Boz Scaggs – Sweet Release

21st October 2023 · 1960s, 1969, Music

Boz Scaggs is another of those guys I know a single song by. I’m not even a huge fan of that song – Lowdown – the single that came out in 1976. Until now.

This week when I belatedly discovered his self-titled second album a mere 54 years after its release, thanks to the recommendation of Danny Champ. And what a discovery it has proved to be!

It was recorded at Muscle Shoals in Alabama with some of the same musicians who played with soul greats such as Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett – and a young session guitarist called Duane Allman.

Putting them together was the idea of Scaggs’s next-door neighbour in San Francisco, Rolling Stone founder Jan Wenner, who also got Boz his deal with Atlantic Records and co-produced the album with him.

It’s just fantastic, from start to finish, especially the 12-minute blues jam Loan Me A Dime, a showcase for Duane Allman’s prodigious guitar playing, but I’m choosing the last track, Sweet Release, because it’s only half as long as that – and it’s just about perfect.

It showcases all the elements that make the album so great: blues, country, folk, R&B, blue-eyed soul – the same stuff that Van Morrison had stirred into a similarly heady brew on Astral Weeks a year earlier.