Boz Scaggs - My Time
Boz Scaggs has one of the sweetest, most engaging voices around, and his recent albums have been on the sweet and friendly side, too. Records as lavish as Moments (Boz' second LP, the new one
I've grown to both admire and enjoy Boz Scaggs' soft sideMoments was a favorite morning album last year. But I haven't lost my craving for more of that great roaring stuff Boz and Steve used to whip out so winningly when they were partners. Well, hold everything because Boz Scaggs has finally decided to kick out the jams againat least some of the jams. On My Time, Boz has unleashed a generous amount of the hot, elemental rock & roll inside him to mix and simmer with the elaborate sturff, so the album is about half-refined and half-raging. As you might expect, the hot, powerful music completely overwhelms the pretty, polite tones herelistening to the whole album is like watching poor Johnny Mathis getting run over by James Dean in a chopped and channeled '56 Chevy. It's downright exhilarating.
The best songs have titles that sound like they were lifted off the counters of a speed shop: "We're Gonna Roll," "Dinah Flo" (sounds like a gas-tank additive) and (get this) "Full-Lock Power Slide." The first has that tight, cruising-blues feeling that pervaded the song-collection side of Children of the Future; "Dinah Flo" is a chugger, with sharp, barely-in-control gospel piano in the foreground and a "dooduh-dooow" chorus of voices and horns back a ways; and the last song sounds just like I hoped it would sound after reading the title in the liner credits. "Full-Lock Power Slide" rivals Boz' great "Dime-a-Dance Romance" (from Sailor) for furious, crunching, impassioned rock & roll. Note in particular the Leslie-amped guitar of Scaggs and George Rains' headlong drumming. All three tunes are Scaggs originals, and top-notch.
"Slowly in the West" sounds like Boz wrote it too, even though it comes instead from David Brown, the bass player in Scaggs' band for the last couple years. The track subtly combines the two extremes of Scaggs' music: It's silkily tense through the verses, but it uncoils in the middle section, with Boz' great yearning vocal as its focal point. Boz' music has often been compared to Van Morrison's, and at no time have the similarities in arrangement and tone been any more obvious than on this track, which should fit nicely between "St. Dominic's Preview" and "Redwood Tree" on a cassette I plan on making. Like Morrison, Scaggs likes to fill out the sound of his normally R&B-oriented rhythm section with a prominent piano, horn section and chorus. Boz, again like Van, is usually able to avoid the obvious in employing these overworked and generally ill-used elements, and to consequently add depth and force to the music without obscuring his own performance.
Boz may not quite be a Van Morrison, and he may not be able to completely rekindle the old Steve Miller Band fire single-handed, but those four tunes mentioned above, plus a neat Al Green cover, come within a hair on both counts. And the rest is easy to live withjust nocturnal funk, placid coastal evocations and a suggestion of Ruby and the Romantics drifting in now and then. Between the summery pastels and "Full-Lock Power Slide," Scaggs has it all pretty well covered. His albums are all eminently playable, but none more so than this one.
- Bud Scoppa / Rolling Stone (RS 121) / Nov 9, 1972
Music critics of the early '70s kept predicting big things for Boz Scaggs, but his records of that period had trouble finding more than a cult audience. My Time continued with a mix similar to Moments from the previous year, with the opening "Dinah Flo," a great soul-drenched rocker that should have been a hit. In fact, the first three tracks present a powerful opening triumvirate which begs to be heard, with "Full-Lock Power Slide," an air guitarist's dream-come-true. Other high points are Scaggs' definitive cover of Allen Toussaint's "Freedom for the Stallion" and a take on Al Green's "Old Time Lovin'" that gives the original author a run for his money. Considering the success Van Morrison was having working the same territory, it's surprising that this album didn't achieve more in the commercial arena. Its blend of solid '60s soul and bluesy rock is very appealing. However, Boz Scaggs' time was still four years away. My Time is a rewarding listen nonetheless.