Then to Now: Boz Scaggs Edition

Here, have a playlist

Then to Now: Boz Scaggs Edition
Degrees of silk

If you listen to the Record Player Podcast (and why wouldn't you?), you're probably aware of the fact that since the pandemic started, I've spent a lot of time selecting artists more or less at random and taking complete tours of their discographies. In the very beginning, because the world seemed to have been knocked off its axis and I was looking for musical comfort food, I started with artists I already knew fairly well — I think the first act might actually have been Huey Lewis and the News — but as time wore on, I started seeking out acts I was interested in for some reason, but had never really taken the time to explore.

Boz Scaggs is one such artist. If this is surprising to you, let me explain: I became an active music consumer in the mid-'80s, a time when Boz was essentially out of commission. When he returned to active duty with 1988's Other Roads, the Top 40 didn't pay much attention, so while I was certainly aware of who he was and was deeply familiar with the covers of Other Roads and his 1980 Hits! compilation, there really wasn't any reason to take a flyer on a random record from some old man with a strange name.

My first real experience with a Boz record came courtesy of 1994's Some Change, which gave me no immediate reason to dig deeper. In fact, despite my decades-long love affair with Toto, whose fingerprints are all over Boz's breakthrough Silk Degrees LP, I'm pretty sure I escaped listening to that or any other complete Scaggs LP prior to putting together this playlist at some point last year. My belated verdict? There's some good shit in here! On the long list of rock artists who started out in the '60s, continued through the synth years, and are still making music today, I'd rank Boz among those who never really embarrassed themselves in spite of the many commercial demands imposed by changing trends. He sounded great as a blues artist, he sounded great as a leisure suit soul artist, he sounded great in the '80s, and he still sounds great today.

If you aren't a Boz fan, these are the tracks I recommend starting from. If you are a Boz fan, well, you'll probably quibble with some of these picks, but that's what lists are for. Prepare to get smooth — and if your home situation is anything like mine, prepare to torment your spouse by loudly crooning "Look What You've Done to Me."