Friday Night Videos

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Boz Scaggs has been around for about ever. He started in the late ’60s with the Steve Miller Band, and if you have any favorite guitar licks from that era of the band, they’re probably his. He spent the ’70s as a solo act, producing an R&B/Soul/Pop/Disco hybrid that still sounds fresh. Silk Degrees is one of those few albums I’ll still put on and listen to front to back. I mean, if there were still fronts and backs. Or actual albums.

He hit an eight-year dry spell after 1980’s Middle Man. The album went platinum, but artistically it just didn’t stand up to his previous work. But I can tell you the reason it sold so well with just one word: JoJo. That’s tonight’s song, and it just so happens to be the best, slickest, most listenable, and catchy song ever written about a Times Square pimp. I love this bit:

He got you covered
You’ll know it right out front
Hey fifty dollars
He’ll get you all you want

Prices have gone up a bit since 1980, I imagine.

And the sax? It’s up there with Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street.” In fact, the radio edit of this one didn’t just cut out half the sax, it also eliminated a great line from the lyric, “Say, what do you think of gentlemen wearing mink?” Who played sax on that track, anyway? I haven’t been able to find that out.

Scaggs is still recording today with a new album, Memphis, out just this year. And he’s still playing around with genres, this time adding straight-up blues to the mix. Remarkable and timeless talent.