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Boz Scaggs (1969): Loan Me a Dime

As I’ve previously mentioned, this month marks the 1st anniversary of TheBluesBlogger site. This time last year, because of the circumstances surrounding my own health, I needed an outlet for my creativity that I had bottled up for many years…The persona of TheBluesBlogger became that means and slowly I have written articles that represent some of my most precious moments of my past musical recollections. Most of my posts discuss particular albums, but on this piece, I was haunted by a specific song.

I’m sure all of you had the experience when a song, for some reason or another manages to get into your head, and will continue to play on for days… I recall my brother practicing his guitar to the tune Loan Me a Dime in the middle of the night. Some of the tastiest licks I have ever heard him play along to…Then I finally realized why the significance of the song played through my reflective mind… As so much has changed in the world around us in 40 years, many things in life still do come full circle.

Back in 1969

my father suffered a heart attack that essentially changed the setting in our household. Life got a whole lot more serious and it was the music that my brother played in the early mornings that stuck in my mind; capturing my youthful imagination. My brother had his own way of dealing with the situation and I recall his playing taking a poignant spin into a more expressive and melodic tone. It always was, and I guess it always will be, the music that gets many of us through the difficult times we face in our lives.

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Boz Scaggs

was born Royce Scaggs, June 8, 1944, in Ohio. Scaggs moved to Plano, Texas at an early age. His interest in music was sparked by his childhood friendship with Steve Miller. They were budding young artists that both attended St. Mark’s Preparatory School in Dallas. It was Miller who taught Scaggs the fundamentals of guitar playing and gave him the encouragement to sing.

In the early 1960s Scaggs and Miller formed the Marksmen Combo and honed their skills by playing local venues. Several years later, they both headed north to attend the University of Wisconsin in Madison; mostly due to its proximity to Chicago’s flourishing blues culture. In Madison they met another developing musician, Ben Sidran and together performed as the Ardells.

After a brief stint in Europe, Scaggs established a home base in Stockholm Sweden, where he released an album for Karusell Records. The release in 1965 was a collection of folk songs that had some success, but was relatively obscure in the United States.

Boz received an urgent message from Miller who moved to San Francisco and had formed The Steve Miller Blues Band. Miller had been offered a contract with a major record label and wanted his old friend to share in his achievement… Scaggs would record two albums with Miller, Children of the Future and Sailor. But his restless nature would drive him to strike out on his own once more.

His Self Titled Debut

entitled Boz Scaggs in 1969 was produced by Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner. The signature song, the 12 minute Fenton Robinson composition Loan Me A Dime, featured some serious guitar work by none other than Duane Allman, who was unknown at the time. The album established Scaggs as a gifted songwriter and musician. It was called,

“a milestone … full of bluesy rock aggressiveness and spooky ballads.”—Steven X. Rea-


Despite some great critical reviews, it was not a commercial success. However Boz’s album and Duane Allman’s extraordinary guitar work obviously made quite an impression on a number of people… Including a 9 year old boy, who on his top bunk bed was serenaded by the sweet soulful bluesy early morning sounds.

Although Boz Scaggs is perhaps best known for his creative soul music during the 1970s, on albums such as Slow Dancer and Silk Degrees, this versatile performer has recorded many other styles of music as well, ranging from rhythm and blues and folk to urban pop… But it’s his version of the song Loan Me a Dime that will forever remind me of a time that through great personal change, soothed me during a difficult time. Even after nearly 40 years I still find this tune as powerful to me as it was back then…

Yes there was the law suit between Fenton and Boz… I’ve heard Robinson’s original version, and it’s excellent. So good, that it obviously influenced Boz. But that is not the subject of this post. It’s Boz’s timeless cover of the song with the unforgettable Duane Allman and a moment that I have personally captured while strolling through time.

The Blues Blogger

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33 Responses to “Boz Scaggs (1969): Loan Me a Dime”

  1. Dick Deluxe October 13, 2008 at 10:51 am #

    Good post BB. I knew Fenton pretty well and have met and played a couple of times with Boz over the years. The bs of the label putting Boz as writer still bugs him but I think he really had no control. As you suggest it’s a great arrangement and performance-the whole album to me is a high water in Boz’s career.

  2. tricia October 16, 2008 at 10:35 am #

    Congratulations on your anniversary. Thanks so much for sharing this. I haven’t heard it in years. Brings back good memories for me also. Hope you don’t mind–I am adding you as friend and faving your blog. .

  3. The Blues Blogger October 16, 2008 at 7:08 pm #

    Thanks Tricia… I don’t mind at all. I’m flattered to be included as one of your friends and that you will also add me as one of your favs … Glad you enjoyed the post. Feel free to stop by and say hello anytime.

  4. fred house November 14, 2008 at 6:11 pm #

    The first time I heard this song I was totally blown away by Duane Allman guitar work–IMO one of the greatest solos ever recorded. As I recall this song was voted number 1 in SF as the song to take to a desert island. I can sing every guitar lick as I’ve listened to this so many times. It took me around the US in my van many times. thanks for your memories.

  5. Russ May 11, 2009 at 2:00 pm #

    Hey BB,

    I’m trying to find out who the guest guitarist was that played on “Lone me a dime”? I’m not sure if it was the original recording or the live recording. Can you help???

    Russ

  6. The Blues Blogger May 12, 2009 at 4:53 pm #

    Russ— Duane Allman on the Scaggs version.
    Are you talking about Fenton Robinson?

  7. Russ May 12, 2009 at 7:15 pm #

    That helps…Did some one else play on the live recording?

  8. fred house May 12, 2009 at 7:47 pm #

    Goose bumps once again. I never have enough of brother Duane–so brilliant. I was lucky enough to see the Allman Joys play surf movies in Cocoa beach Fla. in the early 60′s. Listening to this has made my hair grow two inches..lol- Actually I’m growing it long again in protest at what they’ve done to our earth.

  9. Russ May 13, 2009 at 9:59 am #

    Thanks for all the help!
    Keep the Faith!!!

  10. Robert Singleton May 29, 2009 at 7:40 pm #

    BB: Agreed that it’s one of Duane Allman’s best performances, but I just wanted to talk about how good everyone else is on this record. Great vocals by Boz, wonderful keyboards by Barry Beckett.

  11. bechir August 24, 2009 at 7:11 pm #

    i remember buying this album in the mid seventies and playing that track over and again to anyone who would listen .definately an old time favourite

  12. Hermitbiker August 24, 2009 at 8:10 pm #

    Now Boz I do remember… great post… great tribute !!

  13. Susan August 24, 2009 at 8:55 pm #

    Great, great article. I hope you’re looking at doing a book. And yes, this brings back memories. Madison WI as a matter of fact. Listening to this brings back the beauty of that place. It’s an amazingly great recording too. I’m playing it on my computer and it sounds like I’m sitting next to them playing.

  14. marcel lemieux August 24, 2009 at 9:42 pm #

    Oddly Boz Scaggs is one of my all time fave…even today ,his music touch me in a special way..in those days all kind of musicians were emerging and Boz was unique…thanks

  15. alex borsody August 25, 2009 at 7:57 am #

    i wanna catch boz when he comes to msg, i loved the stuff he did with duane

  16. queenofcoquitlam (Glenys) August 25, 2009 at 10:50 am #

    I would like to say thank you very much for sharing this blog with me, and I Love the song. I totally get what you mean about a song sticking in your head!! I have found in my own life , when tragedies strike that music seems to soothe and heal my soul. I wish “everyone” loved music like yourself and could express themselves so openly as yourself. I admire and respect you for that in a big way!!!!!!! Peace Glenys

  17. paul cudone December 5, 2009 at 7:29 am #

    Duane has never to this day gotten the credit he deserves. Simply gut wrenching guitar work. Better than Clapton (who by the way is one of my old time favorites) Hendrix, SRV, the list goes on. The best all around guitar of all time. My spelling was pretty bad in the first message, have not had my espresso yet.

  18. Otto Kriete January 12, 2010 at 6:07 pm #

    I’m wondering if you know where I can get an out-of-print copy of the first Boz album ( first that I know of, anyway) . My copy is almost unplayable. It has Monkey Time, Midnight Invitation, and the amazing Flames Of Love as part of the play list………

  19. The Blues Blogger January 13, 2010 at 9:34 pm #

    Hi Otto… Boz recorded an album back in 65/66 and the one that is featured in this post is from 1969. But the album I believe you’re talking about is his 1971 release “Boz Scaggs & Band.”

    Check out the link below. Is this what you are looking for?

    http://bit.ly/8V7mwg

  20. TJ Colatrella June 9, 2010 at 10:39 am #

    I got this album as soon as it came out as I knew of Duane Allman as a session man already at the time, and also it listed Tray Nelson among others as a backup singer…so I knew it was something special, I wasn’t disappointed the entire album is magic and true Country Blues at it’s best..!

    I can’t tell you growing up how many times I jammed along with this great cut to learn what Duane was doing great phrasing terrific solo throughout but the entire album is the best and influenced by the sound The Band had introduced to rock as were many albums of the day..

    Congratulations BB on this anniversary…please keep up the good work…!

    I’ll post this to my Facebook site…!

  21. Hermitbiker June 10, 2010 at 10:25 pm #

    …. a fantastic tribute and your memories put to printed word are remarkable…. and so are Boz’s words and legendary guitar work…. wow, imagine learning the basics of guitar playing…. from Steve Miller !! Thanks again my friend !!

  22. Mark Wilson January 7, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

    My brother used to play LMAD every morning before going to school back in 72. I finally “got hooked” and became a Duane disciple. A St Louis DJ used to play LMAD every Friday night around 10:45pm on KSHE FM and I used to get my friends together at that time so they could hear that soulful singing and that burning passion guitar.m (My way of spreading the Gospel) Nice to know others caught the bug.

  23. Mojo Doctor January 10, 2011 at 2:35 am #

    Excellent posting here!
    I am also one of the faithful followers of LMAD having ‘discovered’ it in the 70′s. I heard a live version on the local public radio station and called to find out if I could get a recording of this tune. I was told that it was on a DJ only release and it was not ever offered for sale. It is not the live version on the recent recordings from Boz Scaggs, but a much earlier version. Can anyone shed some light on where I can get a copy?

  24. jane jerome May 30, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

    Hi BB, great post. Yesterday Boz wrapped up his set at the Santa Cruz blues festival with LMAD. It was magical.
    For some wacky reason the song is not listed as one of his hits on Wikipedia. Go figure!
    WP does indicate you can get the song on Duane Allman Anthology, Dr. Mojo…available at Amazon today.

  25. Steve Wood September 16, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    As someone who grew up in Atlanta during the time the Almond Brothers would come from Macon to play in Piedmont Park for free I really appreciate not only the guitar playing but the arrangement Boz put together on this song. Absolutely one of my favorites.

  26. Susan October 20, 2011 at 8:39 am #

    Boz Scaggs version of Loan Me A Dime is one of the few songs that absolutely puts me in the clouds. The arrangement of the song is superb. It starts sooo slow and smooth then builds and builds, all the while you can’t imagine how it could get any better, yet it does. At the end, just like great sex, I’m exhausted with contentment and bliss. What talent these guys have. I’m very grateful to Fenton and Boz for creating one of the finer things in life.

  27. Monument John February 6, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

    First time I heard this song it was during a recorded interview with Boz. He related that Duane could not or would not turn it down, so the producer or sound engineer put Duane and his amp behind the closed doors of a bathroom. Assuming the story is true, Allman’s guitar stands out above all other instruments on this recording date. I have purchased this album 3 times then finally found a CD. Thanks BB for bringing this song new life.

  28. Tanis/Bob February 15, 2012 at 2:14 am #

    Does this song ever get old…..never! One of Boz Scaggs best by far….Love it!

  29. Nottmkid April 26, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    I cannot believe it took so long for me to lay my ears on this marvelous piece of music. This type of music is seldom available over the airwaves in the UK where originate. Today I live near Chicago and spend most of my listening time during working hours clued to WDRV (The Drive) stream and today I was so fortunate because I got to hear this great piece of blues music. I immediately started a search for Boz and came across this site, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. I have learned that you are never to old to find great music.

  30. Rocky October 6, 2012 at 10:45 pm #

    1971 I was student at Kent State. Bar on Water Street played this song as “last call” every night. Some nights I’d make sure I was there at 2:15am to hear this great blues song before heading to my apt

  31. Ken McNeil January 12, 2013 at 11:34 pm #

    A day before Xmas eve ’69 I drank myself into blackout trying to deal w the blues of girlfriend leaving me.

    As I started to wake hours later I realized the stereo was on and I was hearing the intro to Loan Me a Dime. I couldn’t believe how this song related to me…and then continued to become more and more intense.

    I recall the DJ commenting after the fade of Duane playing that he had never seen the telephone switchboard light up with so many callers all wanting to know what the song and who the artist was.

    As soon as the stores opened the next morn, I purchased the album. This became the start of a lifelong love and appreciation for the talent of, IMHO, the finest guitarist in the world since he walked into Muscle Shoals.

    I never saw my girl friend again.

    Thank you BB and also your friends for the opportunity to remember and chat about Skydog.

    Respectfully, Ken McNeil in NJ.

  32. John Becker March 22, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    I grew up in Berkeley in the 60′s and 70′s. Boz Scaggs performed twice at the recently renovated Paramont Theater in Oakland. The first performance supported the release of Slow Dancer. The second supported Silk Degrees. I think both performances were on New Years and both were black tie optional. I went to both and remember the performances as remarkable. Boz was supported by a full orchestra and the audiences came dressed to the T’s.

    The ’74 performance included a fantastic rendition of “Loan me a Dime” and “Dynaflo”. But the number that really shook the house was “I’ve got your Number”. What an evening …. the whole theater was on their feet.

    I think Boz is play Austin in April. Who knows …. maybe I’ll make the trip. But in my memory those two concerts were his best.

  33. John Becker March 22, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    BTW Johnny Bristol made a cameo appearance to sing I Got Your Number

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