Departing from the Steve Miller Band after a two-album stint, Boz Scaggs found himself on his own but not without support. Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, his friend, helped him sign with Atlantic Records and the label had him set up shop in Muscle Shoals, recording his debut album with that legendary set of studio musicians, known for their down-and-dirty backing work for Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett, among many other Southern soul legends. The Muscle Shoals rhythm section, occasionally augmented by guitarist Duane Allman, gives this music genuine grit, but this isn't necessarily a straight-up blue-eyed soul record, even if the opening "I'm Easy" and "I'll Be Long Gone" are certainly as deeply soulful as anything cut at Muscle Shoals. Even at this early stage Scaggs wasn't content to stay in one place, and he crafted a kind of Americana fantasia here, also dabbling in country and blues along with the soul and R&B that grounds this record. If the country shuffle "Now You're Gone" sounds just slightly a shade bit too vaudeville for its own good, it only stands out because the rest of the record is pitch-perfect, from the Jimmie Rodgers cover "Waiting for a Train" and the folky "Look What I Got!" to the extended 11-minute blues workout "Loan Me a Dime," which functions as much as a showcase for a blazing Duane Allman as it does for Boz. But even with that show-stealing turn, and even with the Muscle Shoals musicians giving this album its muscle and part of its soul, this album is still thoroughly a showcase for Boz Scaggs' musical vision, which even at this stage is wide and deep. It would grow smoother and more assured over the years, but the slight bit of raggedness suits the funky, down-home performances and helps make this not only a great debut, but also an enduring blue-eyed soul masterpiece.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine