Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Boz Scaggs - Silk Degrees (1976)

Note: my CD is the 2007 reissue with three live bonus tracks, recorded August 15, 1976 at the Greek Theatre, Los Angeles.

The reissue's liner notes put it best:

Silk Degrees was a triumph of state-of-the-art mid-'70s West Coast cool.  

I'll second that.  The release was certainly one of the first hit albums in the genre that was originally known as Adult Oriented Rock, now called Yacht Rock (and if you think that's a derogatory term, you're at the wrong blog).  This is easily Scaggs' strongest album, commercially and artistically.  Scaggs, then 31, teamed up with a set of musicians ten years younger: drummer Jeff Porcaro, keyboardist David Paich, and bassist David Hungate.  These three high school friends would go on to to be some of the biggest L.A. session musicians of the late '70s - '80s when they weren't working with their side project, Toto.  Good call, Boz.  Paich also wrote or co-wrote 6 of the album's 10 songs.  Even though it was panned in its original Rolling Stone review (issue 211), the album spent a remarkable 115 weeks on the Billboard album chart.  It narrowly missed the top spot, being denied by the behemoth double album sets Frampton Comes Alive and Songs In The Key Of Life.  I wasn't an LP buyer at the time (I was 9 when this was issued), but looking back, this wouldn't have been a bad choice for my first purchase.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart:  #2
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: #6
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #2

Tracks:  My favorite track is easily Lido Shuffle, but then there's the megahit Lowdown (#3 Pop, #11 AC, #5 R&B, #12 Dance, Grammy for Best R&B song), the minor hits It's Over and What Can I Say, the hit for someone else We're All Alone, and the shoulda been hit Harbor Lights.  All of the aforementioned tracks have aged very well.  In fact, it's a good bet you could turn on a oldies radio station and hear Lowdown today.  Sure, there's a some filler here (What Do You Want The Girl To Do, Georgia), but it's better than average filler.  The only tracks that seem out of place are Jump Street, which is a nod askance at Scaggs' roots and the reggae-ish Love Me Tomorrow that has an interesting chord progression that would have probably benefited from a better setting/arrangement.

The previously unreleased live bonus tracks (What Can I Say, Jump Street, and It's Over) are okay, but completely unnecessary.  The kind of bonus tracks you listen to a couple of times, but don't rip to files.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  In early 1977, I was obsessed with Lido Shuffle, often singing it at the top of my lungs at the most inopportune times.  I had no idea what the song was about, then The Love Boat appeared on my TV and its talk of the ship's "Lido Deck" further confused my pre-teen mind.  I've never bothered to figure out what the song is about (ignorance is bliss), but that doesn't keep me from still singing along with the thing at top volume.  On a totally unrelated note, I should probably apologize to my family and neighbors for waking them up this morning. 

1 comment:

  1. West Coast/Yacht Rock Boz was my favorite kind of Boz for a lot of years, at least until I started listening to blues-based Boz (early albums like his self-titled 1969 record and "Moments," and later ones like "Some Change" and "Come on Home"). But the best of Boz is indeed the best of "Silk Degrees," and I'd need "Lowdown" on whatever island I were banished to.