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Boz Scaggs Album Review * Slow Dancer *

Boz Scaggs - Slow Dancer

 Slow Dancer adds modern soul music to Boz Scaggs's white, down-home Texas heart. Eschewing some of the older black musical styles of earlier LPs, Scaggs invades the sound of Motown and Gamble & Huff, even using one of the former's better-known producers, Johnny Bristol. Although it sometimes lapses into predictable formulas, the production centers around his earthy voice, and the singer delivers more hits than misses. The result is his healthiest and most disciplined work so far.

Scaggs's singing stands in front, with the band bubbling behind, one track, in this multilayered production, bouncing off another. Save for a saucy sax break in "I Got Your Number," there are no soloists and the sessionmen remain anonymous. Given the room, Scaggs—always a good crooner—outdoes himself, ripping through the fast ones and caressing the ballads.

The impact of the visceral opener "You Make It So Hard (to Say No)" and the likely choice for a single "Angel Lady (Come Just in Time)" beautifully complement the mellow "There Is Someone Else." With those three, Scaggs has made a significant addition to his songbook by wedding dance music to thoughtful and precise lyrics.

Not blessed with a technically perfect voice, Scaggs crams emotion into the most unlikely places, punctuating his songs with heartfelt purrs and growls. The weaker moments occur when the inherent slickness of Bristol's production obscures the simple message of the lyrics, force-feeding a nice thought like "Take It for Granted" till it bursts. But that criticism notwithstanding, this is physical music, an accurate and joyful translation of feeling into sound.

- Jack Breschard / Rolling Stone (RS 159) / Apr 25, 1974

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