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A Fool to Care, by Boz Scaggs

Scaggs is like a fine wine that's gotten better with age.
  • Scaggs is like a fine wine that's gotten better with age.

I first saw Boz Scaggs in 1966 at the Matrix in San Francisco. He was playing in a jazz-rock combo with some cat named Steve Miller. Fast-forward 50 years and they are both award-winning senior-citizen music icons. Miller still tours behind his old radio hits. But Scaggs is making new studio albums to tour behind. Both are scheduled to play Humphreys by the Bay in July.

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Boz Scaggs

One of the songs Scaggs penned for this set, “Hell to Pay,” features a duet with Bonnie Raitt and is a retro-rocking Texas-blues number about corruption — "Bought me a senator down in Texas/ got me a judge down in New Orleans." While most of the remaining cuts are rediscovered covers: a soul ballad from the Spinners, “Love Don't Love Nobody,” never sounded better; a folksy blues duet with Lucinda Williams of the long-forgotten “Whispering Pines,” first recorded by the Band. Scaggs also samples a contemporary Latin tango beat, backed by piano and accordion, on “Last Tango on 16th Street,” about a gentrified hipster neighborhood, the Mission District in his hometown San Francisco.

"A Fool to Care"

Boz Scaggs performing the title track from his new record.

Boz Scaggs performing the title track from his new record.

The title song is a Fats Domino–inspired sound and melody brought to life by Scaggs's ageless pipes. While “Small Town Talk” and “Blood Pressure” are two Bayou-rocking grooves that sound as if they’re drifting from the open-door music clubs on Bourbon Street.

There are not many blues-rock vocalists in their 70s whose singing and strumming can be compared to a Cabernet that's gotten better with age, but Scaggs is one. And this new collection is his best in years, for its variety of musical styles, engaging song selection, and pitch-perfect production.

  • Record: A Fool to Care
  • Artist: Boz Scaggs
  • Label: 429 Records
  • Songs: (1) Rich Woman (2) I'm a Fool to Care (3) Hell to Pay (4) Small Town Talk (5) Last Tango on 16th Street (6) There's a Storm a Comin’ (7) I'm So Proud (8) I Want to See You (9) High Blood Pressure (10) Full of Fire (11) Love Don't Love Nobody (12) Whispering Pines

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