Hi there and welcome to On the Record with Ben. If you found this blog, I am truly sorry. Really, turn back now because itâ€™s like potato chips, you will be coming back for more. This blog is about entertainment, my old beat as a college scribe for The Fourth Estate at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay.
Except now I plan to dig a little deeper than the local music scene at the dive bar down the road from campus. Deep enough to share bits and pieces of my record collection, yes vinyl, those old round black things that were popular way before I was born.
You see to me, nothing is as eclectic as picking up a piece of decades-old music, starting the turntable and hearing the cracks and skips of generations past. Well maybe not that old but you get the idea. Plus I get to stand up and change the sides while entertaining friends.
Aside from the music, any record collector will tell you about the chase of the piece. Rummage sales, thrift stores and wadding though stacks of sides in niche stores.
That brings me to the topic of my first ever blog post, Boz Scaggs.
Well, Boz Scaggs, â€œSilk Degreesâ€ to be technical. I found this beauty nestled in a stack of $1 records deep inside of Amazing Records in Green Bay. A store run by a man named Jim. It was always on the verge of going out of business but never went down the drain. It smelled like an elderly personâ€™s house and it seemed I was always the only person in there. Plus Amazing Records had literally tons of vinyl.
Side Note: (My sources in Green Bay cannot confirm if this store is open still, but the old phone number said the line was disconnected and gave me a California area code to call. I guess they got lots of use from my pizza driver tips.)
Back to Silk Degrees. Iâ€™ve only heard of Boz Scaggs because of his clutch song â€œLido Shuffle.â€ At the time of the purchase I was wasting a Saturday looking for a deal, something new for the turntable and there it was. I believe I bought a couple others that day, maybe some James Taylor and Warren Zevon (More on Zevon later) but it was Boz that stuck with me.
You see the one song I paid a dollar for was on the B-side, the back where filler material usually goes. Most of the time all the singles are on the front side.
As is the case with any record I acquire, unless in bulk, I give both sides a listen and I was blown away by Boz. Maybe it was the funky bass line, or smooth keyboards or his quasi-awkward voice backed by a soulful chorus with the occasional smooth jazzish guitar solo. I canâ€™t leave out the synthesizers or the driving drum beats.Â Plus on vinyl, to this day, it has a warm sound, more rich or pure than any MP3.
To this day â€œSilk Degreesâ€ remains one of my most cherished pieces through and through, plus itâ€™s â€œLido Shuffle,â€ man. No one can ever touch the Boz when its Lido time. Hereâ€™s the proof.