Get this crazy baby off my head!


Boz Scaggs

Boz Scaggs - Middle man - 1980 - Columbia

Boz Scaggs' steamy new blockbuster, Middle Man, more than recaptures the robust lushness of Silk Degrees, the album that firmly established Scaggs as pop-rock's sharpest fancy dancer. Its recipe is the same: two guitars, bass, drums and keyboards, generously embellished with strings, horns and backup vocals. Though David Paich, the brilliant keyboardist who was Scaggs' chief collaborator on Silk Degrees, appears on Middle man, Scaggs' main partner on the new project is David Foster, the gifted keyboard wizard who produced Daryl Hall and John Oates' Along the Red Ledge and cowrote Earth, Wind and Fire's "After the Love Has Gone." As on Silk Degrees, the arrangements are carefully blocked-out set pieces that boast the precision and texture of big-band charts. In front of these gorgeous backdrops, Scaggs struts his vocal stuff, a white soul man in tie and tails. Middle man lifts the aura of detachment that's usually surrounded Scaggs. He sings more aggressively than ever, often taking big chances. In the title track, a driving boogie, Scaggs pushes his voice to the manic edge, achieving a thrilling immediacy. Elsewhere, the singer uses his jagged, quavering falsetto not to express tender erotic thrall in the traditional soul manner, but to project the high-voltage carnality of urban life. Middle man could well be Boz Scaggs' response to Donna Summer's Bad Girls, since its milieu is similar: a high-rent, high-rise City of Night where grand passions and cheap thrills are one and the same. Indeed, the cover photo shows a slicked-down Scaggs exhaling cigarette smoke, his head propped on the fish netted thigh of an anonymous showgirl. The artist's air of blithe depravity implies an unabashedly glamorous view of the voluptuary life. Though the words are hard to understand without a lyric sheet, the song sequencing suggests a hot affair with a hooker. "Jojo," the first number, introduces us to a middle man who could arrange just such an adventure: a gun-toting, mink-clad pimp who gazes down from "dizzy heights" on Broadway's "spinning lights" like a neon Bacchus. The tune's arrangement is a smoother, steamier update of the throbbing pop-disco of Silk Degrees' "Lowdown," the melody a chromatic refinement of Philadelphia International formulas. Middle man's musical style shifts back and forth between this slick, choral pop-soul and the brand of streamlined hard rock that's been a Scaggs signature beginning with "Dinah Flo." As on Silk Degrees, most of the core members of Toto man the hardware. "Breakdown Dead Ahead," the LP's catchiest rocker, is so exhilarating that the romantic smashup it anticipates exudes a deadly allure. This is no warning about life in the fast lane, but an incitement to slam down on the accelerator. "Simone," a slippery-sweet proposition that echoes "My Cherie Amour" and the best of Burt Bacharach, segues into a beautiful ballad, "You Can Have Me Anytime," that's reminiscent of Silk Degrees' "We're All Alone" but buffed with symphonic gloss straight out of Rachmaninoff. So ends side one, on which Scaggs pursues Eros into a dreamy fadeout. Side two reels us back to the precipice. "Middle man" lurches between paranoia and braggadocio as its protagonist, in the first verse, offers to pimp for his girlfriend. In the second verse, he asks to be her john. "Do like You Do in New York." a tense soul strut, imagines the entire city as a flesh market where the watchwords for survival are "Don't look down" and "Go another round." In "Angel You," the tension becomes even more explicitly perverse. Here, Scaggs and backup singer Rosemary Butler play lovers who arrange their dates as though they were commercial assignations. In the record's final cut, "You Got Some Imagination," Middle man's whole fantasy world shatters in jealous recriminations. "You got a mind like a tattletale magazine," Boz Scaggs rails. "You must be crazy if you thought I'd fall for you." Sure enough, Scaggs' joy ride ends in a break down. From a talented blues acolyte, Scaggs has developed into a pungent quasi-soul stylist comparable to Michael McDonald and Daryl Hall. All the roles he's tried on over the years–Southern blues rocker, Bay Area gentleman, sophisticated soul man – have finally come together. Boz Scaggs' raw timbre, syllabic slurs and insinuating phraseology make him pop music's hippest city slicker, a sulky roué who combines Al Green's leonine grace with Van Morrison's emotional volatility. If the real estate on Middle man is too expensive for most of us, the music keens with a zest for the high life that cuts across racial, sexual and economic lines. This is great party music that conjures up the achingly erotic tug of all big cities, a honky-tonk yearning that's as old as any Saturday-night fever. © Stephen Holden / Rolling Stone (RS 318) / May 29, 1980 © 2010 Rolling Stone

1980's Middle Man was Boz Scaggs' last album for Columbia before an eight-year self-imposed sabbatical. Scaggs nonetheless caps off the decade with equal nods to his '70s hitmaking formulas and the newer, shinier production techniques of the coming decade. The synthesizer rocker "Angel You" and the title track are given the full in-vogue androgynous (i.e., Hall & Oates) treatment, while the opener "Jo Jo" and "Simone" are pages taken from his Here's the Low Down-era grooves that wedded soulful vocals against a flurry of jazz changes. His penchant for the ballad is explored on "You Can Have Me Any Time" and "Isn't It Time," while his seldom-seen rockier side comes up for air on the bluesy "Breakdown Dead Ahead" and "You Got Some Imagination," both featuring stinging guitar from Steve Lukather. Not his best album, but a very timely one. © Cub Koda, © 2010 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:a9ftxqy5ld0e

Boz Scaggs released "Middle man" in 1980, and for eight years disappeared from the music scene, while he managed his San Francisco nightclub, Slim's. In 1988 he released "Other Roads" but between 1988 and 1993, he was again virtually absent from the music scene, although in 1991 he toured with Donald Fagen's Rock and Soul Revue. In 1994 he released "Some Change"which can be found @ http://overdoseoffingalcocoa.blogspot.com/2008/11/boz-scaggs.html , and more albums followed including "Come on Home" and "Fade into Light". His 1976"Silk Degrees" album should be heard by everyone. "Middle man" could have been the follow up album to "Silk Degrees". it has a wonderful bluesy, jazzy, LA soul pop sound. There is also some good hard rock here. The songs may not be as good as "Lowdown", "What Can I Say", or "Lido Shuffle", but like so many other artists who release classic albums, they sometimes never reproduce or equal the sound of these great albums. Musicians on "Middle man" include Steve Lukather, Carlos Santana, Ray Parker Jr., Jeff Porcaro, Rick Marotta, and Venetta Fields. His 1969 s/t album, and his "Slow Dancer", and "Fade Into Light" albums are some of Boz Scaggs' best works, and worth hearing. "Silk Degrees" is now available as a remastered CD with bonus tracks, and is worth buying.


A1 Jojo - David Foster/David Lasley/Boz Scaggs
A2 Breakdown Dead Ahead - David Foster/Boz Scaggs
A3 Simone - David Foster/Boz Scaggs
A4 You Can Have Me Anytime - David Foster/Boz Scaggs

B1 Middle Man - David Foster/John Prine/Boz Scaggs
B2 Do Like You Do In New York - Boz Scaggs
B3 Angel You - David Foster/Boz Scaggs
B4 Isn't It Time - Boz Scaggs
B5 You Got Some Imagination - Steve Lukather/Boz Scaggs/Bill Schnee


Vocals, Guitar - Boz Scaggs
Guitar [Guitars] - Steve Lukather
Guitar [Solo] - Carlos Santana on A4
Guitar - Ray Parker Jr.
Bass - Ray Parker Jr. on B2
Bass Guitar - David Hungate
Bass - John Pierce on A1
Keyboards, Synthesizer [Synthesizers] - David Foster
Synthesizer [Additional] - David Paich on A3
Organ, Synthesizer - David Paich on B2
Piano [Electric] - Don Grolnick on A2
Piano [Acoustic] - Don Grolnick on B4
Drums - Jeff Porcaro
Drums - Rick Marotta on A2, & B4
Drums - Joe Vitale on B2
Percussion [Additional] - Lenny Castro
Saxophone [Solo] - Adrian Tapia on A1
Clavinet - James Newton Howard on B2
Backing Vocals - Rosemary Butler, Bill Champlin , Charles Irwin, Charlotte Crossley , David Lasley , Sharon Redd, Bili Thedford , Paulette Brown , Venetta Fields, Julia Tillman Waters , Oren Waters
Programmed By [Synthesizers] - Larry Fast , Michael Boddicker , Steve Porcaro

BIO (Wikipedia)

Boz Scaggs (born William Royce Scaggs, 8 June 1944, Canton, Ohio) is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist. He gained fame in the 1970s with several Top 20 Hits in the United States along with the #2 album Silk Degrees. Scaggs continued to release and record in the 1980s and 1990s, and still tours into the 2000s. Scaggs was born William Royce Scaggs in Canton, Ohio, the son of a traveling salesman. The family moved to Oklahoma, then to Plano, at that time a Texas farm town just north of Dallas. He attended a Dallas private school, St. Mark's, where a schoolmate gave him the nickname "Bosley". Soon, he was just plain Boz. After learning guitar at the age of 12, he met Steve Miller at St. Mark's. In 1959, he became the vocalist for Miller's band, The Marksmen. The pair later attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison together, playing in blues bands like The Ardells and The Fabulous Knight Trains. Leaving school, Scaggs briefly joined the burgeoning rhythm and blues scene in London. After singing in bands such as The Wigs and Mother Earth, he traveled to Sweden as a solo performer, and in 1965 recorded his solo debut album, Boz, which was not a commercial success. Scaggs also had a brief stint with the band The Other Side with fellow American Jack Downing and Brit Mac MacLeod. Returning to the U.S., Scaggs promptly headed for the booming psychedelic music center of San Francisco in 1967. Linking up with Steve Miller again, he appeared on the Steve Miller Band's first two albums, Children of the Future and Sailor, which received good reviews from music critics. After being spotted by Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, Scaggs secured a solo contract with Atlantic Records in 1968. Despite good reviews, his sole Atlantic album, featuring the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and slide guitarist Duane Allman, achieved lukewarm sales, as did follow-up albums on Columbia Records. (His Atlantic album was deleted and replaced with the exact same cover and tracks, but it was given a new catalog number and it was completely remixed in Los Angeles in 1977. This new remix brought Duane Allman's guitar up to the front, but it greatly altered the original feeling. On the track "Finding Her", the volume fades down real low for the last minute, an obvious mixing error by engineer Craymore Stevens. The original has never been available on CD.) In 1976, he linked up with session musicians who would later form Toto and recorded his smash album Silk Degrees. The album reached number 2 on the U.S. charts and number 1 in a number of countries across the world, spawning three hit singles: "Lowdown", "Lido Shuffle", and "What Can I Say", as well as the MOR standard "We're All Alone", later covered by Rita Coolidge and Frankie Valli. A sellout world tour followed, but his follow-up album, the 1977 Down Two Then Left, did not fare as well commercially as Silk Degrees. The 1980 album Middle Man spawned two top 20 hits, "Breakdown Dead Ahead" and "Jojo," and Scaggs enjoyed two more hits in 1980-81 ("Look What You've Done to Me" from the Urban Cowboy soundtrack, and "Miss Sun" from a greatest hits set, both U.S. #14 hits). But Scaggs' lengthy hiatus from the music industry (his next LP, Other Roads, wouldn't appear until 1988) slowed his chart career down dramatically. "Heart of Mine" in 1988, from Other Roads, was Scaggs' final top 40 hit but was a major adult contemporary success. Scaggs continued to record and tour sporadically throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and for a time was semi-retired from the music industry. He opened the San Francisco nightclub, Slim's, in 1988, and remains a co-owner as of 2008. After Other Roads, Scaggs took another hiatus and then came back with Some Change in 1994. He released Come On Home, an album of blues, and My Time, an anthology in the late 1990s. He garnered good reviews with Dig although the CD, which was released on September 11, 2001, was lost in the post-9/11 melée. In May 2003, Scaggs released But Beautiful, a collection of jazz standards that debuted at number 1 on the jazz charts. He tours each summer, has a loyal cadre of fans, remains hugely popular in Japan, and released a DVD and a live CD in 2004. Other releases followed. In 2008, Scaggs began an expanded tour, and is scheduled to appear across the country from spring through fall. Scaggs and his wife grow grapes in California's Napa County and have produced their own wine.


A.O.O.F.C said...


p/w aoofc

Mike said...

Hey, thanks for this. I think Simone is my favorite of the bunch. He has a nice sound.

You recently had non-user comments turned off again. Is somebody out there giving you trouble? E-mail me if you want.

BTW, I sent you an e-mail recently with links to the Bliss Band album (from where I originally found it). Figured that if something was blocking files from being sent that there wouldn't be a problem if I just gave you a direct link.


A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi, Mike. Thanks. I'll send you mail asap. TTFN

Anonymous said...

Greetings A.O.O.F.C.!

Interesting album by Boz...Not up to the level of "Silk Degrees" (I don't think he'll top that one ever again) but some listenable tracks here & there. He has a great voice, but like alot of vocalist of his type, sometimes the material just doesn't do them justice. But of course, That's one man's opinion (or is it Moose?)

BTW: an interesting story about the back cover...The showgirl, whom Boz is propped up on her leg, is only shown from the upper waist-down, her legs apart & what appears to be wearing a slick red bodysuit (or some kind of swimsuit). You can see the photo @ this link:


The truth is that the red suit is airbrushed on...she was originally wearing only her black pantyhose! So of course there was some...ummm...details showing. Look closely at the photo and you can faintly see the waistband of the pantyhose through the suit!!

The album's release was held up so that they could airbrush that fake red bodysuit before it could be released. Read that one in the L.A. Times around that same period.

what would you do without useless trivia like that from me. ^_^


A.O.O.F.C said...

D.Moose..cough,cough,pant,etc. Train delayed. Moose blocking line!! Yeah. Silk Degrees is THE album by Boz. There are so many artists who release classics like that, and never really better them. How did the Beatles release classic after classic, and of course my fav. band....Those "Showbiz Kids"! I see what you mean by pic. The aesthetic nature of the female form has always been of great interest to me. Artistically speaking of course. And even more important, that pic is music related...I think!! If you notice any more pictures of the same nature, I will give them an educated analysis. Wahaaayyyy!!...Here's my train. On time! Catch you at the next comment. Yes, nice picture. I'll study it more later. Whistle's blowing!!!!