exclusive interview material gathered for the occasion) is 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 Essential Boz Scaggs, 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, each represented on The Essential Boz Scaggs:
• 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"); and
• 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."
THE ESSENTIAL BOZ SCAGGS
Disc One – Selections: 1. I'll Be Long Gone (A) • 2. Loan Me A Dime (A) • 3. Runnin' Blue (C) • 4. We Were Always Sweethearts (B) • 5. Painted Bells (B) • 6. Near You (B) • 7. Dinah Flo (D) • 8. Might Have To Cry (D) • 9. You Make It So Hard (To Say No) (E) • 10. Slow Dancer (E) • 11. What Can I Say (F) • 12. It's Over (F) • 13. Harbor Lights (F) • 14. Lowdown (F) • 15. Lido Shuffle (F) • 16. We're All Alone (F) • 17. Hard Times (G).
Disc Two – Selections: 1. JoJo (H) • 2. Isn't It Time (H) • 3. Simone (H) • 4. Breakdown Dead Ahead (H) • 5. Miss Sun (I) • 6. Look What You've Done To Me (I) • 7. Heart Of Mine (J) • 8. Some Change (K) • 9. Sierra (K) • 10. As The Years Go Passing By (with Booker T. & The MG's) (L) • 11. It All Went Down The Drain (M) • 12. Miss Riddle (N) • 13. I Just Go (N) • 14. Thanks To You (N) • 15. Gone Baby Gone (O).
A – from Boz Scaggs, originally issued 1969, as Atlantic 8239
B – from Moments, originally issued March 1971, as Columbia 30454
C – from Boz Scaggs & Band, originally issued November 1971, as Columbia 30796
D – from My Time, originally issued September 1972, as Columbia 31384
E – from Slow Dancer, originally issued March 1974, as Columbia 32760
F – from Silk Degrees, originally issued March 1976, as Columbia 43920
G – from Down Two Then Left, originally issued November 1977, as Columbia 34729
H – from Middle Man, originally issued April 1980, as Columbia 36106
I – from Hits! originally issued November 1980, as Columbia 36841
J – from Other Roads, originally issued May 1988, as Columbia 40463
K – from Some Change, originally issued April 1994, as Virgin 7243 8 39489 2
L – from The Best Of The Columbia Records Radio Hour, Volume 2, originally issued 1996, as Columbia 67498
M – from Come On Home, originally issued April 1997, as Virgin 7243 8 42984 2 5
N – from Dig, originally issued September 2001, as Virgin CDVUS206
O – from Memphis, originally issued March 2013, as 429 Records FTN17889