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Fans who have followed Boz Scaggs’ remarkable career dating back to the late Sixties with the Steve Miller Band; his solo triumphs with such classic albums as Silk Degrees (1976) and Middle Man (1980); and the splendid assurance of late-period high points like Some Change (1994) and Dig (2001), will instantly recognize Scaggs’ characteristically deft touch as a singer.
“I’m at a point where I’m having a lot of fun with music, more than ever,” Boz Scaggs says about his spellbinding new album, A Fool to Care. “It’s like I’m just going wherever I want to go with it.”
You can hear that sense of fun, as well as that ability and willingness to wander in any musical direction throughout the album’s twelve tracks. The inspirational heart of those songs lies in the sounds of Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma that played such a vital role in shaping Scaggs’ musical sensibility, but they venture forth boldly from there, ranging from the seductive New Orleans rumble of the title track to the wry social commentary of “Hell to Pay” and a heartbreakingly wistful interpretation of The Band’s “Whispering Pines.”
What ultimately communicates about A Fool to Care is how fully Boz Scaggs inhabits these songs. They seem less like interpretations than realizations, proofs that when you truly make someone else’s song your own, you paradoxically restore something essential to the composition.