Gary: My friend Dave, who is my neighbour down the street, insisted that I watch a DVD he had purchased. The DVD was the Dukes of September at the Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C.
Well the Dukes of September are Michael McDonald (Doobie Brothers) Donald Fagen (Steely Dan) and Boz Scaggs.
I started thinking about The Steve Miller Band and what a great singer songwriter and guitarist William Royce Scaggs is. So lets take a look at the Boz Man.
1976 / Georgia / from his album, “Silk Degrees”
After learning guitar at the age of 12, Scaggs met Steve Miller at St. Mark’s School of Texas in Dallas. In 1959, he became the vocalist for Miller’s band The Marksmen.
The pair later attended the University of Wisconsin together, playing in blues bands like The Ardells and The Fabulous Knight Trains.
Leaving school, Scaggs briefly left Texas to join the burgeoning rhythm and blues scene in London. After singing in bands such as The Wigs and Mother Earth, he recorded his first solo album Boz in 1965, which was not a commercial success.
He traveled to Sweden as a solo performer and did a brief stint with the band The Other Side with fellow American Jack Downing and Brit Mac MacLeod.
Returning to the US, Scaggs promptly headed for the booming psychedelic music center of San Francisco in 1967. Linking up with Steve Miller again, he appeared on the Steve Miller Band’s first two albums “Children of the Future” and “Sailor”, which won over critical reviews.
After being spotted by Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, Scaggs secured a solo contract with Atlantic Records in 1968. Despite good reviews, his first Atlantic album was met with lukewarm sales, as were follow up albums on Columbia Records.
In 1976, Boz linked up with session musicians (who would later form the band, Toto) and they recorded his smash album “Silk Degrees”.
The album reached #2 on the US charts and #1 in a number of countries across the world, spawning three hit singles: “Lowdown”, “Lido Shuffle”, and “What Can I Say”, as well as the MOR standard “We’re All Alone”, later a hit for Rita Coolidge.
A sell-out world tour followed, but his follow-up album, the 1977 “Down Two Then Left”, lacked the cohesion of Silk Degrees.
Scaggs’ 1980 album Middle Man would spawn two top 20 hits, “Breakdown Dead Ahead” and “Jojo,” and Scaggs would enjoy two more hits over 1980 and 1981 (“Look What You’ve Done to Me” from the Urban Cowboy soundtrack, and “Miss Sun” from a greatest hits set).
Scaggs continued to record and tour sporadically throughout the 1980s and 1990s, although he semi-retired from the music business and turned owner of the San Francisco nightclub Slim’s. His lengthy hiatus from the music industry slowed his chart career down dramatically.
Scaggs recorded “Other Roads” in 1988, took another hiatus, and then came back in 1994 with Some Change.
In the late 1990s he released “Come On Home”, an album of blues, and “My Time”, an anthology.
He garnered good reviews with “Dig”, although the CD, which was released on September 11, 2001, was lost in the post-911 melee.
In May, 2003, Scaggs released “But Beautiful”, a collection of jazz standards that debuted at number 1 on the jazz charts.
In 2013 he released the album “Memphis”.