Thursday, 2 April 2015

Boz Scaggs - A Fool to Care, album review

More Uptempo; Still Silky Smooth

Boz Scaggs has released another attractive set of songs that range across his signature laid-back to funked-up styles since his last excellent album Memphis in 2013, reviewed very briefly here.

I think this is overall more uptempo [across that range] and begins in this groove with a horn bolstered Rich Woman, and, because I am listening to it now, there is similar energy in the rocking ninth High Blood Pressure. Memphis had a defined soul-via-Al Green vibe and this too gets another nod with tenth Full of Fire. Brooding balladry is smoothed out seductively on eleventh Love Don’t Love Nobody. The Latin beat of eighth I Want to See You is a late-night caress.

There are two guest vocalists, Bonnie Raitt on the blues thrusting Hell to Pay, her slide accompanying as well, and Lucinda Williams on the album closer Whispering Pines where her gruff vocal emotion perfectly suits the pace and pain of The Band’s original, Scaggs adding such gravitas to the hope and gloom in the lyrics.

My two favourites are another 'Band' [Rick Danko/Bobby Charles] song, Small Town Talk, though I am reminded of John Martyn’s version, and a gorgeous cover of The Impressions’ [Curtis Mayfield] I’m So Proud. This is such a personal favourite I couldn’t imagine anyone else covering satisfactorily – and how does one cover the singing of Mayfield? – but this is perfectly pitched in so many simple ways.

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