New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 7, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas
Herald-Zeitung O'Thursday August 7,1997 O 7 A
u n gAttractions
'■4mBoz Scaggs goes back to his roots
By Michael Kinsman Copley Mews Service
Boz Scaggs has been recording music since the ‘60s, and the R&B singer is about to let the world in on one of his darkest secrets:
“Every album I’ve made is essentially the same album,’’ he admits.
That is to say that the roots of R&B are buried deep in his soul. “Each time I sit down to put together a song, I borrow from the same elements,’’ Scaggs says. “I can’t avoid doing that. Those are the things that make you what you
“You always want to have 'ongs that you can sink four teeth | into.”_
Today, at 53, Scaggs doesn’t let himself get too wrapped up with the trivialities of the times. Confident in his music, he doesn't -feel he has to prove anything to anyone.
That’s one reason why Scaggs chose recently to record “Come on Home,’’ a collection of R&B songs that have inspired him through the years.
“If you’re around long enough and establish yourself, that’s one of the things you get to do,” says Scaggs. “And, when you get the chance, you’re excited, because thore’s so many songs to choose _froiW.”
w Scaggs looked back at R&B history and found many songs he p—wanted to record. In meetings with Harry Duncan, the talent •"booker at Scaggs' San Francisco \club, Slim’s, the list began to -grow.
“We had thousands of songs,” Scaggs says. “It was really tough
Boz Scaggs, whose new album, a collection of R & B tunes, is entitled “Come On Home”.
to decide what ones represented R&B history.”
In the end, Scaggs says, he simply picked songs he liked to sing. There are a couple of Bobby “Blue” Bland songs, a Jimmy Reed song, a Sonny Boy Williamson song, a T-Bone Walker song, an Earl King song and several others, including four Scaggs originals.
“I really wanted this just to be a collection of some of my first
influences,” he says. “I wanted to do many mote songs than an album can holland I really-didn't want to write any songs.”
But. persuaded to write at the 11 th hour, Scaggs sat down and pondered his challenge. Songwriting for him, he says, is usually as easy as falling out of bed, but this time he felt intimidated.
“I had some really wonderful songs already on the album, and it
was as if I had to write some on the same stature or plane as those,” he says. Scaggs responded with some tasty songs of his own that fit right in with the classics. “After Hours,” for example, has the brooding quality of “Stormy Monday,” and a light-dimming sexiness to it.
“This isn’t an album you expect to see hits on,” he says, despite the fact that several of its songs are enjoying radio airplay. “This album comes from a place that is honest and secure. It grooves and it has a sense of humor. It’s comfortable.”
The current Scaggs show features IO songs from his new album, but he says he pulls songs from 1994’s “Some Change” album, as well as from his popular 1976 album, “Silk Degrees.”
“I play songs like ‘Lowdown,’ ‘Miss Sun’ and ‘Look What You’ve Done to Me’ because people expect them,” he says. “They’re good songs that hold up well.”
His current band also affords Scaggs the chance to dip far into his past for 1969’s “Loan Me a Dime,” one of the most scintillating songs of that decade and an underappreciated classic that features some of guitarist Duane Allman’s best-ever guitar work.
Powered by a horn section and Allman’s searing guitar, Scaggs’ vocals on the original track define the classic version of Fenton Robinson's blues song. The song was recorded at tiny Muscle Shoals Recording Studio in northern Alabama shortly after Scaggs left the Steve Miller Band for a solo career.
“It was a magical moment,” Scaggs recalls of the “Loan Me a Dime” session. “It wigmy|va spontaneous arrangement, we decided to do the song and we talked about how we’d approach it. The studio was very small, so we had to figure out how to get the right separation. I wound up singing in the hallway next to the Coke machine, and Duane was in the bathroom with his amplifier.
“The guys who were playing horns worked out their parts as the
song was going along. They were just whispering to each other where they would come in. ... There was no rehearsing.”
But Scaggs hasn’t included the 12-minute song in live shows for many years. “It requires horns, and I don’t always have horns available,” he says. “And there’s never been a guitar player (after Allman) I thought could play it right.
Now Scaggs has guitarist Drew Zingg, whom he met while playing in Donald Fagen’s New York Rock and Soul Revue, and is excited to be playing the song again.
“Ifs good to do that song again,” Scaggs says. “You always want to have songs that you can sink your teeth into.”
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‘Sling Blade9 a powerful film
. By Robert J. Hawkins Copley News Service
( Aw right, then. That Billy Bob ^Thornton makes one fine crazy man. Mmmmmm humh . Mrrmmrmrmrm.
* What’s the movie? “Sling fBlade” (Miramax, R) of course.
* And Billy Bob is that balding, paunchy good old boy who earned an Oscar nomination for Best
^Male Actor for his portrayal of Karl Childers. He won for Best Adapted Screenplay.
_ir_ Thornton’s physical
transformation recalls that of __Daniel Day Lewis as the twisted crippled Christy Brown in “My IbLeft Foot” - metamorphosis .^achieved through acting rather than prosthetics or digital image manipulation.
Kart is a middle-aged resident of a mental hospital, in the ward for the criminally insane. He’s been there since he was 12 years old.
Thornton pours everything into the portrayal. The head hangs slightly unhinged and turned to the left. The eyes stare oft' into an indeterminate distance. The lips are clamped together somewhere between a grin and a frown. The shoulders are rolled forward and the pants are hiked up chest-high.
Karl’s shirt is buttoned to his neck, but you’d never mistake him for a “Friends” regular. He grunts, blinks and pauses for an eternity before speaking, then talks in a gravelly voice that is painful to near at first.
Mainly, though, it is the hands, the constant rubbing of the hands.
He’s only half as charming as Forrest Gump, twice as slow in
the head and with only a fraction of the good fortune.
Kart s only good fortune is in being a small-engine repair savant and in meeting a little boy named Frank (Lucas Black).
After 20 years in the hospital, for slicing up his mama and the guy she was having sex with. Kart is turned out into the humid, insipid, backwater South. It smacks of the 1940s, were it not for the late model cars. He returns to the only town he has known and meets Frank at the laundromat.
Frank and his widow mom Linda (Natalie Comerday) adopt the mannerism-enhanced teddy bear and put him up in the garage out behind their modest little house. The extended family also includes the hometown
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gay/neurotic Vaughan (John Ritter), and the redneck, psychotic bully boyfriend Doyle (Dwight Yoakam).
It is ultimately a volatile mixture. Karl is a pool of high-octane fuel. Doyle is a match, poised to strike.
Doyle’s destiny is to kill someone small and innocent. He is an arrogant, heartless, bigoted, execrable character. Certainly • country singer Yoakam’s finest work to date.
Ritter, too, undertakes a remarkable transformation for his role. His Vaughan is a fleshy geek with a big heart and way too many West Coast touchy-feelyisms in his vocabulary for a small-town Southern cracker.
That’s an enlightening bit of film.
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