LISTEN TO BOOMTOWN RADIO! “ALL the Music That Matters for the Generation That Created Rock 'n' Roll”

Slow Dancer (1974)

A Hidden Treasure From Rock & Soul’s Golden Era

A series of posts about albums you may have missed back in the day when so much good music was coming out on nearly a daily basis. But now that the real “good stuff” is few and far between, you might want to backtrack and add these gems to your music collection.

It happens so often in rock music. Artists struggle for years with albums the critics love but record buyers ignore. Then they finally break through to a wider audience and go on to long, successful careers. Yet, those earlier albums remain, for the most part, ignored.

Such is the case with Boz Scagg’s “Slow Dancer” in 1974. It was his 6th album and his 6th commercial failure. Yet, many die hard Boz fans will tell you “Slow Dancer” is his best album. We don’t think they’re wrong.

William Royce Scaggs was given the nickname “Bosley” while still in grade school. It was quickly shortened to “Boz” and obviously stuck. Boz was an original member of the Steve Miller Band (having been friends with Miller since the age of 12).

Whether you call it “white” or “blue-eyed” soul, Boz as a solo artist has always been one of the best of the white boys to sing rhythm and blues.

For “Slow Dancer,” Scaggs teamed with veteran Motown songwriter and producer Johnny Bristol. Bristol had produced “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” for Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, “Twenty Five Miles” for Edwin Starr, “What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)” for Junior Walker and “Someday Will Be Together” for Diana Ross and the Supremes (that’s Bristol himself singing the male vocal to Ross’ lead).

(In fact, 1974 was a very good year for Bristol. He also scored his one and only hit as a singer with “Hang on in There Baby,” which hit the Top 10 in both the US and the UK. )

Together or separately, Bristol and Scaggs composed 9 of “Slow Dancer’s” 10 tracks. They include:

“You Make It So Hard (To Say No)”

“Slow Dancer”

“Angel Lady (Came Just in Time)”

“There Is Someone Else”

“Pain of Love”

“Sail on White Moon”

“Let It Happen”

“I Got Your Number”

“Take It for Granted”

The one song on the LP that neither man had a hand in writing was “Hercules” (no relation to the Elton John tune) penned by veteran songsmith Allen Toussaint.

The entire album features lush orchestrations with full string and horn sections. At some points, it almost sounds Boz is making his bid to become our generation’s Sinatra. Regardless, there is not one wasted track on the entire album. Each one is a polished gem of soul and sensuous sophistication.

“Slow Dancer” was Boz Scaggs’ best-selling album to that point, but that’s not saying much. It peaked at #81 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Albums and then sank like a stone.

That Boz was slightly ahead of his time should be obvious. His next album, released 1976, was “Silk Degrees.” That record hit the top of the charts worldwide, spun off multiple hit singles and went 5X Platinum.

Over time, many have finally discovered to sonic smoothness of “Slow Dancer.” The album has been certified Gold. But still, too few people really know this rare pop gem.

Do yourself a favor. Track down a copy. Then settle back in your favorite easy chair with your favorite adult beverage close at hand, close your eyes and let Boz show you just how good a white boy can sing those rhythm and blues.

Pop Up Player

Latest Posts–Music

  • The Essential Boomer Album Collection - Part 4
    The Doors (1967) Was there ever a debut album as brilliant as the Doors? Recorded in the summer of 1966, released in January of 1967 and on almost every rock radio station and Baby Boomer’s…
  • The Songs Lennon & McCartney Gave Away
    While we all marvel at the astounding success the Beatles had when Beatlemania broke big throughout the world – landing multiple songs of theirs in the charts simultaneously, what makes their success even more remarkable…
  • That One-Hit Wonder: Lou Reed?
    Lou Reed is a giant in rock & roll history. As one of the key members of the Velvet Underground in the late 1960s, commercial success may have eluded him; but the Velvets were a…
  • The Essential Boomer Album Collection - Part 7
    What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye (1971) The late 60’s and early 70’s were not good times for Marvin Gaye: tax trouble with the IRS, a failing marriage to the “boss’ daughter” (Anna Gordy), a…
  • Now It Can Be Told!
    From the pages of 16 Magazine, what Sally Fields really thinks of the Monkees, Bobby Sherman and more!  
  • How the Who Finally Cracked the U.S. Market
    More than anything, the Who craved success in America. Despite overwhelming success in their native England, the band had trouble selling records in the States. They had reached the American Top 10 with their singles…