Archive for Steve Miller

Review: Everybody’s got the blues … even Ozzy!

Posted in Review with tags , , , on June 21, 2010 by 30daysout

A whole truckload of new releases are out just in time for summer, and it seems like everybody’s got the blues.  Last week we took a listen to the newsy bluesy Mojo by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, this week a number of veteran artists seem to be following his lead into the blues.

It’s taken Steve Miller about 17 years to release a new album, and here we have Bingo!, a collection of blues and R&B covers.  It seems kind of weird that Miller would stage a comeback with an album of covers, but maybe he’s burned out as a songwriter.  Bingo! is a party record, full of hot guitar playing and feel-good blues rock.  Joe Satriani shows up for a guitar duel on the B.B. King warhorse “Rock Me Baby” and a handful of songs are highlighted by the harmonica work of the late Norton Buffalo, who died shortly after this album was recorded.  Another highlight is “Hey Yeah,” one of three songs penned by Austin’s Jimmie Vaughan.  Singer Sonny Charles, apparently now a permanent part of the Steve Miller Band, lends some raw soul that Miller’s own white-boy singing can’t provide.  Bingo! reminds me of that sanitized blues stuff Eric Clapton produced in the 1990s (From The Cradle, etc.) – not bad, not great but nowhere near the original stuff.  So I guess Bingo! works for most everyone except the old-timers.

MP3: “Hey Yeah” by the Steve Miller Band

True to its title, Memphis Blues provides the setting for former pop princess Cyndi Lauper‘s excursion into the blues.  Happily, Cyndi’s remarkable voice provides enough grit and character and variety to make Memphis Blues a worthwhile listen.  Guest performers like B.B. King, Allen Toussaint, Ann Peebles and Charlie Musselwhite lend some muscle to the proceedings, and for the most part Lauper chooses more obscure songs which can help give a fresher feel to a project like this.  Lauper’s voice cracks and gets a little shrill in places, but overall she manages to convey a genuine feeling for the music.  The highlights include her duet with Ann Peebles on Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ and Tumblin’,” and “Early In The Mornin’,” with Allen Toussaint giving it a Crescent City swagger.  I approached Cyndi’s cover of the Robert Johnson classic “Crossroads” (with guitarist Jonny Lang) with a little apprehension, but they manage to do something interesting instead of turning it into a joke.  Not bad, Cyndi.

MP3: “Rollin’ and Tumblin’ ” by Cyndi Lauper w/Ann Peebles

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Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: Steve Miller Band

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , on November 24, 2009 by 30daysout

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.

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Paul McCartney’s Top 10 Guest Shots

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2008 by 30daysout

During and after his stint in the Beatles, Paul McCartney was one of the most important rock musicians in the world.  Songs written by McCartney alone were hits for other artists (see our post from May 26, “With A Little Help For Their Friends”) and any time he showed up at someone else’s recording session it was an event.

But those Beatle boys were rascals and more often than not they would get into some tomfoolery; McCartney was no exception.  Some of his cameos could be called bizarre at best.  Nevertheless, today we’ll count down his top 10 guest appearances on record (and video).

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