ARTIST: Steve Miller Band
YEAR RELEASED: 1968
CHART ACTION: #24
SINGLES: Living in the USA (#94)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Quicksilver Girl, Gangster of Love
LINEUP: Steve Miller, Boz Scaggs, Lonnie Turner, Jim Peterman, Tim Davis
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Second album from the Miller group has a couple three songs that have lasted, and a couple that really date it.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Steve Miller loves the blues, and his choice of covers here (songs by Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson and Jimmy Reed) prove that. The hit from this album, “Living in the USA” has definite blues / rock elements and sounds like a celebration that the Beach Boys could have used about that time.
Yet, this is 1968, and they were from Frisco, so we were ‘treated’ to “Song for our Ancestors”, which I’ve never understood the appeal of (and I can be swayed by a lot of weird hippie stuff) and by the time it gets into a slow organ-driven jam I’m lost. It bores me, and then it goes into “Dear Mary”, which is soft, sweet song that doesn’t rouse the listener either. The rest of the album is good to great, but I’m defeated by the opening track and asleep with track two. Sequencing, folks!
Boz Scaggs’ has two songs and co-writes a third, and drummer Davis and keyboardist Peterman write and sing one as well. But that band autonomy didn’t result in a band that held together, as 40% of this band wouldn’t make it to 1969 with Miller.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Yes, “Gangster of Love” is here, and it’s a short snipped that almost seems like a joke but the title somehow got pegged on Miller (instead of Watson).
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: B-: This got a lot of raves in 1968, but maybe they were OK with an album opening with fog horns and other sounds for almost two minutes.