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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » Scaggs, Boz - 1980 Middle Man
 
Scaggs, Boz - 1980 Middle Man



ARTIST: Scaggs, Boz
ALBUM: Middle Man
LABEL: CBS
SERIAL: FC 36106
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 1990, CBS, CK 65626

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Boz Scaggs - vocals, guitar * assorted guests

TRACK LISTING: 01 Jojo * 02 Breakdown Dead Ahead * 03 Simone * 04 You Can Have Me Anytime * 05 Middle Man * 06 Do Like You Do In New York * 07 Angel You * 08 Isn't It Time * 09 You Got Some Imagination

WEBLINKS: www.bozscaggs.com


Background
Scaggs had been lurking around the rock scene since the mid 60's when he experienced his long overdue commercial breakthrough in 1976 with 'Silk Degrees', which featured almost all of Toto, as does 'Middle Man'. Prior to this Scaggs had a stint with the Steve Miller Band and released a series of solo albums which failed to sell. Scaggs did the right thing and turned to AOR for 'Silk Degrees', which sold millions and these days is revered as a classic, and rightfully so. A few years later Boz returned with another stab at AOR, this time firmly in the West Coast mould, with an assortment of the greatest session players in the business. You know them: Lukather, Paich, Hungate, Porcaro, Pierce, Castro, Foster, Santana, Champlin....This legendary cast helped Scaggs set the stage for an often overlooked album which would be his last until 1988.


The Songs
'Jojo' was a #17 hit and stuffed full of perfect West Coast charm and melody, laden with keyboards and sax and one often heard on AM radio to this day. A great opener. Boz revives the spirit of 'Lido Shuffle' during the classy rocker 'Breakdown Dead Ahead', where Boz demonstrates some nifty guitar work, with the assistance of the Toto lads. Maybe he should have fronted this lot. Things heat up with 'Simone', jazzy and funky, boasting a hook for the ages. Scaggs had a real gift for the use of horns which is on display here. 'You Can Have Me Anytime' follows, an orchestrated ballad with great atmosphere, which isn't too dissimilar to the George Benson album reviewed here recently. The AOR of 'Middle Man' follows, highlighted by some gutsy riffing and vocals from Boz, not to mention the untold melodic surges throughout. At odd moments it reminds me of Supertramp's 'Child of Vision', but this is vintage material. It just gets better, the funk ridden 'Do Like You Do In New York' adding swirling synths amidst a slow beat filled with guitar fills of some magnitude. Huge keyboards open 'Angel You', instantly setting the stage for AOR heaven, which the song is indeed. Again Boz turns on the melody to sweaty heights and I think even Toto couldn't compete with this for AOR supremacy in 1980, especially when the synth solo hits, taking this even further. Another West Coast ballad, 'Isn't It Time', is next and creates a stir with a dizzying chorus and guitar solo. You can't put a price on music as good as this. Rounding out a perfect set is 'You Got Some Imagination', upbeat AOR containing a guitar solo of the highest order not to mention melody by the truckload.


In Summary
What else can you say about this without using more superlatives? Great performances from all involved and excellent production from the well known Bill Schnee. What a shame Scaggs disappeared for most of the 80's following the release of the album. One can only speculate what a 1982 or 1983 album might have sounded like if Scaggs had kept recording. He is still at it however, now well into his 60's and reportedly still putting on a good live show. A fine musician and well worth his place here at Glory-Daze. 'Middle Man' is required listening for those who may have passed Scaggs by for whatever reason.


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Comments
#1 | jeffduran on August 19 2008 10:25:59
Excellent Review! Amazing Release and artist that is long overdue here!
#2 | jefflynnefan on August 23 2008 22:23:00
I'm glad to see this here too! It is indeed a great album. The people involved with his albums is amazing! I too wonder why he has never done anything else? I'll have to do a search. I still listen to Boz!
#3 | roadrunner158 on September 02 2008 10:58:53
In 1988, Boz Scaggs released 'Other Roads', which is just as good as, maybe even better than 'Silk Degrees' and 'Middle Man' IMO.
#4 | Jez on September 05 2008 18:26:13
Just picked up a copy of the remastered version of this one. Have only heard 'Silk Degrees' before by Mr Scaggs but am loving this one equally if not more, especially 'Angel You' which is an ace track and very Toto like. Great disc and one I wouldn't have picked up if I hadn't checked above.
 
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