This is a fine revisiting of roots, opening track Rock and Stick its absolute finest with Scaggs is sublime vocal, that honeyed tone rising to just-falsetto – perfectly – and the harmonica of long-time musical collaborator Jack “Applejack” Walroth [who co-wrote] adding more sweet juice: all this over and above the punching bass line of Willie Weeks and the funky guitar of Ray Parker Jr. I could play this all day, though that would be silly, so I’ve played it once most days over the last week.
There are horns on the mournful blues ballad I’ve Just Got to Forget You, Scaggs soaring here and there in empathetic vocal. Radiator 110 leads off with a guitar and harmonica riff to set the chugging blues pace, another following funky walking through the whole. Neil Young’s On the Beach is blessed with a slowed and brooding pace and tone, Scaggs again singing in the honey and its mellowed glow, I need a crowd of people/but I can’t face them day to day/though my problems are meaningless/that don’t make them/go away.
Down in Virginia is a striding straight blues of straight class; Those Lies pumps its brisk rhythms, horns attending and with puffs of baritone sax, and closer The Feeling is Gone is as humid as hot love gone will feel, more horns in maudlin moans.
A wonderful album.