Much waited arrivalBoz Scaggs - Fade Into Light
3 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Oct. 10, 2005
Review by Andy ArgyrakisHe may have first debuted as a member of the Steve Miller Band, but Boz Scaggs went on to much greater notoriety as a solo artist. He became one of the heaviest hitters throughout the 1970s thanks to his combination of jazz, pop, easy listening and blues spanning a string of smashes like "Lowdown," "Lido Shuffle," "Look What You've Done To Me" and "You Can Have Me Anytime." But despite that parade, the blue-eyed soul man was conspicuously absent from the spotlight throughout most of the 1980s, instead retreating to own a club in San Francisco and rake in past royalties. However, that all changed come a late 80s rebirth, tour with Steely Dan's Donald Fagan and a handful of additional solo albums throughout the 1990s.
One of the most sought after endeavors from that period was 1999's Fade Into Light, available only as a Japanese import in the States that became an instant collector's item fetching around $50 on various online auctions. In fact the demand's been so high, especially following Scaggs' 2004 double disc Greatest Hits Live, that Virgin is re-releasing the effort in America. For those who haven't already had the chance to hear it (or previous owners who want to upgrade to this DualDisc version) it's basically an odd mix of new songs, oldies revisited, a cover and bonus DVD footage. The two most familiar cuts are the Scaggs' original "Lowdown" and the Teddy Pendergrass remake "Love T.K.O.," neither of which are especially engaging, though both are pleasant in the stripped down soulful sense. Other unplugged selections include "Harbor Lights," "We're All Alone" and "Simone," all of which are placid and soothing, but lag behind with a somewhat sluggish quality.
"I'll Be the One" resounds with a more lively temperament, melding Scaggs' silky pipes against electronic arrangements, while "Some Things Happen" skips with a retro dance shuffle. "Time" is also a track worth paying attention to, serving as the disc's most rousing number that's spiced up with a bustling bass line and brisk guitar parts. It's too bad the disc's remainder doesn't lean in this direction because that's clearly where Scaggs best stands out as a vocalist, especially considering the 70s AM sound is no longer vogue. But as it rests right now, the singer/songwriter falls many steps short of truly creating a masterpiece, though it's still worthy for completists and is thankfully finally available at a more reasonable price.
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