Hello there! This week’s entry is Lido Shuffle, an R&B song from the late 70s. We will begin with the original by Boz Scaggs. We will then discuss covers by The Dukes of September and by a ‘tribute band’ called Live From Ventura Boulevard.
By the way, this blog post is dedicated to my sister Betty and her friend Michelle from Denver. My understanding is that Boz Scaggs is their all-time favorite artist.
Boz Scaggs and Lido Shuffle:
William Royce Scaggs was born in 1944 in Canton, Ohio. His parents subsequently moved to Plano, Texas, and young Mr. Scaggs enrolled in St. Mark’s School, a private school in Dallas.
One of Scaggs’ classmates at St. Mark’s was Steve Miller. Miller, who would become famous as a guitarist and singer-songwriter, founded a band at St. Mark’s that featured Scaggs as lead vocalist. It was also at St. Mark’s that Scaggs was given the nickname “Bosley,” which was later shortened to “Boz.”
Both Steve Miller and Boz Scaggs attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where once again they played together in various blues bands.
After graduating from college, Boz Scaggs headed to London and a musical career. He released an album that sank without a trace. So in 1967, Boz headed back to the States, his destination the West Coast. He arrived in San Francisco just when the Summer of Love was in full swing.
And once again, Boz Scaggs joined up with Steve Miller. Scaggs played guitar and sang on the first two albums released by the Steve Miller Band. Below is a photo of Boz Scaggs circa 1970.Embed from Getty Images
Boz then set sail on a solo career. He garnered a record deal with Atlantic Records and released a self-titled album in 1968. The album included backup by the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, and featured contributions from a then-obscure session guitarist named Duane Allman. However, the album did not sell particularly well, despite the impressive musical talent involved.
Eventually, Boz Scaggs signed with Columbia Records, and his fortunes took a turn for the better. He received some favorable reviews and his record sales improved.
The song Lido Shuffle was co-written by Boz Scaggs and his keyboardist David Paich. The tune appeared on the Boz Scaggs album Silk Degrees. That album was released in 1976, and the single Lido Shuffle was issued the following year.
The lyrics to Lido Shuffle describe a man who is traveling around and gambling.
Lido missed the boat that day
He left the shack
But that was all he missed
And he ain’t comin back.
At a tombstone bar
In a jukejoint car
He made a stop
Just long enough
To grab a handle off the top.
Next stop Chi town
Lido put the money down let em roll
He said one more job ought to get it
One last shot ‘fore we quit it
One for the road.
There seems to be some controversy regarding the precise meaning of the lyrics. My take is that Lido was a small-time criminal who kept gambling away his money. My interpretation is based on the assumption that the phrase “grab a handle off the top” at “a tombstone bar” refers to his robbing an establishment.
Lido gambles away his ill-gotten gains in Chicago, and then plans to rob one additional place before retiring (“one more job ought to get it”). However, I note that others interpret the lyrics as simply referring to a man who travels, gambles and generally has a good time.
Regardless of one’s interpretation, Lido Shuffle bounces along merrily, and is a great sing-along tune. The instrumental work is excellent, and the song features a full horn section. Lido Shuffle made it to #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop songs in the U.S., and reached #13 on the U.K. singles charts.
Silk Degrees was Boz Scaggs’ most successful record. In addition to Lido Shuffle, that album also contained Scaggs’ biggest single hit, Lowdown. But when Silk Degrees was first released in 1976 it appeared to be a commercial disappointment, and the first single from the album did not chart well.
However, a DJ in Cleveland began playing the song Lowdown from the album. That song generated a lot of interest, so it was eventually released as a single and became a million-seller. Scaggs and David Paich, his co-writer on Lowdown, were quite surprised by the success of that song, as they were convinced that it would never appeal to a wide audience. Once Lowdown became a hit, Lido Shuffle was then released as a single.
Members of Boz Scaggs’ band on Silk Degrees included Scaggs’ songwriting collaborator David Paich, drummer Jeff Porcaro and bassist David Hungate. Those three, who had worked as session musicians for groups such as Steely Dan and Sonny & Cher, then joined forces with other musicians (particularly some of their old high school classmates) to form Toto. That band had a number of pop hits in the late 70s and early 80s.
So here is Boz Scaggs in a live performance of Lido Shuffle. This took place at a concert in 2004.
The song begins with over a minute of instrumental intro, after which Scaggs gives us a fine rendering of his hit. He is backed by a capable band complete with a horn section and backup singers. The audience gives him an enthusiastic reception.
After releasing an album in 1981, Scaggs took several years off from recording. From 1989 to 1992, Boz became a member of the New York Rock and Soul Revue. Some of his bandmates in that organization were Donald Fagen, formerly with Steely Dan, and Michael McDonald who had been with The Doobie Brothers.
The New York Rock and Soul Revue released a live album of material they had performed at New York’s Beacon Theater. That group subsequently disbanded, but in 2010 Fagen, Scaggs and McDonald re-formed as The Dukes of September. We will review that group in the next section of this post.
Currently, Boz Scaggs and his wife Dominique own a winery in the Napa Valley. They appear to be spending quite a lot of their time and effort in the viniculture business.
However, Boz Scaggs also continues to tour. I note that on July 13, 2018 he will be appearing at Wrigley Field in Chicago, together with Jimmy Buffett, where apparently “Lido” will shuffle off to “Margaritaville.” I’ll drink to that!
Dukes of September and Lido Shuffle:
As we mentioned in the preceding section, The Dukes of September were a supergroup that formed in 2010. The band included Boz Scaggs and two members of earlier 70s bands, Donald Fagen from Steely Dan and Michael McDonald from The Doobie Brothers.
McDonald and Fagen had worked together off and on since the 70s. Back then McDonald frequently collaborated with Steely Dan, providing keyboards and vocals for some of their albums. As previously mentioned, all three had performed in the 90s with the New York Rock and Soul Revue.
Below is a photo of the Dukes of September in concert. Far left, at keyboards: Michael McDonald; right center, at piano: Donald Fagen; far right, on guitar: Boz Scaggs.Embed from Getty Images
That group toured for a couple of years, and in Nov. 2012 they recorded a Great Performances special live concert that was released in 2014 by PBS.
The Dukes of September performed mainly covers of 70s and 80s pop songs, and in concert each of the three superstars reprised some of their most popular tunes.
So, for example Dukes of September offerings included Reelin’ In the Years and Hey Nineteen from Steely Dan, Takin’ It To the Streets and What a Fool Believes from The Doobie Brothers, and Boz Scaggs’ Lowdown.
So here are the Dukes of September in a live performance of Lido Shuffle.
Not surprisingly, the Lido Shuffle produced by the Dukes of September is remarkably reminiscent of Boz Scaggs’ original offering. However, it remains a really enjoyable and catchy blues shuffle.
Live From Ventura Boulevard and Lido Shuffle:
Apparently, Live From Ventura Boulevard are a “tribute band.” This generally refers to an ensemble that specializes in covering the music of a particular group.
For me, Elvis impersonators would constitute the original “tribute act.” Wikipedia lists 22 performers around the world who dress up like Elvis and imitate his songs.
Others credit The Beatles as being the inspiration for tribute bands. When I looked up “Beatles tribute bands” on the Web, I was led to a list of 21 such groups.
When I looked up “Tribute act” on Wikipedia, I found that many of the tribute bands appeared to focus on groups from the 70s, particularly “classic rock” acts. Thus, bands with a significant ‘tribute presence’ include
Lynyrd Skynyrd, Black Sabbath, Journey, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Styx, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Kiss, Madonna, The Misfits, Queen, Alice in Chains, Grateful Dead, Van Halen, ABBA, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Cars, R.E.M., Rammstein, Neil Diamond, and Steely Dan.
Now, Live From Ventura Boulevard are somewhat different, in that they focus on the music of an entire era – specifically late 70s power pop — rather than a single band. On their Web site they list bands whose music they cover:
Boz Scaggs, Kenny Loggins, The Doobie Brothers, Little River Band, Ambrosia, The Eagles, America, Pablo Cruise, Gino Vannelli, Steely Dan, Christopher Cross, Player, The Bee Gees.
As far as I can tell, Live From Ventura Boulevard must be centered somewhere around Nashville, TN, as several of their upcoming shows take place in the Music City.
To the best of my knowledge, this band has not released an album, and I was unable to locate a photo of the entire band. But here is the group Live From Ventura Boulevard in a performance of Boz Scaggs’ Lido Shuffle.
So, what do you think? If I am correct, that is Scott Sheriff on lead vocals. The group seems to be quite professional, and their cover of Lido Shuffle is well received by the audience.
Now, in many cases a tribute band is trying to give a performance that is a very close simulation of the original record. And in this case Live From Ventura Boulevard does just that.
Of course, there are exceptions to the norm of producing a near-perfect copy of the original band. There exist several all-girl tribute bands (e.g., AC/DShe, Aerochix, Iron Maidens, Lez Zeppelin); and the group Hayseed Dixie, whom we covered in an earlier blog post, creates country-music interpretations of songs by the heavy-metal group AC/DC.
The relationships between tribute bands and the original groups are rather interesting. In a few cases, members from the original group have a friendly relationship with one of their tribute acts. In fact, members of the original group occasionally sit in with tribute bands. Examples would be Lynyrd Skynyrd, whose members sometimes play with their tribute group, The Saturday Night Special Band; and Deep Purple, whose drummer has played with tribute band Purpendicular.
Conversely, Bon Jovi took the opposite approach and sued the all-female tribute group Blonde Jovi for copyright infringement. And Sony Music Entertainment filed a lawsuit against the group Beatallica (who play Beatles tunes in the style of Metallica); but Beatallica won the lawsuit and continue to perform.
If you are interested in this general topic, in 2013 the cable network AXS-TV produced a series called The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands.
My guess is that with a few exceptions, a tribute band is probably a tough way to make a living. I am not really into tribute bands, but am happy to hear from people who are big fans of a particular tribute act.