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“Lido Shuffle”

Posted by purplemary54 on June 1, 2015

Name one song that is more perfect than “Lido Shuffle.”  Just one.  Can’t do it, can you?  Neither can I.

There are plenty of songs that are just as good as this Boz Scaggs classic—most of them are very different in tone, mood, genre, and style—but there really aren’t any that are better.  There’s just something compelling about this fun, funky, light, but somewhat mysterious tune.  Scaggs’ delivery is spot on, and even the keyboard synthesizers work.  “Lido Shuffle” is one of those songs I simply can’t get enough of.  Whenever it comes up on the computer or iPod, I end up replaying it two or three times.  It’s a Desert Island song.*

What’s going on?  I’m not entirely sure.  The lyrics are about as mysterious as any Steely Dan song, picking up the story in the middle somewhere and lacking clear context.  (Come to think of it, this kind of story song was pretty popular in the mid to late 70s.  I wonder what it was about that time that made literate, character driven story songs a thing.)  Lido is clearly a small-time criminal of some sort, looking for that last big score.  But who is this woman leaving him a note?  And what kind of score is he looking for?  We know he’s in Chicago at some point, but where did he come from and where is he planning on going?  Does his “one last job” pay off?  Does he make it up to his woman?  Or does everything go to hell in a hand basket?  The listener is left holding the bag at the end of the song, but that bag is pretty light.  Maybe Lido made off with whatever answers there were.

As always, I like the ambiguity.  And I especially like that it’s wrapped up in such a hooky, catchy fashion.  Who cares what’s going on?  Just keep playing this song, and I’ll keep smiling.

*Way back, when music was limited to physical formats, people would try to rank what they would take to a desert island if they were limited to, say, ten discs.  These days, you’re only limited by what you can fit on your iPod or smart phone–provided you have a charger and electricity, of course.

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