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Greatest Hits Live

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Album Review

In 2004 Boz Scaggs released his first, and what is likely to be only, officially sanctioned live disc in an extensive career. With 35 years of experience and 13 albums of material to choose from, it also substitutes as a reasonable best-of, although Sony/Legacy's 1997 double set My Time did an excellent job of recapping his studio hits. Even if it's a byproduct of the associated DVD recorded at the same August, 2004 San Francisco gig, this is a lively and professionally performed show that makes up in soul what it lacks in spontaneity. Live hits' discs coming in the twilight of the artist's career are typically dicey affairs, often used as a backdoor way for a new label to release some of the act's best material, the originals of which they do not have rights to. While that may be the case here, this is far from a fast way to make a few bucks off Scaggs' catalog. The seven-piece band (plus two backing vocalists) offer perfect, occasionally inspired renditions of a relatively unsurprising set list. The show is a terrific mix of the lovely, but sometimes sappy Scaggs ballads such as "Heart of Mine," "We're All Alone," "Slow Dancer" and "Look What You've Done to Me" with the blue-eyed funk-pop of "Lowdown," "Jojo," "Georgia," and "Lido Shuffle." The songs that ultimately work the best and are the loosest are the blues-based tracks, in particular a sumptuous version of Bobby "Blue" Bland's "Ask Me 'Bout Nuthin' but the Blues," and nearly a half-hour on disc two dedicated to the jazzy jump blues of "Runnin' Blue" and a fiery "Loan Me a Dime." Scaggs is in terrific voice throughout, the band adapts remarkably well to a varied set list and the live sound is crisp but not sterile. Many of the arrangements, especially of the pop songs, don't differ substantially from the originals, but the effect is lively and with slightly more drive due to the live setting. The rather forced between-song patter very present in the DVD is edited out for the audio version, which provides a better musical flow. Some of these songs never charted, and were not even particularly popular. Many tracks from My Time and even three from the slimmer Hits! collection are missing. But these are minor complaints for an extremely well produced, immaculately played, stylishly presented and dynamic look at Scaggs' diverse catalog.

Customer Reviews

Far Better than Studio Collection

This is a fantastic collection of his best and then some. What makes this so much more enjoyable versus a studio collection are the live and almost jazz club like instrumental and vocal backups - it is worth every penny. The digital video performance great as well if you get a chance to watch it with surround sound. Enjoy!

Boz Man

Underrated and under appreciated , This is the stuff, just sit back and enjoy.

Outstanding

Like several of the reviewers, I recently caught this performance broadcast on one of the HD channels (I cannot remember which one). I knew I had to buy album. I've also queued the DVD on NetFlix. Anyway, the band is super tight and Boz's voice sounds better than it did on the original recordings. I owned quite a few Boz albums on vinyl but never replaced them with CDs. I'm glad I waited because these performances and arrangements are truly better than the originals. Some of the stuff on Silk Degrees and Middle Man suffers from some unfortunate production decisions that were common in the 70s and 80s (way too much synthesizer). That's gone here and the music is better for it.

Biography

Born: June 8, 1944 in Canton, OH

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

After first finding acclaim as a member of the Steve Miller Band, singer/songwriter Boz Scaggs went on to enjoy considerable solo success in the 1970s. Born William Royce Scaggs in Ohio on June 8, 1944, he was raised in Oklahoma and Texas, and while attending prep school in Dallas met guitarist Steve Miller. Scaggs joined Miller's group the Marksmen as a vocalist in 1959, and the pair later attended the University of Wisconsin together, where they played in blues bands like the Ardells and the Fabulous...
Full Bio
Greatest Hits Live, Boz Scaggs
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