Today in Soul Music History (June 15): Boz Scaggs gave us the "Lowdown"

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    In the early 70s Rock and Soul man Boz Scaggs was a talented singer and songwriter who hadn’t quite broken through. He had received critical acclaim and a small but loyal West Coast audience for both his early solo recordings and tour work, and he was known in other parts of the US for his time as a vocalist in rock star Steve Miller’s band.

    That would all change in 1976, as Scaggs worked on what would become his signature album, Silk Degrees. It was a disc jam-packed with earworms, but the initial single, “It’s Over,” stalled just inside the Top 40. Fortunately, a Cleveland are disc jockey went straight to the album and started playing a sly, urbane cut that lit up the phones of the station immediately.

    In the early 70s Rock and Soul man Boz Scaggs was a talented singer and songwriter who hadn’t quite broken through. He had received critical acclaim and a small but loyal West Coast audience for both his early solo recordings and tour work, and he was known in other parts of the US for his time as a vocalist in rock star Steve Miller’s band.

    That would all change in 1976, as Scaggs worked on what would become his signature album, Silk Degrees. It was a disc jam-packed with earworms, but the initial single, “It’s Over,” stalled just inside the Top 40. Fortunately, a Cleveland are disc jockey went straight to the album and started playing a sly, urbane cut that lit up the phones of the station immediately.

    “Lowdown” was written by Scaggs and future Toto keyboardist David Paich, and was beautifully arranged with a light disco beat, organ, and a killer rhythm section, members of which went on to become leaders in the “Yacht Rock” world. Layered on top of the irresistible groove was Scaggs’ uniquely soulful voice and a call and response with background singers, Jim Gilstrap, Marty McCall, Carolyn Willis and Augie Johnson (yes, THAT Augie Johnson).

    The radio success of “Lowdown” led Columbia Records to release it as the album’s second single in mid-June 2016. It became Scaggs’ watershed hit, shooting to the upper echelon of Pop and R&B charts around the world, and taking Silk Degrees with it to the top. It also opened up an Imperial Period for Scaggs that continued for a decade, and has allowed him to continue touring with success to this day.

    It has been nearly a half century, but “Lowdown” still sounds as good now as it did on an AM radio in 1976. Check it out below and enjoy.

    By Chris Rizik