April 4, 2015
Music Reviews: The Latest From Death Cab for Cutie, Ludacris, The Prodigy and More
Boz Scaggs’ “A Fool To Care” ****
Fifty years since his debut as a “blue-eyed soul” singer, Boz Scaggs has delivered a beautifully compelling album of mostly covers, mining the blues, jazz and even the mid-tempo kind brand of croon-ready songs that made him famous. This album offers up a rich musical tapestry and a fresh walk through some of the edges of musical history.
Scaggs’ voice, too is just as smooth and versatile as ever. The album’s straight-forward production gives it an intimate feel. His band is tight, anchored by Ray Parker Jr. on guitar and Steve Jordan on drums. Scaggs duets well with his two high-profile guests, Bonnie Raitt and Lucinda Williams and in all shows himself to be an effective all-around showman. This album succeeds, not only because it is tightly put together, but also because it doesn’t take an easy route with its material choices. Not that Scaggs has ever been known for making typical choices, but in all, this record shows many sides to his performing style quite well.
“A Fool to Care” in the end has a down-to-earth authenticity and it leaves you wondering what is coming up next. This record was obviously made with both love and skill.
“Full of Fire” Here, Scaggs delivers a top-notch Al Green cover, complete with the funky smoothness that such an endeavor by definition demand. It’s a tall task and he more than succeeds.
“Last Tango on 16th Street” Scaggs take on this Jack Walroth song is the stuff of late-night cabarets. In a different light, it would make an excellent Tom Waits song, but Scaggs adds an unexpected tenderness to this track.
“There’s a Storm Comin’” This Richard Hawley track is given a beautiful reading and Jim Cox’s piano work here brings to mind a gentle snowfall.