Tuesday, April 7, 2015

If It's Tuesday....I'm Listening To Boz Scaggs

Boz Scaggs has a new record out called "A Fool To Care." It is the second of a proposed trilogy of covers produced by Steve Jordan, the first being 2013's "Memphis." I like the idea. "Memphis," on paper, should have been a winner, but it left me cold. Recorded in Willie Mitchell's studio with people like Spooner Oldham, Willie Weeks and Ray Parker Jr, on board, "Memphis" but felt tossed off. Great musicians, great songs and a great voice, but weak execution.

What makes "A Fool To Care" better? I don't know if it is, but I sure love it more than "Memphis." Maybe all involved learned a bit from the first session- the dos and the don'ts. This time the setting is Nashville and the selection of songs seems more adventurous. There are two Bobby Charles tunes, "Small Town Talk" and the title track, both of which shine in their simplicity. There are absolutely gorgeous takes on the Spinners "Love Don't Love Nobody" and Richard Hawley's "There's A Storm A'Comin'." And there is the unlikely winner in "Full Of Fire," the Al Green song that should have been on "Memphis."

The only real misstep is the duet on "Whispering Pines." I can be kind and toss it up to simply loving The Band's original so much, any attempt would be futile. But really, it's Lucinda Williams. Her trademark croak and warble is just wrong. This version belies the subtlety and beauty of the rest of the album.

I may go back and give "Memphis" another go, but for now, check out "A Fool To Care," especially if you're a fan of Boz.


J. Loslo said...

I agree on Lucinda Williams. I realize she's really from the South, but she always sounds to me like someone doing an over-the-top parody of a Southern accent. It grates.

For a good cover of "Whispering Pines," check out Kelly Hogan on Beneath the Country Underdog. And while you're at it, check out her version of "Sudden Stop."

Troy said...

I think both records are terrific. I love 'Memphis', especially the version of 'Can I change My Mind'. The songs may have been a bit more predictable (Rainy Night in Georgia, Pearl of the Quarter) than those on the new album, but the performances are great and the album holds together very well.

That said, I really like what I hear on the new album. 'There's a Storm a Comin' is beautiful. Definitely a winner.

Anonymous said...

i'll try it. Big fan of his jazz covers album, "Speak Low."

Bombshelter Slim said...

Is it too early to cast my vote for the best album of 2015?

dogbreath said...

My 10 cents worth: I'm well taken with the vibe of the title track, the humour of "Rich Woman" & "Hell to Pay" because if there's one thing Bonnie Raitt oozes (steady there, boy) it's class.

Charlie Carr said...

Admittedly, Whispering Pines is a tough (impossible?) song to cover. Endless Highway has more of a homage by J. Dylan than a cover which also bears little fruit, or pine cones.
What makes a song difficult to cover? (huge BW topic nudge)
I can't wait to hear this cd!

Robin said...

As usual two days late! But I love Boz so. I liked Memphis a lot, but listened to it in my car mostly and that's really a different experience for me. Things tend to sound better, have breathing room.I knew it could be even better though.

Can't wait to hear this one. Lucinda is very talented, I don't think that's a debate and there are times I love her vocals, there is a heartbreak and earthiness and awareness of phrasing that reminds me of Chrissie Hynde (no they don't sound like, just that LW can evoke a feeling in me for the same vocal reasons), but like many people she has become mannered at times and can over use the gimmick (catch in the throat, not singing in your own speaking voice, etc). My two cents. :)

Now that I have "Whispering Pines" in my head, I will go listen to the Band.

Bill said...

Another vote for Memphis. I first heard about it here and picked it up* at Amazon for $5. It's been on my music player ever since.

*Do we still say this when we download the MP3s?