Category: Steve Miller Band

Steve Miller Band – Brave New World

ARTIST: Steve Miller Band              220px-Steve_Miller_Band_-_Brave_New_World

TITLE: Brave New World

YEAR RELEASED: 1969

CHART ACTION: #22

SINGLES: My Dark Hour (#126)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Space Cowboy.

LINEUP: Steve Miller, Lonnie Turner, Ben Sidran, Tim Davis. Glyn Johns plays a lot on the album, and Paul McCartney famously contributed to one song.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Shedding the overt psychedelic sound towards a more straight-forward blues rock foundation.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Two members left the Steve Miller Band after 1968, including Box Scaggs, and Miller re-focused his work more towards blues and rock, and came up with a winning album.

“Seasons” and “Celebration Song” still have some of a hippie vibe but definitely more in a traditional rock (and folk for “Seasons”) feel, and “Space Cowboy” became a Miller signature and it’s truly where the band gels, but the final track – a true duet between Miller and Paul McCartney – is the highlight.

“My Dark Hour” not only introduced a very familiar guitar riff to the Miller lexicon, but the presence of McCartney forced Miller tor really up his game, which resulted in a fantastic performance. This is a solid album from beginning to end – worth the exploration for sure.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “My Dark Hour” came about after McCartney was the sole member of the Beatles left after a huge argument regarding their management. Miller was in the studio as well, and they started to jam.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A-: A gem of an album that more Miller fans should know.

Steve Miller Band – Sailor

ARTIST: Steve Miller Band                                   220px-SailorMiller

TITLE: Sailor

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.

Steve Miller Band – Children of the Future

ARTIST: Steve Miller Band                       Children_of_the_Future_(Steve_Miller_Band_album_-_cover_art)

TITLE:  Children of the Future

YEAR RELEASED: 1968

CHART ACTION: #134

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Roll with It

LINEUP: Steve Miller, Boz Scaggs, Lonnie Turner, Jim Peterman, Tim Davis

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Debut album mixed the blues and San Francisco psychedelia, and really was all over the place in quality and execution.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Steve Miller migrated out to San Francisco, founded a band that included his old buddy Boz Scaggs, and started to wow some of the hipsters on the scene – so much so that Capitol Records gave them a huge suitcase of money to sign.

Psychedelia being all the rage, Miller and crew augmented his neo-blues songs with psychedelic effects and sounds (like the Mellotron that’s prominent on “In My First Mind” and the whatever-it-is on “The Beauty of Time Is That It’s Snowing (Psychedlic BB)”.

Side one was a suite, and while side two linked together it wasn’t as thematic (or weird) as the first side. Scaggs’ “Baby’s Calling Me Home” and the wonderful B-side (why B-side?) “Roll with It” and ending with a mournful “Key to the Highway”, the second side was probably more in line with expectations.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Despite the psychedelic leanings, many of these songs were written while Miller was a janitor in a studio.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, one release with the non-album A-side to their debut single.

GRADE: B-:  The ending of the first side tests my patience. It’s 12 minutes of psychedelic noodling that goes on way too long.