Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Boz Scaggs: Lost & Found

As lead guitarist for the Steve Miller Band, Boz Scaggs appeared on both "Children Of The Future" and "Sailor." In 1968, he signed with Atlantic Records and released his major label solo debut recorded in Muscle Shoals. Boz Scaggs was a major part of three of the coolest records of the 60's.

In 1976, "Silk Degrees" became a colossal smash; a hybrid of funk, soul and disco and one of the coolest records of the 70's, appealing to just about everyone.

In the 80's, Boz took a break, releasing only two records, neither of which was spectacular, though in retrospect, both had some solid material.

But that's not why I am here.

Through sheer happenstance, I found out that two of my favorite CDs of the 90's had both been reissued on vinyl for the first time in 2012.  "Some Change" and "Come On Home," both by Boz Scaggs, were records that seemed to come and go in 1994 and 1997 respectively, at a time when few were paying attention to Mr. Scaggs. The former, a set of originals feeling like an updated and matured version of "Silk Degrees," recorded by Boz and the great timekeeper, Ricky Fataar, with both playing everything, save a horn or a keyboard, here and there. The latter, a sharp collection of R&B and soul covers, created with some of the best guys in the business, including "Hutch" Hutchinson, Jim Keltner, Fred Tackett, and the aforementioned Ricky Fataar. Horns arrangements were handled by the legendary Willie Mitchell.

I played both of these records to death when they were released and I've been wearing out the grooves of the vinyl copies I recently acquired, still finding both to be near-perfect records.

Below, you will find both Boz's version of the title track, as well as the original, for good measure, which was written by Willie Mitchell and released as a Syl Johnson b-side. But the track above, is the catalyst for this whole post.

"Lost It" is a Scaggs original that quite frankly, tears me up. This is a heart-rending ballad, beautifully sung, with an arrangement that seems to ride perfectly in that sad, soulful groove without ever crossing the line into schmaltz.

I've been thinking about this song because I had been thinking about an idea that a reader suggested last year. I don't recall how he described it specifically, but it had to do with songs that break your heart, or favorite ballads, or something that had to do with music and tears. "Lost It," is without question, one that does it to me every time.


Troy said...

Agree 100% with you. Both are terrific albums. I didn't realize they had been re-released on vinyl. I'll bet that sounded great.

Anonymous said...


Agreed. Boz Scaggs has a great name, great look, and great talent. He can be sentimental but always truthful. I think that's why it hurts. His last 2 records were in heavy rotation for a time (Memphis and Fool to Care). I found "Fade Into Light" a few years ago (it was a Japanese only release at one time) and couldn't believe my luck. Cheers
Michael D.

steves said...

I've always liked his stuff a lot. He was also one of my first "celebrity encounters." In 1977, I was living in SF and one night I went to this hole-in-the-wall bar known as Adler's Museum with a friend. Once in there, I spotted Boz sitting at a table with some friends. After a few drinks, I went up to say "hi and thanks." He was as gracious as can be, and yep, he really is as cool as he seems.

rick said...

Your description is spot on: "...beautifully sung, with an arrangement that seems to ride perfectly in that sad, soulful groove without ever crossing the line into schmaltz." Thanks for moving this out of the shadows and into the forefront.

Anonymous said...

Sal, your Boz clips made an impression - I ordered both albums, thanks. Randy

Anonymous said...

Don't forget "Dig"


Oh Man ... Boz Scaggs is in heavy rotation yesterday and today thanks to this post.

Less easy to jump to is your comment about heartbreaking songs. "Lost It" is a great example. I have to think more on this question.

My challenge is that songs that break my heart are evocative of heartbreaking moments / events / people / ... So I can give you Bruce's "Independence Day" from the day my father died and just about every love song from my 25 year marriage but this challenge is to enumerate heartbreaking songs that exist beyond the petri dish of my (tortured) personal experience. (I'm pretty sure Frank Zappa was singing about me when he penned "Broken Hearts Are For Assholes.")

"Lost It' is a good start, John Hiatt's "Tip Of My Tongue," Jenny Lewis' "Acid Tongue," Bruce's "Drive All Night," Fred Eaglesmith's "Water In The Fuel," Jesse Winchester's "Sham A Ling Dong Ding" ... are ones bouncing around in my head this morning but I fear they might be too unique to me and not universal.

Like a good sad song your post has me thinking Sal.


A walk in the woods said...

I'm embarrassed to say I had no idea Boz was the Steve Miller Band's guitarist way back when!