Boz Scaggs
Greatest Hits Live
Gray Cat Records By Bob Putignano

Boz Scaggs "Greatest Hits Live"

I recently received a copy of Boz's 2004 release "Greatest Hits Live" from his own Gray Cat Record label, no matter- this recording should not be disregarded as just another walk through park, live greatest hits package. This is a very serious band. Just about every well known track on this two CD set has been rearranged and re-vaccinated with a fresh dose of ultra hip musicianship, making "Greatest Hits Live" one of my favorite recordings I've heard this year. The musicians selected are second none; with two guitars (Boz is one of course,) two background vocalist, 2 horns, bass, drums, and keyboards. The high caliber performances comes as no surprise given the depth and history of Mr. Scaggs illustrious solo recording discography which dates back to 1969 when he released his first self titled LP on Atlantic, which was recorded at the legendary Muscle Shoals recording studios, and featured and unleashed a then unknown Duane Allman on the FM classic staple "Somebody Loan Me a Dime" written by the great bluesman Fenton Robinson.

Speaking of "Somebody Loan Me a Dime" I thought it took a lot of guts to rerecord this track- yet the version included within, (almost sixteen minutes long) is definitely one of the highlights, and features stellar guitar work from both Boz and his young guitarist Drew Zingg, plus the Bernard Purdie like propulsive drumming of John Ferraro. Other outstanding highlights are a cover of Earl King's "It All Went Down the Drain," which is so funky and earthy, and Boz's "Lido Shuffle," is especially blues'd up and at times has a rough raunchy edge. My favorite track on this very fine recording is: "Runnin' Blue" which storms along for nearly thirteen minutes, and gives all of the musicians a chance to workout and solo. Even the mega hits like "Lowdown, "Heart of Mine," and "Georgia" have been freshened up and have taken on new directions and color.

Hard to believe that it's been nearly forty years since we received our first introduction to Boz, with the 1968 debut recording by the Steve Miller Band "Children of the Future," its obvious Mr. Scaggs took a lot of notes along the way, having also worked with Ben Sidran who all worked simultaneously together in the Miller band. Add a shot of Muscle Shoals infection, Duane Allman, Georgie Fame, Tom Dowd, and many of the other fine musicians Scaggs worked with over the years- and its no wonder this CD sounds as strong as it does.

Not many musicians come to mind who have been able to shift in out of the pop charting mega hit world yet Boz has always kept close to his blues based roots, Scaggs manages that trick, and much more by hiring a crack band, thus sustaining a refreshing and creative approach to his fine musical craft.

This is a "no risk disk." Buy this CD- as I doubt you will not be disappointed. Additionally, there is also a separately sold companion DVD of "Greatest Hits Live," with the same tracks that are included on this two CD box set. Enjoy.

Bob Putignano

Bob Putignano
Radio Host WFDU's "Sounds of Blue"
President of the NY Blues and Jazz Society