72 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2004
Man I love this CD. I was 10 years told when it first came out in 1976, or something like that. In 1992, I bought the cassette tape to play in my little surfwagon when I was living in Honolulu. The musicians in this band are awesome. Basically, it's Toto playing in the background to Boz Scaggs' voice. Total groove music! Songs are killer! I know this review probably doesn't help, but you've gotta be into 70's music to fully appreciate this CD. Late!
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2007
Few albums encapsulate America of the mid-70s as smoothly as Scaggs' 1976 commercial breakthrough. The bluesy-rock roots he sang with Steve Miller and the blue-eyed R&B he recorded since his 1969 solo debut provided a foundation for something more polished and sophisticated. The key was a production sound that took in the elements of disco - strings, horns, synthesizers and danceable beats - but didn't cast Scaggs' soul into slickness. The resulting record grabbed dancers by their velvet lapels and compelled radio listeners to the record store. Scaggs made the urbane turn Robert Palmer would visualize on video in the '80s.
"Silk Degrees" wasn't completely unprecedented, even among Scaggs catalog; he'd already been edging in this direction, bathing in the blues and soul of collaborations with Duane Allman and the Muscle Shoals rhythm section. His preceding LP, 1974's "Slow Dancer," boasted horns, strings and some embryonic disco rhythms, but it didn't have Joe Wissert's sharp production or the L.A. studio rhythm section anchored by drummer Jeff Porcaro and bassist David Hungate. The blend of Porcaro's crisp playing and Hungate's lightly funky low strings creates a propulsive groove throughout the album. Their percussive opening on "Lowdown" is just one of the album's great instrumental moments -- and a popular sample to this day.
Scaggs' songs brimmed with optimism, fitting perfectly into an America that was still re-awakening from the debacles of Vietnam and Richard Nixon, and readying itself for a bicentennial celebration. The horn charts carried the warmth of an L.A. summer, and Scaggs is - for the first time at album length - completely at ease. The album sparkles with the band's intense studio craft, but still feels effortless and organic. Scaggs' tenor fits both the mid-tempo numbers and the soaring ballads with memorable perfection. If you were an American high school student in 1976, you no doubt have fond memories of slow-dancing to the six-minute "Harbor Lights."
Legacy's 30th anniversary reissue includes new notes from Scaggs and an essay by Bud Scoppa. Three bonus tracks provide contemporaneous versions of "What Can I Say" "Jump Street" and "It's Over" from a 1976 concert at the Los Angeles Greek Theater. They're a nice coda to the original album, showing how the songs translated to live performance (good, but not as good as the studio versions), but after ten perfect tracks, the reprise is nearly superfluous. [©2007 hyperbolium dot com]
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2000
Boz Scaggs' 'Silk Degrees' is just one of those 70's albums that was soo good that fans and music lovers alike seem to be more familiar with the album as a whole than any one single song. Taken as a whole and on a song-to-song consistent basis, it is that good.
Yes, it was a surprise when Ally McBeal started singing to 'Georgia' on the radio in a recent episode, but like many other fans of this record, I *immediately* recognized the song, the artist, and the album. 'Hey, that's Boz Scaggs, from the Silk Degrees album!'
In fact, 'Georgia' remains one of my favorite cuts from the record, and just an exquisite work of pop art that transcends the decades since its first release. Tender and sweet, but it moves along nicely so that it is difficult to classify its genre. Is it pop? Soul?
'What Can I Say', 'What Do you Want the Girl to Do?', 'It's Over', are some of my other favorites, but it was 'Lido Shuffle' that got me first toe-tapping as a tender nine-year old. Its relentlessly upbeat tempo, fun lyrics and unmistakable chorus are just so wonderfully brassy, and the crisp, finger-snaps accompanying the bass line are just so fresh that it sometimes makes me just want to scream with delight! One of these days I swear I am going to hear that song and just tear my clothes off, run out into the street and do something completely embarrassing and mortifying. I won't care, it will be wonderful, and I'll have Boz to thank for all of it.
In fact, 'Silk Degrees' is so enjoyable precisely because it is such an upbeat, optimistic-feeling, irrepressibly upbeat record. You can tell that Boz and crew really, really feel that everything is going to be alright in the end. And you know, they ended up being right.
35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2007
We have been waiting for a long time for this to be re-mastered and re-released. Sometimes I am not thrilled with the sound of the remastered versions. It seems that so much more can be done, like with the recent re-release of ELO's Out of the Blue (which is very good, but could have been better). Silk Degrees comes alive on this version. The songs, of course, are wonderful, as anyone looking at this already knows and probably has owned it in more than one format. The sound is what draws you in and will keep you coming back, I know I will. Hopefully the rest of the wonderful Scaggs releases will get the same treatment. Be sure to buy this one and maybe there will be more.
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2000
Boz Scaggs happens to be part of a minority. That is, he happens to be able to mix the sound of the blues, jazz, pop and rock in his recordings and it makes for some gorgeous music. Harbor Lights and We're All Alone are very smooth and quite soothing and just make you feel good. Lido Shuffle and Georgia have an uptempo pop/rock beat that almost commands you to get up and dance. I think Boz Scaggs is a very gifted and talented musician and "Silk Degrees" is absolutely, positively worth it's weight in gold. A triumph for Boz.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2000
This CD has a pretty good rhythm and blues sound. The songs are very memorable and have a nice variety to them. Boz had left the Steve Miller Band to try and do more R&B oriented work when he released this album and he found one heck of a studio band in a group that would go on to become Toto, so this album has a real tight sound to it. Silk Degrees is also a great name for this album because that is really what the music sounds like, silk.
There are several great cuts from this album. "Lowdown" is of course the most classic song off this album, and it deserves the recognition it gets, since it's a really great song. This may be the greatest dance song to come out of the last half of the seventies. "Georgia" which was actually featured on a recent Ally McBeal episode may well be my favorite. It's quite a workout song and has a lot of fun in it. "We're All Alone" is a great ballad with downright haunting lyrics at times. "Harbor Lights" is another good ballad, and "Lido Shuffle" gets my toes tapping and makes me want to dance every time it comes on.
In some ways this album at times almost has a funk sound to it and I think it is that above all that helps to try and distinguish it from other 70's R&B music despite the fact that it is awfully close to that sound.
If you like this album and want to try out something a little more soulful, I recommend you check out Joan Armatrading by Joan Armatrading which was actually released the same year, 1976.
I would recommend getting this album if you like to dance, if you like R&B music, or if you like 70's music in general. Overall this is a pretty good album and it works well as an album, as well as the individual songs standing out.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2006
I bought this album in 1977. I loved it. I loaned my first (vinyl) copy to a friend, who actually wore it out and bought me a new one.
He was a jazz pianist who commented that Boz was the only "popular" artist he liked to listen to more than Oscar Peterson.
Over the years, the album keeps growing on me. I've owned and given away probably half a dozen copies. Turning a friend who has missed out on Boz Scaggs into a Boz fan is great fun. People with real musical taste who hear the guy wonder, "How did I MISS this?" Then they have the delight of being able to buy 10 other Boz Scaggs albums, each one with some great cuts.
Silk Degrees has to be heard, if for nothing else the astonishing
drum work of Jeff Porcaro. Unbelievable grooves.
Do yourself a favor. Read the other reviews here, believe them, and spend less than 9 bucks to join one of the happiest musical fraternities on the planet.
Once you are hooked, you'll want to order the concert
DVD, "Boz Scaggs Greatest Hits Live," and watch a perfectly
recorded, high definition, widescreen concert that, if anything,
actually improves on the recorded original. I kid you not!
I do have to disagree with one reviewer, who suggested Boz has
retired. Actually he is quite active, and his recent album "Dig" is one of the best pop albums of the last decade.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Boz Scaggs, or this album in particular, is one of the enduring "guitly pleasures" of my misspent youth in the '70s... Now, I didn't own this album back then -- you didn't have to, since just about every track on here got tons of radio airplay, all through the disco era. It's whiteboy soul of the highest order -- slick, modern, immaculately produced but also soulful and sung with great passion. This 2007 reissue/remaster boasts wonderful sound quality as well as a trio of live tunes ("What Can I Say," "Jump Street" and "It's Over") recorded at a show in LA's the Greek Theater that demonstrate that Scaggs and "Silk Degrees" weren't just an in-the-studio phenomenon. One of the classic '70s albums that really stands up well over the decades.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2004
Quite often, when someone says they like a particular song, it's because of the tune's groove. You see little kids respond to grooves they like by dancing and moving around. That said, "Silk Degrees" is an album that has held up for almost 30 years now, cuz it's a nonstop groove festival! The late, great Jeff Porcaro shows us all (at the tender age of 22) that he understood what made a song great - "It's got a good beat and you can dance to it." Whether it's a ballad, reggae tune, or my all time favorite drum groove ("Lowdown") Jeff keeps the party going. Why do you think they used "Georgia" on an episode of "Ally McBeal?" It gets you up and moving. Actually, I heard "Lowdown" in the grocery store the other day and many people were tapping along on their carts, probably unaware of it, because music is that powerful. When you couple Jeff's drumming with Boz's great voice, and great songs (for years I thought "Lido Shuffle" was "eeo, oh oh oh oh!"), you have the definition of a classic, something that hasn't aged a day and still demands regular rotation. "A thing of beauty is a joy forever" was never more true than for this CD.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2001
One reviewer states that it's "hard to beleive that Boz once ruled the airwaves" with the songs from Silk Degrees. It's not hard to believe for those of us who remember when that was the case.
The trouble is, because Boz's work before and after this LP were rather unremarkable, Silk Degrees has been largely forgotten, which is a shame.
A couple of reviewers have stated that "fans of 70's music" will like this CD. Wrong. Fans of good music from any era will enjoy it. If you're under the impression that the junk which passes as music today is good, you may be in for a shock to hear music on Silk Degrees which is very smooth, tight, clean, melodic and simply enjoyable to listen to. And don't beleive for a second that nonsensical assertion that Silk Degrees is "disco." This sounds nothing like the Bee Gees or Donna Summer.
"Lowdown", "Lido", "We're All Alone" were the big, big songs of their day, and it was amusing to see "Georgia" resurrected on Ally McBeal. As other reviewers have said, there isn't a bad song on here.