Boz Scaggs - vocals, guitar; Les Dudek - guitar, vocals; Coke Escovedo - percussion; Chris Michie - guitar; Gene Santini - bass; Rick Schlosser - drums; Joachim Young - keyboards; Mark Jordan - keyboards, guitar; Mel Martin - horns; Pat O'Hara - horns; Tom Slope - horns; Julia Tillman - backing vocals; Caronline Willis - backing vocals; Merna Matthews - backing vocals; Orchestra conducted by Fred Merge
In the early '60s, Boz Scaggs went to college with guitarist Steve Miller and played in the Marksmen, an early band the two had formed together in the Midwest. After college, Miller moved to the west coast, and Scaggs formed a bar band in Dallas, Texas. He was there in 1963 when President Kennedy was assassinated, and left shortly thereafter to see what was going on in the Bay Area, where Miller had settled in the meantime. In 1966, he joined the newly formed Steve Miller Band, and was a key, productive member of the group up through their first two albums, but left two years later, after landing a solo deal with Atlantic records.
Scaggs was already on his way to superstardom when he made this recording, at his hometown Paramount Theater, on the eve of his Slow Dancer album release. Scaggs had always been a favorite of the critics, but had yet to achieve a substantial commercial breakthrough. Slow Dancer would begin his slow ascent to the top of the charts; by the time he released his next album, Silk Degrees, which contained the smash hits "Lido" and "Lowdown," Scaggs was a household name.
This show is light on familiar hits (with the exceptions of "Dinah Flo" and "Slow Dancer"), but certainly doesn't suffer as a result. The background noise attests to Scaggs' clearly exceptional relationship with his audience, who seem ecstatic about seeing Scaggs in so intimate a setting.
Moreover, the audio quality of this show is exceptional. Scaggs played this show at Oakland's Paramount Theatre with a horn and a full string section, which became essential to the delivery of his ballads. Guitarist Les Dudek (a future solo artist and boyfriend of Cher) was included in the band at the time, as was drummer Rick Schlosser, who had done extensive work during the '70s. But the true draw, of course, was Scaggs, and fans of his alter material will delight in this representative recording of Scaggs during his formative years as a solo artist.