The Austin Chronicle

We Were Always Sweethearts

November 8, 2002, Music

From the first bars of Boz Scaggs' 1971 debut near-hit, it's obvious the song is going to be a real chill-bumper. The undeniable bop established by drum king George Rains' stutter beat intro, coupled with a swinging horn arrangement, puts enough glide in "Sweethearts"' stride that even the turntable starts bouncing. One of Texas' finest-ever singer-songwriters had first established himself as a soul mate of Steve Miller, then struck out on his own down Muscle Shoals' way with Duane Allman and some of the most illustrious headnecks in musical history. When it came time for Scaggs' first foray with Columbia Records, the wide-ranging excursions that make 1971's Moments so moving might have sounded a bit slick at first. But looking back, it's clear Scaggs was simply way ahead of the curve in carving out a unique niche for himself. This song is the perfect doorway into what the LP promised, from its guitar-pumped-through-a-Leslie-speaker solo, to the heartwarming flute, right down to the sound of Rains' blood-rushing tom-tom rolls. The key to it all, of course, is Plano's favorite son's vocals. Finally, a singer unafraid to sound exactly like himself. No one's ever done it finer.

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