With backing from the studio musos who went on to form Toto (and Little Feat’s Fred Tackett is in there as well) Silk Degrees fitted the times in a way that his earlier albums hadn’t quite managed, but it was a one-off success. Successful enough, at any rate to persuade Atlantic to reissue the deleted Boz Scaggs with a new catalog number and a complete remix that brought Duane Allman's guitar into greater prominence. As a world-wide smash, Silk Degrees produced hit singles in the form of LowdownLido Shuffle, and What Can I Say, as well as a sellout world tour followed, but that was the high water mark. 1977’s Down Two Then Left, didn’t match its predecessor’s success. Nor did 1980’s Middle Man, though it did include Breakdown Dead Ahead, which did quite nicely, thank you.

After that, recorded output became increasingly sporadic. Other Roads didn't appear until 1988, the year Scaggs turned his attention to Slim's, the San Francisco nightclub, he still co-owns. He was back for Some Change in 1994, Come On Home and My Time: A Boz Scaggs Anthology in 1997. 2001’s Dig, released on September 11, 2001 (yes, THAT 9/11) probably didn’t stand a chance, and while But Beautiful debuted at number 1 on the jazz charts it wasn’t going to restore his profile in the mainstream.

Scaggs still tours and probably picks up a comfortable living from his musical efforts. If you’re looking to sample his work, there’s no better place to start than the remarkably cheap two-and-a-half-hour My Time: A Boz Scaggs Anthology, a $9.99 download from the iTunes Music Store, though it only includes Loan Me A Dime from his quite sublime Atlantic album, which is actually the reason why we’re here. After his stint with the Steve Miller Band, Scaggs found himself at 3614 Jackson Highway (Muscle Shoals Studios) in Alabama, working with (among others) Tracy Nelson, Duane Allman, Eddie Hinton, Jimmy Johnson, Barry Beckett, David Hood and Roger Hawkins on a solo album.

You can see where he’s headed right from the opening of I'm Easy (co-written with Barry Beckett), a loping little groove that flows exactly in the way the title suggests it should.  I'll Be Long Gone keeps that groove going and along with Another Day (Another Letter) suggests that the narrator from the opening track may be easy but is also well acquainted with heartache, though he’s not going to lose too much sleep over it. Now You're Gone reinforces that impression, as the dobro (is that Allman or Eddie Hinton?) gives a touch of honky-tonk while Al Lester’s fiddle fills in around the female vocal chorus, where you can definitely hear Tracy Nelson. Tasty and tasteful.


B© Ian Hughes 2012