• Artist: Boz Scaggs
  • Album: Silk Degrees
  • Label: Columbia
  • Year: 1976
  • Producer: Joe Wissert
  • Engineer: Tom Perry
  • Studio: Davlen Sound Studios and Hollywood Sound Studios, Los Angeles, CA


We can learn from the Disco Era. Some talented folks were involved.

With a lead vocal that slides in and out of falsetto, a supportive, present reverb is perfect. Sounds like a plate plus lazy pre-delay, with it's upper midrange emphasis, but it's hard to be sure. I hear it as a slightly right-heavy stereo plate. Anyone out there able to confirm?

The same plate reverb adorns the snare, but without pre-dalay. It adds texture, sustain, and some magic dust, fusing into the snare sound itself.

Using reverb for contrast is a great FX motivation. This leads to an effective contrast between the tastefully wet Lead Vocal (see above) and the almost completely dry background vocals ("Ooooooh Oooh. I wonder wonder wonder wonder whoooooo?").

2 hi-hats is generally a recipe for disaster -- but not when the drummer is Steve Porcaro. It is inspiringly crazy how deep the feel, the groove, and -- ultimately -- the rhythmic foundation is. Musical drummers are too rare, but so appreciated.
About the hi-hats.
I hear the right panned hi-hat as the original, tight performance. Audience perspective. The left hi-hat is a 16th-note-oriented overdub. The stereo result is a wide hi-hat when they hit together, and musically driving left/right and right/left motion when they don't. Spatial counterpoint.

The high melodic hook -- Da do da Dah Da-dah Dah. Da do du dah dah. -- is often assumed to be flute. It is not. Listen carefully and you'll hear it is flute plus trumpet. It's a new timbre, via the merging of the carefully played instruments.
The concept of layering instruments doesn't stop there. Listen to the back beat -- 2 and 4. The snare owns the back beat most of the time, and this tune is no exception. But the players, sensitive and obsessive, added an electric guitar 'chah' on 2 and 4, layering it in with the snare for a new timbre and texture on the backbeat.
Or did they? It's ultimately a 2-bar phrase. The first bar has percussive, staccato electric guitar on beats 2 and 4, with snare. The second bar? Electric guitar enhances the timbre only on beat 2. Beat 4, on which the electric bass offers its hooky, high note embellishment, has no room for a basic back beat. The snare plays grace notes and fills. The electric guitar gets out of the way.


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