Boz Scaggs adds a smoky atmosphere to Neil Young’s “On the Beach” with his cover of the classic 1974 track. The new version appears on the singer-songwriter’s upcoming LP Out of the Blues, out July 27th, which combines original tunes (“Rock and Stick”) with takes on songs by other artists (also including Magic Sam and Jimmy Reed).
The singer-songwriter recruited an all-star backing band for the album. Keyboardist Jim Cox anchors “On the Beach” with his warm Wurlitzer and Hammond B-3 organ; guitarists Ray Parker Jr. and Doyle Bramhall II, bassist Willie Weeks, and drummer Jim Keltner round out the lineup.
“‘On the Beach’ is new form blues poetry, I guess,” Scaggs said in a statement about Young’s original song, the title track from the artist’s fifth LP. “While not strictly blues changes, it’s harmonically gorgeous, wistful in its minor bluesy way and like any great blues, a lament for all times by a master; it comes in waves.”
Scaggs developed his version of “On the Beach” based on a suggestion from the producers of the 2017 Neil Fest, a concert series celebrating Young’s music, at which the soul singer performed in 2017.