If I’ve learned anything during my 30 years as a female rock critic, it’s that the story of popular music has always marginalized women as passengers, not drivers.
In the official record of records, girls are the B-side.
They seem less like interpretations than realizations, proofs that when you truly make someone else’s song your own, you paradoxically restore something essential to it.
Scaggs believes that this album and Memphis, its immediate predecessor, might turn out to be the first two parts of a trilogy, a three-album collaboration with producer Steve Jordan and the band of extraordinarily empathetic musicians they love to work with.
“It’s relaxed and easy, but also very highly charged.
His direction is laser-focused, and his playing is intense.
Bonnie Raitt duets sassily with Scaggs on vocals, and adds her characteristically sizzling slide guitar to “Hell to Pay,” a knowing indictment of corruption on both the personal and political level that Scaggs wrote himself.
That’s why it’s gratifying to see NPR’s Turning the Tables, a list of the 150 greatest albums made by women from 1964 (when the Beatles stormed our shores) to the present.