BOZ SCAGGS

GIV­ING THE ‘LOW­DOWN’ ON EARLY YEARS, MICHAEL JACK­SON.

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - GO - By Linda Tuc­cio-Koonz lkoonz@new­stimes.com; Twit­ter: @Lin­daTKoonz

Boz Scaggs doesn’t re­mem­ber the first time he per­formed in pub­lic, but he ab­so­lutely re­calls how it felt the first night he was paid to make mu­sic.

Known for his five-decade career, with such hits as “Low­down,” “We’re All Alone” and “Lido Shuf­fle,” Scaggs’ love of mu­sic took root dur­ing his early years in Oklahoma and Texas, where he im­mersed him­self in blues, R&B and rock.

“It starts rather sim­ply, sit­ting with a friend or a cou­ple of friends and play­ing an in­stru­ment and singing along with each other,” he said in a recorded response to email ques­tions. Soon he was sit­ting in with a combo, singing or play­ing har­mon­ica, then the gui­tar.

“I sup­pose one land­mark was the first night I played a full elec­tric set . ... ,” he said of the New Year’s Eve he filled in for a bass player at a Dal­las motel party. The de­tails are fuzzy, but Scaggs said he prob­a­bly was “wear­ing some sort of jazzed up cloth­ing” for the oc­ca­sion, and likely earned be­tween $15 and $25.

“It was a spe­cial feel­ing to have per­formed a ser­vice, to

have turned peo­ple on and to have had so much fun and be handed what at that time seemed like a gen­er­ous com­pen­sa­tion.”

He said he has heard many other mu­si­cians talk about that same mo­ment when “there is an ex­change be­tween this thing you are pas­sion­ate about do­ing and get­ting paid for it.”

Scaggs, whose new al­bum, “Out of the Blues,” comes out July 27, will per­form at Stam­ford’s Palace The­atre on Thurs­day, June 14. He said he and his band have an ex­ten­sive reper­toire to share.

“I like to play those few things that every­one rec­og­nizes from the ra­dio and from CDs and wher­ever, be­cause they give me an im­me­di­ate con­nec­tion with my au­di­ence, and then see where we can go.

“I’m play­ing more bluesy and R&B things these days, along with a smat­ter­ing of songs from the last cou­ple al­bums that peo­ple may not have heard. I talk some­times about the prove­nance of some of these songs. It re­ally varies with the au­di­ence and sit­u­a­tion that night.”

Aside from ask­ing about his concert plans, we de­cided to see if Scaggs could con­firm the va­lid­ity of an in­trigu­ing no­ta­tion we found on­line about a 1976 in­ter­view he did with Creem magazine. The re­port said Michael Jack­son had recorded ver­sions of two Scaggs hits, “We’re All Alone” and “What Can I Say,” but never re­leased them.

“It is true to my knowl­edge as far as I know,”

Scaggs replied, but he said since he never heard the record­ings, he can’t be sure. What he’s more clear about is that Jack­son recorded “We’re All Alone,” be­cause he heard that from the head of a sub­sidiary of CBS Records, where he and Jack­son were both un­der con­tract.

“... Michael was prob­a­bly record­ing a lot of ma­te­rial at that time. He spent a lot of time in stu­dio. There was a great de­mand for any­thing he did. That song had been made a world­wide hit by Rita Coolidge. It got all around. I can see Michael do­ing that . ... Maybe one will pop up one day. I would love to hear it.”

Jeff Golden / Getty Images

Boz Scaggs will per­form at Stam­ford's Palace The­atre on June 14.

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