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On Memphis, Boz Scaggs pays tribute to the city's magnificent soul tradition, Al Green, and producer Willie Mitchell and his Royal Recordings studio, whose location and personnel were used to cut it in three days. Produced by drummer Steve Jordan, the core band includes the singer and Ray Parker, Jr. on guitars, and bassist Willie Weeks, augmented by the Royal Horns & Strings, a small backing chorus, sidemen, and guests. Green's influence is celebrated in the opener, Scaggs' "Gone Baby Gone." Its wafting B-3, Rhodes, fluid electric guitars, and a tight backbeat underscore his baritone croon to excellent effect. If there were doubts about the quality of his voice at this juncture, they're immediately dispelled when his sweet falsetto emerges. In his cover of Green's "So Good to Be Here," Scaggs references him but digs deeper into his own trick bag with more rounded, earthier highlights. Then Scaggs begins to move the recording off the ledge a bit. His take on Willy DeVille's "Mixed Up Shook Up Girl" reveals just how deep the late New York rocker's R&B roots really ran as a songwriter. He furthers that notion in covering Moon Martin's "Cadillac Walk," a tune that was a minor hit for DeVille. Scaggs lets raucous, electric roadhouse blues hold sway. These songs draw attention to an under-celebrated singer, songwriter, and performer. Scaggs has always loved the seam where roadhouse blues and R&B meet. The nasty readings of Jimmy Reed's "You Got Me Cryin'" and the Meters' "Dry Spell" attest to that. The latter features a scorching electric dobro solo by Keb' Mo'. Blues are reconstructed in the gorgeous version of "Corrina Corrina." While it is recorded somewhat nearer to its traditional folk origins, Spooner Oldham's Wurlitzer ghosts in from the margins and ushers it in from history to the present era. In Scaggs' smooth voice, the passage of time blurs; it stretches and ultimately ceases to matter. Motown gets the Royal Studios treatment in the glorious reading of Sylvia Robinson's "Love on a Two-Way Street," which features Funk Brother Jack Ashford on vibes. In a real twist, Steely Dan's "Pearl of the Quarter" proves a real set highlight, as early rock & roll, doo wop, Memphis soul, New Orleans R&B, and jazz all come flowing through the band's presentation and Lester Snell's string arrangement. They buoy Scaggs, whose trademark phrasing and emotional honesty offer immediacy and closeness. His own "Sunny Gone" closes it. His lower register is drenched in a meld of R&B, jazz, and his own classic pop balladry -- à la "Harbor Lights" -- carry his delivery which sends Memphis whispering off with a touch of melancholy elegance. This set is a stunner. Scaggs is in full possession of that iconic voice; he delivers songs with an endemic empathy and intimacy that make them sound like living, breathing stories.

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Product Details

Release Date: 03/05/2013
Label: Savoy Jazz
UPC: 0795041788924
catalogNumber: 17889
Rank: 41819


  1. Gone Baby Gone
  2. So Good to Be Here
  3. Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl
  4. Rainy Night in Georgia
  5. Love On A Two Way Street
  6. Pearl of the Quarter
  7. Cadillac Walk
  8. Corrina, Corrina
  9. Can I Change My Mind
  10. Dry Spell
  11. You Got Me Cryin'
  12. Sunny Gone

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Boz Scaggs   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Charlie Musselwhite   Harmonica
Rick Vito   Guitar
Jack Ashford   Vibes
Ben Cauley   Trumpet
Jim Cox   Organ,Piano,fender rhodes
Shannon Forrest   Drums
Jack Hale   Trombone
Charles Hodges   Organ
Jim Horn   Baritone Saxophone
David Hungate   Bass
Spooner Oldham   Organ,Piano
Ray Parker   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Claytoven Richardson   Background Vocals
Willie Weeks   Electric Bass,Upright Bass
Eddie Willis   Guitar
Keb' Mo'   Slide Dobro
Wen-Yih You   Violin
Steve Jordan   Percussion,Drums,Background Vocals
Lawrence "Boo" Mitchell   Percussion,Strings,Horn
Jennifer Puckett   Viola
Jonathan Kirkscey   Cello
Monet Owens   Background Vocals,Spoken Word
Lannie McMillan   Tenor Saxophone
Barrie Cooper   Violin
Jessie Munson   Violin
Mark Wallace   Cello
Beth Luscome   Viola

Technical Credits

Jimmy Reed   Composer
Donald Fagen   Composer
Green   Composer
Boz Scaggs   Composer
Willy DeVille   Composer
Michael Allen   Composer
Willie Mitchell   String Arrangements
Tony Joe White   Composer
Walter Becker   Composer
Niko Bolas   Engineer
Moon Martin   Composer
Sylvia Robinson   Composer
Lester Snell   Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
Ewart Abner   Composer
David Alan Kogut   Art Direction
Carl Wolfolk   Composer
Barry Despenza   Composer
Steve Jordan   Producer,Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
J. Michael Rodriguez   overdub engineer,Vocal Engineer
Traditional   Composer
Matt McGinley   Photo Assistance
Jack "Applejack" Walroth   Composer
Lawrence "Boo" Mitchell   Engineer
Chris Tabarez   Engineer,overdub engineer,Vocal Engineer
BB Keys   Composer

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