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Boz Scaggs Biography

William Royce Scaggs, 8 June 1944, Canton, Ohio, USA. Scaggs was raised in Dallas, Texas, where he joined fellow guitarist Steve Miller in a high-school group, the Marksmen. The musicians maintained this partnership in the Ardells, a group they formed at the University of Wisconsin, but this early association ended when Scaggs returned to Texas. Boz then formed an R&B unit, the Wigs, whom he took to London in anticipation of a more receptive audience. The band broke up when this failed to materialize, and the guitarist headed for mainland Europe where he forged a career as an itinerant folk singer. Scaggs was particularly successful in Sweden, where he recorded a rudimentary solo album, Boz. This interlude in exile ended in 1967 when he received an invitation from his erstwhile colleague to join the fledgling Steve Miller Band. Scaggs recorded two albums with this pioneering unit but left for a solo career in 1968. Boz Scaggs, recorded at the renowned Fame studios in Muscle Shoals, was a magnificent offering and featured sterling contributions from Duane Allman, particularly on the extended reading of Fenton Robinson’s ‘Loan Me A Dime’.

Over the next five years, Scaggs pursued an exemplary soul rock direction with several excellent albums, including My Time and Slow Dancer. Skilled production work from Glyn Johns and Johnny Bristol reinforced its high quality, but it was not until 1976 and the smooth Silk Degrees that this was translated into commercial success. A slick session band, which later became Toto, enhanced some of Scaggs’ finest compositions, including ‘Lowdown’ (a US chart number 3 hit), ‘What Can I Say?’ and ‘Lido Shuffle’, each of which reached the UK Top 30. The album also featured ‘We’re All Alone’, which has since become a standard.

Paradoxically the singer’s career faltered in the wake of this exceptional album and despite enjoying several hit singles during 1980, Scaggs maintained a low profile during the subsequent decade. It was eight years before a new selection, Other Roads, appeared and a further six before Some Change. The latter was an uninspired collection. Scaggs took heed of the failings of that release and moved back to his roots with 1997’s Come On Home, an earthy collection of R&B classics that went some way in removing the gloss of his recent work. The US follow-up Dig was a more contemporary release which found Scaggs attempting hip-hop and jazz flavoured material. Scaggs ventured further into jazz territory in 2003 with the smooth standards collection, But Beautiful.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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