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One Track Mind: Boz Scaggs/Duane Allman “Loan Me A Dime” (1969)

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Sometimes it's hard to believe that the blue-eyed soul singer responsible for such sophisticated dance classics like "Lido Shuffle" and "Jojo" during the age of disco came from some pretty organic beginnings. Boz Scaggs left the Steve Miller Blues Band in 1968 and set out to become a star in his own right. His self-titled first effort toward that goal may not have set the charts on fire in 1969, but it wasn't because he didn't have star power behind it. The sessions were produced by Rolling Stone Magazine founder Jann Wenner and backed by Muscle Shoals' finest. It was a fine mix of natural soul, rock and blues.

But the standout track is the long one: that twelve minute blues lament "Loan Me A Dime". Forget that Scaggs delivers only an uncharacteristic so-so vocal performance on it. Forget that he covered this Fenton Robinson song and tried unsuccessfully to pass it off as his own. None of that matters. Not when this track is essentially a showcase for the electric guitar skills of one Duane Allman. Only one word I'm going to use to describe Duane's contribution to this selection: da-yum.

The producer must have been similarly blown away, too. His rag's rankings of all time greatest guitarists from a couple of years ago put only Hendrix ahead of Allman. Quibble with this list as you may (and oh, do I ever) but the 22 year old then-unkown Southern boy made quite an impression to some important people. And within the two remaining years of his life Duane Allman made quite an impression on everyone else. The meteoric rise begins here.

"One Track Mind" is a weekly drool over a single song selected on a whim and a short thesis on why you should be drooling over it, too.

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About Pico

  • Mark Saleski

    i’ll be looking forward to this every week. great series.

    and you’re right, people would be surprise as to the roots of Boz Scaggs

    p.s. (your picture is not appearing because it needs to be wrapped in a img tag)

  • http://daslob.blogspot.com/ Pico

    Thanks for the kind remarks, Mark!

    Funny, the pic looked ok on preview. But I got some tips that should help for the next time. Appreciate the heads up.

    -P

  • http://www.riverheightsconsulting.com Frank Hurtte

    you are so right about Mr. Allman. I was in high school playing in a band with some kids who went to the University of Illinios. They came to a gig along with an 8-Track – yep it was a long time ago – of the Allman Brothers first album. I couldnt believe my ears. In a few months it was playing everywhere. But Duane Allman was a guitar god…

  • http://www.butterflyfiction.com/journal/ Connie Phillips

    This article has been placed at the Advance.net websites, a site affiliated with about 12 newspapers.

    One such site is here.

  • Jeff

    I remember reading an interview with Mr. Scaggs in which he said that he didn’t know who wrote Loan Me a Dime, although he tried to find out at the time he recorded it. When he was contacted be the writers agents he gladly paid the royalties for the song. I believe he also said that he only had a week to record the entire album and happened to have the flu that week, hence the rather rough vocals.

  • Bryant Waters

    I still have the fondest memories as a member of the University of Maryland Lacrosse team in the mid 1970’s. As we embarked upon our road trips to our away games down tobacco road and up the northern seabord, we always made certain of two things. #1. We were wired for loud sound, and #2. “Eat a Peach” and “Live at the Fillmore” were on board. “Ramblin’Man”, “Ain’t Wastin’ No More”, “Dreams”, “Southbound” and “Whipping Post” played continuously as 36 “Scholar Athletes” sang in less than perfect harmony. As we improvised, and used our lacrosse sticks for guitars, we did our best imitations of Duane, Dickey, and Barry.

    At the time, we thought that was the “baddest” music around. Definitely the greatest “Road Music”. Little did we know that two of Skydog’s best pieces of work were laid down well before the Allman Brothers were formed. “Somebody loan me a dime” and “Hey Jude”(Wikson Pickett) weren’t anywhere close to being on our radar scdeen. It was 20 years later before I had the pleasure of hearing some of the greatest guitar work ever. As a result hearing these two songs, I have learned to always keep a couple of burned copies of these songs in my car at all times. As it often happens, I’ll be sitting in a bar listening to the blues and people talking smack about someone like Eric Clapton. At that moment, I’ll ask them if they ever heard Pickett’s version of “Hey Jude”. As they look dumbfounded, I quickly retrieve a copy out of my car and tell them to go home and listen to the guitar work that blew away E.C. himself. So much so that Duane “SKYDOG” Allman was asked to join Derek & the Domino’s. After all who do yhey think was playing the slide in “Layla”.
    In closing, I might add to add that after our games, which we usually one, we would mellow out a little bit.Start off with a little “Sweet Jane” (Lou Reed), “In memory of Elizabet Reed”, some Springsteen, The Eagles, David Bowie etc.. But without fail, we always ended up with our favorite back to reality somg by Bob Dylan. You guessed it! “Rainy Day Woman” (evertbody must get stoned).

  • http://daslob.blogspot.com/ Pico

    I agree.

  • Bodiafqs

    Punk not dead

  • Tom

    In 1970 I was in high school when a friend loaned me the Box Scaggs album. I was blown away by the guitar on loan me a dime. To this day I keep that recording on my ipod and listen to it every week. I like a lot of other guitar players like Buddy Guy, Bloomfield, the Kings and Clapton. I saw Duane Allman about 9 times before he died and was blown away. Their shows started at 9 pm and always went til sun up. I miss those days.

  • Abigail

    It’s funny. I never understood – although it is a good song but does not highlight Duane as in other songs – why Hey Jude is always mentioned as the be all of music that everyone always immediately mentions as if it is obvious that a star was born. Well, this Loan me a dime shows Duane much much better. I love it together with his version of Going Down Slow (the integrity in his singing included). What beauty God made when He made this soul. And that soul or a part of it we can still listen to. Great comment, Mr. One Track Mind and great choice. I love the above comments too. Lucky ones who saw him live.

  • Bluehouse

    This may be somewhat ungenerous to Boz. In concert performances in the early to mid-seventies, he acknowledged Fenton Robinson’s authorship of “Loan”, and as a previous writer noted he paid the royalties when he found out who wrote it.