Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: Steve Miller Band
Sometimes when I go through my sister’s records I honestly cannot understand why she bought (or traded for) some albums. Maybe I’m not giving her enough credit … or maybe she got them by accident. Like the one I got from her room today: Rock Love, by the Steve Miller Band. This one is pretty good!
This one came out in 1971, a year before Steve hit the pop charts with “The Joker.” Miller and his band had been around since 1965, when they came out of San Francisco with a pretty generic blues-rock sound. The Steve Miller Band’s first album Children of the Future (1968) came out on Capitol Records, but they actually first appeared on record in 1967, backing Chuck Berry for his Live at the Fillmore LP.
Miller was actually making progress up the stairway of success – Your Saving Grace and Number 5, albums from 1969-70, were moderate hits and songs like “Space Cowboy” and “Living In The USA” were getting radio airplay. But in 1971 Miller got into a car accident and broke his neck. During his long recuperation Capitol released Rock Love, an album of live and outtake material.
Side One was all live, with three tracks from the blues days. “Love Shock,” clocking in at nearly 12 minutes, features Miller freaking out Hendrix-style on guitar and Jack King taking some lengthy drum solos. The bass player is Ross Valory, who would go on to become a founding member of Journey a few years later.
Side Two of Rock Love had some pretty decent studio tracks that presaged Miller’s later sound: the title song sounds like something that could have been on Fly Like An Eagle (and maybe it was, in another form) while “Deliverance” sounds like some of the Miller Filler we would encounter in later live shows.
Needless to say, Rock Love didn’t make much of an impression. Steve got out of his hospital bed (or not) and rushed into the studio for the next album, Recall The Beginning…A Journey from Eden, which had a huge, all-new band but some pretty mediocre songs. Capitol sensed that maybe Miller had reached the end of his 15 minutes, so it released Anthology with songs from the first five albums. Then along came The Joker in 1973 … and you know the rest.