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Monday, Nov. 25, 2013

Boz Scaggs: The Essential Boz Scaggs (Columbia/Legacy)

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In reputation, Boz Scaggs’ career trajectory seems an odd evolution from gritty bluesman to urbane R&B performer. But hearing the early tracks on Scaggs’ two-disc career overview proves that it all makes sense. Scaggs’ 1969 debut album for Columbia was a soul review setup, with intimations of jazz fronted by his powerful vocals. By the mid-’70s when he reached his stride as a hitmaker with “Lowdown” and “Lido Shuffle,” he adjusted to changing times by shifting the accents rather than jettisoning his style. The Essential includes more recent tracks, including his collaboration with Booker T. & The MGs.