As just about anyone over the age of 50 well knows it extremely difficult to find any new music to get excited about these days. I scan the "new releases" on amazon.com each week in the hopes of finding a disc or two that I might actually be interested in. After perusing a list that includes such offerings as "Venemous Rat Regeneration Vendor" by Rob Zombie and "Cometary Orbital Drive to 2199" by Acid Mother's Temple I usually just roll my eyes and give up. However, a few weeks ago I discovered that the venerable American singer, songwriter and guitarist Boz Scaggs was about to release a new album. I had very high hopes for "Memphis" and I must tell you that the artist does not disappoint. If you love R&B add this to your shopping list right away. It is a real treat.
Recorded at Willie Mitchell's legendary Royal Studio, "Memphis" offers up a dozen tunes in a variety of styles. Only about half of the songs were familiar to me but I must say that I enjoyed each and every one of them. My favorite has to be "Rainy Night in Georgia" which turns out to be every bit as compelling as the Brook Benton original. The debut single from the album is a tune from the pen of Willie Deville called "Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl". I had never heard this one before. What a great song! Scaggs also does a fine job on a pair of circa 1970 hits including "Love On A Two Way Street" and a cover of Tyrone Davis' "Can I Change My Mind". Meanwhile, I really enjoyed "Cadillac Walk" with that unmistakable Chuck Berry sound! I was also extremely impressed with a pair of other tunes that I was totally unfamiliar with. Be sure to check out "So Good To Be Here" which was written by Al Green and most especially "Pearl of the Quarter" a tune that was penned by Walter Fagen and Walter Becker of Steely Dan fame. For those who dig the blues there's the down and dirty "Dry Spell". And I would be remiss if I failed to make mention of Boz Scaggs totally original take on the traditional country-blues song "Corrina, Corrina which was written back in 1928.
"Memphis" is a simply a joy to listen to and I suspect will be a steady seller for quite some time to come. I thought that Boz Scaggs was completely in his element with this material. The backup musicians were outstanding and the quality of the recording superb. A well-conceived project flawlessly executed. Very highly recommended!