Rock & Soul Fave Boz Scaggs Returns to Cincinnati Following Cancellation Earlier This Year

Scaggs headlines the Taft Theatre on Wednesday, Oct. 30

Oct 28, 2019 at 12:12 pm

click to enlarge Boz Scaggs on the cover of his 1980 'Hits!' collection - Columbia/Legacy
Boz Scaggs on the cover of his 1980 'Hits!' collection
Seventies Blues/R&B/Rock singer Boz Scaggs was supposed to perform earlier this year at Rising Star Casino in Indiana, but undisclosed health issues caused the show (and other dates) to be canceled on doctor's orders. Now, Scaggs is back on the road and returning to Cincinnati proper for a show in the big room at the Taft Theatre.

Scaggs plays the Taft this Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $38.50-$$63.50.

A lot of casual music listeners may believe Scaggs began his career with Pop/Rock staples like “Lido Shuffle” and “Lowdown” from his 5X platinum album Silk Degrees. In fact, that 1976 landmark release was Scaggs' seventh solo album, and by then his music career was nearly 20 years in the making. He's since gone from finding his greatest commercial success in the '70s to maintaining an active recording and performing schedule in his 70s.

Scaggs was born in Canton, Ohio, but his salesman father moved the family frequently, finally landing in the Dallas, Texas area. Scaggs attended a Dallas private school, where he acquired his nickname from a classmate (William became Bosley which became Boz) and a new friend, guitarist Steve Miller. At 15, Scaggs became the vocalist for Miller's band, the Marksmen, which ultimately led the pair to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison together, where they teamed up in a variety of Blues bands. Scaggs quit school and knocked around Europe, finding his way into the English and Swedish Blues scenes.

In 1965, Scaggs recorded his debut solo album, Boz, which sank like a stone. By 1967, he had moved to San Francisco and reconnected with an old friend; Scaggs played guitar (he learned at age 12) and sang occasional lead vocals on Steve Miller's first two albums, Children of the Future and Sailor, both released in 1968. That year, Scaggs signed a solo deal with Atlantic Records; his eponymous 1969 sophomore album, featuring Duane Allman on guitar, was critically acclaimed but commercially disappointing.

Scaggs' fortunes changed with Columbia Records; 1971's Moments and 1972's My Time, sold decent numbers, but it was 1974's Slow Dancer, helmed by Motown songwriter/producer Johnny Bristol, that saw the emergence of Scagg's slick Soul persona. Slow Dancer made it better than halfway up the Billboard 200 album chart, and softened the ground for 1976's Silk Degrees; the album's session band formed Toto. Silk Degrees earned a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year, and Scaggs and co-writer David Paich won the Grammy for R&B Song of the Year for the million-selling “Lowdown.”

Scaggs' never hit those heights with subsequent recordings, although 1980's Middle Man featured two Top 20 singles and he had a sizable hit with “Look What You've Done to Me” from the Urban Cowboy soundtrack and “Miss Sun,” a new track included on his 1980 Hits! compilation.

Scaggs recorded sporadically thereafter, releasing only two solo albums in a 14-year span; in that time, he did a three-year stint with the Donald Fagen/Michael McDonald project outfit, The New York Rock and Soul Revue. In the late '90s, he returned to more traditional R&B, and in the new millennium, he dabbled in Jazz, reteamed with Fagen and McDonald in the Dukes of September Rhythm Revue, and released his Roots/Blues triptych — 2013's Memphis, 2015's A Fool to Care (which featured appearances by Lucinda Williams and Bonnie Raitt) and last year's Out of the Blues.

Boz Scaggs is not just a renaissance musician but a living example of the history of contemporary music.