This title was originally issued in 1980 as a 10-track LP, and reissued verbatim on CD in 1990. The album's intent was to provide a hits-oriented overview of Scaggs' 1970s solo work, focusing on the years surrounding his 1976 multi-platinum breakthrough LP, "Silk Degrees." This reworking of the "Hits!" title expands upon the original theme with six additional tracks gathered from late '70s releases, and drops the song "You Can Have Me Anytime."
As with the original ten-track release, this fifteen-track reissue picks up Scaggs' story in 1972 with the Muscle Shoals styled "Dinah Flo" and 1974's Motown influenced "You Make it So Hard (to Say No)." The expanded track lineup adds the string-lined title ballad of 1974's "Slow Dancer," which helps show that the transition from 1974 to 1976 was more evolution than reinvention. U.S. radio listeners will remember the disco-tinged soul and jazz of 1976's "Silk Degrees" LP as a key part of the bicentennial soundtrack. The original "Hits!" lineup of "We're All Alone," "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle" is augmented here with "What Can I Say," "It's Over," and "Harbor Lights." And with 60% of the original album now included here, listeners may start to think (quite correctly) that "Silk Degrees" is a greatest-hits package in and of itself.
Scaggs' follow-up LP, "Down Two Then Left" was enough of a commercial disappointment to have been ignored on the original "Hits!" release; here it's represented by the soulful "Hard Times." The collection is filled out with a healthy dose of Scaggs' decade-end work, including "Jo Jo" and "Breakdown Dead Ahead" from his 1980 release "Middle Man," and his contribution to the "Urban Cowboy" soundtrack, "Look What You've Done to Me." The remaining new addition to the original track lineup is "Heart of Mine," taken from Scaggs' 1988 return to recording, "Other Roads."
At 64-minutes this is a generous single disc, but not nearly as comprehensive as 1998's 2-CD set "My Time: The Anthology (1969-1997)." This is perfect for those who (1) want more breadth than they'll get by buying "Silk Degrees," (2) need less depth than the 2-CD anthology, and (3) are fans of the hits rather than Scaggs and his individual albums. If a few of the titles here grab you, this (or "Silk Degrees") are the way to go. If the '70s focus is too narrow, look up the anthology for early classics ("Someone Loan Me a Dime") and material from the '90s. 4-1/2 stars, if allowed fractional ratings. [©2006 hyperbolium dot com]