The Second Disc

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The “Lowdown” On Legacy’s Upcoming “Essential Boz Scaggs”

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Essential Boz ScaggsEarlier this year, Boz Scaggs returned from a five-year absence from the studio with Memphis, a collection celebrating classic southern soul like “Rainy Night in Georgia,” “Love on a Two Way Street” and “Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl.”  In just a couple of weeks, Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings will be celebrating Scaggs’ own music with the October 29 release of the 2-CD anthology The Essential Boz Scaggs.  This 32-song set draws on Scaggs’ landmark tenure at Columbia Records which yielded 1976’s Silk Degrees but also on his recordings for Atlantic, Virgin and 429 Records right up through Memphis.

Singer-songwriter-guitarist Scaggs made a splash on the first two albums by the Steve Miller Band before departing that group’s ranks to pursue solo fame.  1969’s Atlantic Records LP Boz Scaggs wasn’t his debut; that honor actually went to the all-but-forgotten, never-reissued Boz, which received a release in Sweden only in 1965.   But Boz Scaggs (co-produced by Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone) paired the singer-songwriter-guitarist with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and the great Duane Allman on guitar, and attracted enough attention to gain him a Columbia Records contract.  1971’s Moments began his association with Columbia, and its mellow brand of blue-eyed soul would lead to the 1976 breakthrough Silk Degrees.

Scaggs’ seventh overall album and fifth for Columbia, Silk handily bested the No. 81 chart placement of its predecessor Slow DancerSilk Degrees, produced by Joe Wissert with backing from future Toto men David Paich, Jeff Porcaro, Steve Porcaro and David Hungate, peaked at No. 2 and spent 115 weeks on the Billboard chart.  Three of its singles, “Lowdown,” “It’s Over” and “Lido Shuffle” all made the Top 40.  A fourth single, “What Can I Say,” barely missed that mark, with a No. 42 berth.  “Lowdown” netted Scaggs a Grammy Award, and the album’s closing song (and the B-side of two separate singles) “We’re All Alone” went on to receive numerous cover versions of which Rita Coolidge’s Adult Contemporary chart-topper was undoubtedly the most successful.  Scaggs’ winning streak continued with the platinum sellers Down Two Then Left (1977) and Middle Man (1980) as well as the No. 3 AC/No. 14 Pop single “Look What You’ve Done to Me” from the film Urban Cowboy.  “Look What You’ve Done to Me” – with backing vocals from Don Henley, Glenn Frey and Timothy B. Schmit of The Eagles – and the Top 15 hit “Miss Sun” both appeared on 1980’s Hits! LP, and are reprised here.

What else will you find on The Essential?  Hit the jump for more details plus the track listing with discographical annotation and pre-order links!

The Essential, arranged in roughly chronological order, includes tracks from Boz Scaggs and each of Scaggs’ Columbia albums.  He remained with the label all the way through 1988’s Other Roads, though it was only his second studio album of the decade after Middle Man.   Scaggs re-emerged on Virgin Records in 1994 with Some Change, following it with a set of “unplugged” re-recordings in 1996 (Fade into Light, initially released in Japan) and then another album of new material, Come on Home, the very next year.  Both Some Change and Come on Home are represented on the new anthology, along with 2001’s Dig.  The artist again laid low for much of the early part of the 21st century save for a couple of albums of standards (2003’s But Beautiful and 2008’s Speak Low), plus live releases and compilations.  His 2013 return, Memphis, closes out The Essential with “Gone Baby Gone.”

Containing 14 Hot 100 chart singles, The Essential Boz Scaggs displays the singer’s mastery of blues, rock and roll, R&B and smooth soul.  It features a new essay by Anthony DeCurtis  which draws on new interview material with Scaggs.  The 2-CD set arrives from Legacy on October 29 and can be ordered at the links below!

Boz Scaggs, The Essential Boz Scaggs (Columbia/Legacy 88883 74121 2, 2013) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

CD 1

  1. I’ll Be Long Gone
  2. Loan Me a Dime
  3. Runnin’ Blue
  4. We Were Always Sweethearts
  5. Painted Bells
  6. Near You
  7. Dinah Flo
  8. Might Have to Cry
  9. You Make It So Hard (To Say No)
  10. Slow Dancer
  11. What Can I Say
  12. It’s Over
  13. Harbor Lights
  14. Lowdown
  15. Lido Shuffle
  16. We’ll All Alone
  17. Hard Times

CD 2

  1. JoJo
  2. Isn’t It Time
  3. Simone
  4. Breakdown Dead Ahead
  5. Miss Sun
  6. Look What You’ve Done to Me
  7. Heart of Mine
  8. Some Change
  9. Sierra
  10. As The Years Go Passing By (with Booker T & the MG’s)
  11. It All Went Down the Drain
  12. Miss Riddle
  13. I Just Go
  14. Thanks to You
  15. Gone Baby Gone

CD 1, Tracks 1-2 from Boz Scaggs, originally issued 1969, as Atlantic 8239
CD 1, Track 3 from Boz Scaggs & Band, originally issued November 1971, as Columbia 30796
CD 1, Tracks 4-6 from Moments, originally issued March 1971, as Columbia 30454
CD 1, Tracks 7-8 from My Time, originally issued September 1972, as Columbia 31384
CD 1, Tracks 9-10 from Slow Dancer, originally issued March 1974, as Columbia 32760
CD 1, Tracks 11-16 from Silk Degrees, originally issued March 1976, as Columbia 43920
CD 1, Track 17 from Down Two Then Left, originally issued November 1977, as Columbia 34729
CD 2, Tracks 1-4 from Middle Man, originally issued April 1980, as Columbia 36106
CD 2, Tracks 5-6 from Hits! originally issued November 1980, as Columbia 36841
CD 2, Track 7 from Other Roads, originally issued May 1988, as Columbia 40463
CD 2, Tracks 8-9 from Some Change, originally issued April 1994, as Virgin 7243 8 39489 2
CD 2, Track 10 from The Best Of The Columbia Records Radio Hour, Volume 2, originally issued 1996, as Columbia 67498
CD 2, Track 11 from Come On Home, originally issued April 1997, as Virgin 7243 8 42984 2 5
CD 2, Tracks 12-14 from Dig, originally issued September 2001, as Virgin CDVUS206
CD 2, Track 15 from Memphis, originally issued March 2013, as 429 Records FTN17889

Written by Joe Marchese

October 16, 2013 at 10:51

11 Responses

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  1. Hardly essential, i don’t see “Fooled Around and Fell In Love”


    October 16, 2013 at 11:05

    • Wasn’t “Fooled Around…” Elvin Bishop?


      October 16, 2013 at 16:09

      • Yes, it was. With Mickey Thomas on lead vocals.

        Chief Brody

        October 18, 2013 at 07:11

      • Jeez — I’m getting old! No wonder it’s not in this collection! My bad!


        October 18, 2013 at 11:05

  2. Hail Boz! A good primer for the unenlighted, but where’s “Freedom For the Stallion” and “Full-Lock Power Slide” from the fantastic “My Time” LP? That album’s Deluxe CD reissue also contained a cut harkening back to the Steve Miller Band days…Boz’s 1972 live take of “Baby’s Calling Me Home” from the Fillmore West. Essential collections can, at times, be fun repositories of hard-to-find- gems….this one looks fairly pedestrian.

    Sean Anglum

    October 16, 2013 at 12:34

  3. A better bet would be the Columbia ‘My Time’ 2-CD Anthology from 1997 – this new set duplicates most of the songs on the older one anyway. And most or all of the other CD’s these selections are from should be readily available.

    Bill Janowski

    October 16, 2013 at 12:43

  4. Let’s hope we finally get the single mix of “Look What You’ve Done To Me” — which thus far has never shown up anywhere on CD …

    Bill Pitzonka

    October 16, 2013 at 13:04

  5. Unless the mastering is radically better, I’ll stick with my copy of “My Time,” which, though not perfect, is overall a great collection.

    Chief Brody

    October 18, 2013 at 07:12

    • Me too – when I compared them, both compilations share a whopping 24 tracks!! Since I haven’t seen running times on the latter yet, my guess is that most or all of those songs are the same versions.

      Bill Janowski

      October 18, 2013 at 13:09

      • Man, does Boz need a box set or what? Do you think the guy needs to accomplish anything more in music to deserve one? 🙂 I was just thinking about that when I looked at the tracklisting of both sets.

        Chief Brody

        October 18, 2013 at 13:21

  6. If it actually happens, I guess we should expect A LOT of repeats!! Seriously, though, such a set might be worthwhile if it includes a good amount of previously unreleased material, and keeps the repeats to a minimum..

    Bill Janowski

    October 18, 2013 at 13:24

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