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Steve Miller Band

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Steve Miller Band - Number 5 [Capitol SKAO-436] (1970)

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ITEM# SR-CASKAO436
Ratings: C=VG+; LP=VG+

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Artist:

Steve Miller Band

Title:

Number 5

Released: 1970
Label: Capitol
Catalog: SKAO-436
Genre: Rock / Blues / Progressive Rock
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Good Morning
02 I Love You
03 Going To The Country
04 Hot Chili
05 Tokin's
06 Going To Mexico
07 Steve Miller's Midnight Tango
08 Industrial Military Complex Hex
09 Jackson-Kent Blues
10 Never Kill Another Man
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Album Review

by Jim Newsom [allmusic.com]

Released in the summer of 1970, Number 5 was the fifth LP by the Steve Miller Band in just over two years. While it compares favorably to its immediate predecessor, Your Saving Grace, it is not quite up to the consistent excellence of the potent Brave New World from the previous summer. However, it does have a fair share of denoch_lights, especially the opening triumvirate of "Good Morning," "I Love You," and "Going to the Country." These selections, and all of side one, have a distinctly more rural feel than did previous recordings, due perhaps to the fact that the tracks were recorded in Nashville. Charlie McCoy contributes harmonica to several of these cuts, and Buddy Spicher plays fiddle on "Going to the Country," while Bobby Thompson adds banjo to "Tokin's." Side two is more uneven, with the lead-off mid-tempo rocker "Going to Mexico" serving as a conclusion to the first side's thematic coherence, and the closing "Never Kill Another Man" a string-laden ballad. Sandwiched between them are three experimental-sounding pieces, seasoned with sound effects, buried vocals, and semi-political themes. Although it couldn't have been predicted at the time, Number 5 represented the end of an era for Steve Miller and bandmates, and subsequent albums would sound nothing like this first batch of great recordings.


Steve Miller Band: Fly Like An Eagle (1976)

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ITEM# SR-ST11497
Ratings: C=G-; LP=VG-

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Artist:

Steve Miller Band

Title:

Fly Like An Eagle

Released: 1976
Label: Capitol
Catalog: ST-11497
Genre: Rock / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Space Intro
02 Fly Like An Eagle
03 Wild Mountain Honey
04 Serenade
05 Dance, Dance, Dance
06 Mercury Blues
07 Take The Money And Run
08 Rock'n Me
09 You Send Me
10 Blue Odyssey
11 Sweet Maree
12 The Window
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Album Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine [allmusic.com]

Steve Miller had started to essay his classic sound with The Joker, but 1976's Fly Like an Eagle is where he took flight, creating his definitive slice of space blues. The key is focus, even on an album as stylishly, self-consciously trippy as this, since the focus brings about his strongest set of songs (both originals and covers), plus a detailed atmospheric production where everything fits. It still can sound fairly dated -- those whooshing keyboards and cavernous echoes are certainly of their time -- but its essence hasn't aged, as "Fly Like an Eagle" drifts like a cool breeze, while "Take the Money and Run" and "Rock 'n Me" are fiendishly hooky, friendly rockers. The rest of the album may not be quite up to those standards, but there aren't any duds, either, as "Wild Mountain Honey" and "Mercury Blues" give this a comfortable backdrop, thanks to Miller's offhand, lazy charm. Though it may not quite transcend its time, it certainly is an album rock landmark of the mid-'70s and its best moments (namely, the aforementioned singles) are classics of the idiom.


Steve Miller Band: Circle Of Love (1981)

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ITEM# SR-ST12121
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Artist:

Steve Miller Band

Title:

Circle Of Love

Released: 1981
Label: Capitol
Catalog: ST-12121
Genre: Rock / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Heart Like A Wheel
02 Get On Home
03 Baby Wanna Dance
04 Circle Of Love
05 Macho City
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Album Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine [allmusic.com]

Divided in half, with one side of catchy pop tunes and one side devoted to a 16-minute space blues workout called "Macho City," the design of Circle of Love feels like a throwback to 1971, when people truly paid attention to the flow of an album. In 1981, it was a bit of anachronism, but its old-fashioned feel (and its tedious "Macho City") are saved by the mini-album of pop/rock that might not have produced any undeniable classics, but includes tuneful, well-crafted numbers that serve as worthy follow-ups to Fly Like an Eagle and Book of Dreams.


Steve Miller Band: Abracadabra (1982)

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ITEM# SR-ST12216
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Artist:

Steve Miller Band

Title:

Abracadabra

Released: 1982
Label: Capitol
Catalog: ST-12216
Genre: Rock / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Keeps Me Wondering Why
02 Abracadabra
03 Something Special
04 Give It Up
05 Never Say No
06 Things I Told You
07 Young Girl's Heart
08 Goodbye Love
09 Cool Magic
10 While I'm Waiting
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Album Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine [allmusic.com]

Steve Miller was always catchy and tuneful, but he never turned out an unabashed pop album until 1982's Abracadabra. This isn't just pop in construction, it's pop in attitude, filled with effervescent melodies and deeply silly lyrics, perhaps none more noteworthy than the immortal couplet "Abra-Abracadabra/I wanna reach out and grab ya." Those words graced the title track, which turned out to be one of his biggest hits, and if nothing else is quite as irresistibly goofy as that song, there still is a surplus of engagingly tuneful material, all dressed up in the psuedo-new wave production so favored by AOR veterans in the early '80s. All of that may not make this one of Miller's definitive albums, especially in the view of hardcore space blues heads, but it's pretty damn irresistible for listeners who find "Abracadabra" one of the highlights of faux-new wave AOR.


Steve Miller Band: Italian X Rays (1984)

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ITEM# SR-CAPSJ12339
Ratings: C=NM; LP=NM

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Artist:

Steve Miller Band

Title:

Italian X Rays

Released: 1984
Label: Capitol
Catalog: SJ-12339
Genre: Rock / Pop
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Radio 1
02 Italian X Rays
03 Daybreak
04 Shangri-La
05 Who Do You Love
06 Harmony Of The Spheres 1
07 Radio 2
08 Bongo Bongo
09 Out Of The Night
10 Golden Opportunity
11 The Hollywood Dream
12 One In A Million
13 Harmony Of The Spheres 2
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Steve Miller Band's Biography

by Steve Huey [allmusic.com]

Steve Miller's career has encompassed two distinct stages: one of the top San Francisco blues-rockers during the late '60s and early '70s, and one of the top-selling pop/rock acts of the mid- to late '70s and early '80s with hits like "The Joker," "Fly Like an Eagle," "Rock'n Me," and "Abracadabra." Miller was turned on to music by his father, who worked as a pathologist but knew stars like Charles Mingus and Les Paul, whom he brought home as guests; Paul taught the young Miller some guitar chords and let him sit in on a session. Miller formed a blues band, the Marksmen Combo, at age 12 with friend Boz Scaggs; the two teamed up again at the University of Wisconsin in a group called the Ardells, later the Fabulous Night Trains. Miller moved to Chicago in 1964 to get involved in the local blues scene, teaming with Barry Goldberg for two years.

He then moved to San Francisco and formed the first incarnation of the Steve Miller Blues Band, featuring guitarist James "Curly" Cooke, bassist Lonnie Turner, and drummer Tim Davis. The band built a local following through a series of free concerts and backed Chuck Berry in 1967 at a Fillmore date later released as a live album. Scaggs moved to San Francisco later that year and replaced Cooke in time to play the Monterey Pop Festival; it was the first of many personnel changes. Capitol signed the group as the Steve Miller Band following the festival.

The band flew to London to record Children of the Future, which was praised by critics and received some airplay on FM radio. It established Miller's early style as a blues-rocker influenced but not overpowered by psychedelia. The follow-up, Sailor, has been hailed as perhaps Miller's best early effort; it reached number 24 on the Billboard album charts and consolidated Miller's fan base. A series of high-quality albums with similar chart placements followed; while Miller remained a popular artist, pop radio failed to pick up on any of his material at this time, even though tracks like "Space Cowboy" and "Brave New World" had become FM rock staples. Released in 1971, Rock Love broke Miller's streak with a weak band lineup and poor material, and Miller followed it with the spotty Recall the Beginning: A Journey from Eden. Things began to look even worse for Miller when he broke his neck in a car accident and subsequently developed hepatitis, which put him out of commission for most of 1972 and early 1973.

Miller spent his recuperation time reinventing himself as a blues-influenced pop/rocker, writing compact, melodic, catchy songs. This alan_parsonsroach was introduced on his 1973 LP, The Joker, and was an instant success, with the album going platinum and the title track hitting number one on the pop charts. Now an established star, Miller elected to take three years off. He purchased a farm and built his own recording studio, at which he crafted the wildly successful albums Fly Like an Eagle and Book of Dreams at alan_parsonsroximately the same time. Fly Like an Eagle was released in 1976 and eclipsed its predecessor in terms of quality and sales (over four million copies) in spite of the long downtime in between. It also gave Miller his second number one hit with "Rock'n Me," plus several other singles. Book of Dreams was almost as successful, selling over three million copies and producing several hits as well. All of the hits from Miller's first three pop-oriented albums were collected on Greatest Hits 1974-1978, which to date has sold over six million copies and remains a popular catalog item.

Miller again took some time off, not returning again until late 1981 with the disalan_parsonsointing Circle of Love. Just six months later, Miller rebounded with Abracadabra; the title track gave him his third number one single. The remaining albums released in the '80s -- Italian X Rays, 1984; Living in the 20th Century, 1986; and Born 2B Blue, 1988 -- weren't consistent enough to be critically or commercially successful. The early '90s saw Miller return to form with Wide River (the title track becoming a Top 40 chart entry) and the release of a retrospective box set compiled by the artist himself. Miller continued to headline shows into the 2000s, sharing the bill with classic rock acts such as 2008 tourmate Joe Cocker. In 2010, he and his band released Bingo!, the first release on Miller's own Space Cowboy Records and the group's first new studio album in 17 years. Let Your Hair Down followed a year later in the spring of 2011 and featured the last recordings of harmonica whiz Norton Buffalo, Miller's longtime collaborator, who died from lung cancer in 2009.
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