Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums – Week 5

For the decade of the 2020’s, I plan on listening to approximately one album per week from Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. I will be posting my brief thoughts on each album here.

#496 – Boz Scaggs by Boz Scaggs

Atlantic, 1969

Mirroring last week’s album, which was the first RS500 entry that I’d previously made up my mind on, we’ve reached the first artist that I’ve really made my mind up on: I love Boz Scaggs. However, listening to this — his self-titled, official debut album — was a perfect history lesson for me, since I had actually never heard it before.

A handful of aspects about Boz Scaggs surprised me. This early output, on the tail-end of the 60’s, sees a Boz who’s pre-yacht-rock (I’ll be honest, YACHT ROCK IS MY JAM). Instead, he’s willing to basically do anything. With a voice that hasn’t quite yet evolved into the more distinct tenor we’d hear on hits like “Lowdown,” he tries his hand at country and blues, with an A-list backing band who were able to color the blues with the grandiosity of classic rock.

The album’s strengths are displayed and summarized most clearly on the 12-plus minute long “Loan Me a Dime,” the slow-burning classic that gives Boz Scaggs as much time to show off his vocals as it gives to each of the musicians. The song basically opens with a guitar solo, and you don’t hear Scaggs since until two and a half minutes in, but once you do, you get a clear picture of the artist and singer he would become.

I don’t fully understand the argument of this album being one of the 500 greatest of all time, but it would easily be a contender if we were discussing the 500 greatest debut albums of all time. And it excites me to now think that we’ll be seeing Scaggs one or two more times through the course of this list.

(Shoutout to my mom for raising me with his song “Georgia” — that song’s a classic!)

Author’s Note: The reason I created this website and write these articles stems from my belief that artists should support other artists, in the same way that art inspires art. My debut album Unfall is out now, and I’d love for you to hear it.

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