The Sunday Dozen: Boz Scaggs

I’m not much of a barfly but I used to be. I quit smoking for good 34 years ago. There was smoking in New Orleans bars until 2015 so I got out of the bar habit. As a young smoker, I liked hanging out in bars. That’s how I met Boz Scaggs.

I’m not exactly sure what San Francisco bar it was. I met Boz at a pool table. I was a mediocre but enthusiastic pool player. Boz knew his way around a pool cue. I declined to play him for more than five bucks, but he wasn’t there to hustle suckers, he was there to socialize.

A picture I did not take.

Boz Scaggs is one of  the nicest celebrities I’ve ever met. He’s a regular guy who prefers that you not make a fuss over him. After an initial gush, I played by his rules. He never remembered my name, he called me kid. I think we hung out 3 or 4 times; then he was back on the road, and I moved to Washington DC. So it goes.

I ran into Boz at Jazz Fest 10-12 years later. I jogged his memory and he acted as if he remembered me. It’s the polite thing to do and Boz Scaggs is a polite man. I asked him when he planned to play Jazz Fest. He said, “When they ask me.”

They did and he’s become a semi-regular over the years.

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so I’ve been a Boz Scaggs fan most of my life. People know him best for the pop-soul sound on the Slow Dancer and Silk Degrees albums. At heart, he’s a Texas musician, which means his tastes are broad and encompass soul, jazz, blues, funk, rock, and country. And Boz can flat-out sing.

We begin at the beginning with the best-known track from Boz’s eponymous second album. Loan Me A Dime is just as well known for Duane Allman’s playing as it is for Boz’s singing. They were both relatively unknown when they played together but Boz knew he was in the presence of greatness.

We Were Always Sweethearts was Boz’s first hit single. It remains one of my favorite Scaggs songs.

Boz Scaggs and Band is my second favorite Boz record after Silk Degrees. Monkey Time is one reason why.

For many years, Runnin’ Blue was Boz’s live set opener.

Slow Dancer was Boz’s first big nationwide and international hit single.

Boz can do it all. In this case, New Orleans funk with Allen Toussaint’s Hercules.

What can I say about What Can I Say?

Lowdown features one of the best bass lines in rock and roll history. It’s always a highlight of Boz’s live shows.

Lido Shuffle is one of those songs that *everyone* loves. It has a great groove and lyrics. It’s pop perfection, “and that was all she wrote.”

JoJo is slick pop funk cowritten by Boz and David Foster. The latter is best known to me when he was married to Yolanda Hadid of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fame. Boz’s name was never dropped. It irked me then and irks me still.

Boz recorded three great albums from 2013-2018. This informal trilogy took him back to his blues rock roots. Gone Baby Gone is the first track on 2013’s Memphis, which was recorded at Royal Studios in-you guessed it-Memphis, Tennessee.

We live in the age of lying liars. 2018’s Those Lies is a song for our times.

It’s lagniappe time. Most people don’t know that Boz moved from Texas to California as a member of the Steve Miller Band. Dime-A-Dance Romance was Boz’s finest contribution to the band’s Sailor album.

Our previous lagniappe tunes have been covers, Boz wrote Dime-A-Dance Romance. I hope he was paid more than ten cents,