Boz Scaggs – Slow Dancer

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Boz Scaggs

  • A KILLER sounding copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from the first note to the last – this Blue Eyed Soul Music is working its magic
  • The brass is lively, the strings sweetly textured, the bass prodigious – what’s not to like?
  • The better copies like these have choruses that get big and loud without straining
  • Allmusic raves that “Slow Dancer features just as many catchy melodic tunes [as Silk Degrees] that meld a kind of boogie pub rock with an organic urban soul… Scaggs delivers some of his best performances…”

This is an album of wonderful white soul music. As a bonus, it also happens to be very well recorded. The problem we ran into on copy after copy was a brighter than ideal tonal balance, hard vocals and, on those copies that don’t extend fully on the top and bottom, a somewhat squashed, peaky midrange.

The better copies deal with those issues and, for the most part solve them. There’s lovely texture to the strings, plenty of punchy rich bass, and all the elements of the recording are properly balanced, something they still knew how to do back in the all analog days of 1974, I’m glad to report.

What amazing sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1974
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

Background Singers You Can “See”

If you have multiple copies of the album and want to do your own shootout with them, here’s a quick and easy test. Listen to how clear and correct the female background singers sound. This test is handy because it has the added benefit of holding true for both sides of the album. (Note that the winner for side one is unlikely to be the winner for side two.)

On opaque copies, they are hard to “see”; on transparent copies they are easy to “see.” On tonally thin copies they will sound edgier and harder than they should. On Tubey Magical copies they will sound full-bodied, solid and real. The clearest, most solid and real background singers are the ones you want.

What We’re Listening For on Slow Dancer

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

You Make It So Hard (To Say No)
Slow Dancer
Angel Lady (Come Just In Time)
There Is Someone Else
Hercules

Side Two

Pain Of Love
Sail On White Moon
Let It Happen
I Got Your Number
Take It For Granted

AMG Review

While Silk Degrees is often touted as Scaggs’ best ’70s album — based largely upon the chart success of “Lowdown” — Slow Dancer features just as many catchy melodic tunes that meld a kind of boogie pub rock with an organic urban soul. Produced by Motown regular Johnny Bristol, Scaggs delivers some of his best performances on the Bristol-penned track “Pain of Love” and the Neil Young meets Marvin Gaye ballad “Sail on White Moon.”

Leave a Reply