Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Blue Eyed Soul

Went on a lark, at the last minute, to see Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald at the Paramount on Monday night. We were a little late and missed some of Boz. I have been a fan of him since the late 60s when I listened first to Sailor and then to Children of the Future by the Steve Miller Band of which he was a very important member. Boz is actually a pre-boomer, having been born in '44, so he's at retirement age. I have to say it shows. I saw him live in '71 at the Filmore West with a big band and a different style from the Steve Miller days, and from what he does now. Then he hit paydirt with the Silk Degrees album in the late 70s. Most of the people were there to hear that period's songs and he did not disappoint.

Miller and he were schoolmates at St. Marks in Dallas and went to college together as well. Miller has said rather unkindly that when Boz came to the band the only thing he could play was the tambourine. Still, Boz had the good fortune to land little known Duane Allman to do the lead guitar work on Loan Me a Dime (a song I liked a lot, even if a phone call now costs 50 cents if you can find a pay phone at all). He did that song as his encore, which I appreciated. Boz has lately been into jazz standards and it has affected his older songs. They have a laid back feel which I can't tell is either good or bad. His voice was in good not great shape and his best song of the night was a duet with a great girl backup who nearly stole the show later when she had the mike to herself.

Michael McDonald, for all his snow white hair, is merely an AARP member, just a year older than I am, and his voice still has a lot of power even as it frays around the edges. I, like most people, first heard him singing for the Doobie Brothers. I later learned of the good work he did for Steely Dan prior to becoming a brother. His career since the Doobs broke up has been ever more towards Motown and soul, with some country now and again. He seems to have slowed his tempo a beat or two as well--the aging/mellowing/declining conundrum. He seems to let his back up singers carry the main tune while he riffs on it, in effect, cantorizing. Sometimes that is disconcerting but other times marvelous.

I have to say that both these boys are now nostalgia acts with no real effect on modern music, more's the pity, but it is a fine nostalgia, and a good time was had by most.


Boz made a lot of good music w/ a big band for about:After "Boz Scaggs in 1969" (I recall jumping a fence w/ my brother to see him in Palo Alto in the summer of 1970) came "Boz Scagg and Band" "Moments" and "Slow Dancer" all releaed b/f "Silk Degrees."

That's when I saw him at the Filmore and I own all of those albums you mentioned. I still like him then (Running Blues and I've Got Your Number are particular favorites) but his newest stuff leaves me cold and the Silk Degrees stuff is not actually first class although enjoyable and popular. Thanks for the additional history. What took you to Palo Alto in 1970?
Tell you tomorrow night.

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