By Lee Zimmerman
Although it’s likely that Boz Scaggs will always be best remembered as the smooth crooner on ‘70s classics like “Dinah Flow,” “Lowdown” and “Lido Shuffle,” his recent outings have proven there’s much more to his pedigree than the ability to pen hit songs. He established his blues credentials in the late ‘60s as a sideman with the Steve Miller Band, a role he played well before he became a steady presence on both the AM and FM radio dials.
Not surprisingly then, A Fool To Care, his follow-up to 2013’s much lauded Memphis, finds Scaggs continuing to transition towards senior star status. Here he pays homage to any number of classic styles, from R&B (“I’m So Proud,” “Full of Fire”) to sounds culled from south of the border (“Last Tango on 16th Street,” “I Want to See You”) and all different hues of the blues (“High Blood Pressure,” “Rich Woman” and “Hell to Pay,” the latter complemented by vocals and slide guitar from Bonnie Raitt). Happily though, he manages to maintain an uptempo groove that’s both animated and expressive. Scaggs’ molasses-soaked vocals are as tantalising as ever, never more so than on the Band’s “Whispering Pines,” which he absolutely transforms into a newly minted soul standard via an aching duet with Lucinda Williams.
Clearly, Boz is back, and at age 70, he’s never sounded so assured.
DOWNLOAD: “I’m So Proud,” “Whispering Pines,” “Last Tango on 16th Street”