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16

Boz Scaggs at the Paramount

Mike Perciaccante By

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Boz Scaggs
The Paramount
Huntington, NY
May 13, 2014

Boz Scaggs has been producing his own brand of R&B-flavored rock 'n' roll for almost fifty years. Though he recorded an album in 1965 called Boz (Polydor Records), his career didn't take off until he became a member of the original bluesier version of the Steve Miller Band. He exited after recording two albums and in 1969 released an eponymously titled album on Atlantic Records. For the past forty-five years he has recorded and toured as a solo artist and as a member of the New York Rock and Soul Review (with Donald Fagen, Phoebe Snow, Michael McDonald and others). He has also toured with Fagen and McDonald as The Dukes of September.

Achieving success as a solo artist took a while. After his Atlantic Records album failed to chart, Scaggs moved to Columbia Records where he achieved modest success; though each of his first albums for Columbia charted, none reached higher than #81 (1974's Slow Dancer). That would change in 1976 with Silk Degrees. The album featured four hit singles ("Lido Shuffle," "Lowdown," "It's Over" and "What Can I Say") and reached #2 in the United States. Silk Degrees was certified as a five time multi-platinum album by the RIAA. His next two albums Down Two Then Left (Columbia, 1977) and Middle Man (Columbia, 1980) were both certified as platinum albums and reached #11 and #8, respectively, on the Billboard Charts.

During much of the 1980s, Scaggs took a hiatus from recording music. Following the release of Hits! (Columbia, 1980), he didn't release an album until 1988's Other Roads (Columbia). From 1989 to 1992, Scaggs' musical journey brought him to the New York Rock and Soul Revue. He released another solo offering in 1994, Some Change (Columbia) and recorded sporadically through the 1990s and 2000s. From 2010 through 2012, Scaggs performed with the Dukes of September. In 2013, he released Memphis (429 Records), a collection of songs that pays tribute to the iconic Tennessee city's musical traditions. After what was the New York area's coldest and snowiest winter in recent memory, the spring of 2014 was little more than a replay of the fall of 2013. During what was unquestionably the warmest week of 2014, on a Tuesday night that actually felt like a spring evening, Boz Scaggs and his band (Michael Miller on guitar, drummer Lemar Carter, saxophonist/keyboardist Eric Crystal, Richard Patterson on bass, Michael Logan on keyboards and Ms. Mone't on backing vocals) set the Huntington, NY's packed-to-the-rafters Paramount on fire.

The evening's performance began with a sharp, crisp and letter-perfect version of "Runnin' Blue." The eager Long Island crowd was treated to a career-spanning musical tour-de-force set that included the new songs "Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl" (the Mink DeVille cover), "Dry Spell," the organ-driven "Gone Baby Gone," and "It Just Doesn't Matter To Me," which took their places among old favorites like "Rainy Night In Georgia," "Georgia," "Corrina, Corrina" and "Miss Sun."

Following "Miss Sun," Scaggs took a brief respite as back-up vocalist, Ms. Mone't worked the audience into a fever pitch with a very soulful version of Sly Stone's "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" and Sam & Dave's "I Thank You," which segued into a slow-burning "Proud Mary."

Scaggs then took center stage for what could arguably be called the mega-hit section of the show. The floors shook and the mezzanine swayed as the crowd jumped to its feet during the opening notes of "Look What You've Done To Me" (from the movie Urban Cowboy) which was followed by singalong versions of "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle."

The band left to a thunderous round of applause and quickly returned to an even louder and more deafening ovation for the encores, which included "What Can I Say" and "JoJo."

Throughout the evening Scaggs was in excellent voice. His vocals were both soulful and bluesy. His guitar work was spot-on and his band functioned as a well-oiled machine. The mostly middle-aged audience ate it up from the first through the last note. As the crowd left the building, a group of exuberant fans were seen swaying down the sidewalk, leaning on each other and belting out "One more for-r-r-r-r the road..."

Photo Credit
Christine Connallon (view more concert photos)
[Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon].

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