Steve Miller is somewhat of a rock & roll chameleon. Getting his start in 1966, his travels about the country changed where he was musically. He started as a harmonica playing, guitar stringing singer in California and later, took his act to Chicago to play the blues. It wasn't until he went back to San Francisco where the psychedelic music movement was booming that he and his newly formed band hit their stride.
Rockers were still reeling from the Beatles brand experimental-ism in their late era, when they themselves did a lot to make psychedelic popular. As you could imagine, through the 60's was ripe with psychedelic rock. When the Beatles kicked it off in 1966 with Revolver, Jimi Hendrix making it glamorous in 1967 with Electric Ladyland, and Cream, and Santana, and everything leading up to Blues Rock that fuel the hard rockers in a few years like Zeppelin. Somewhere in the mix was Steve Miller. Just laid back enough to be approachable, and just Rock & Roll enough to be considered, well Rock & Roll.
Sailor, Steve Miller's 2nd release, and ironically the 2nd oldest LP I own, is the first release they had where they were taken seriously as a group. The strength of the genre at the time and Steve Millers ability to be tongue-in-cheek with his lyrics made this album a moderate success in a crowded field of burning out rockers. Have you listened to the lyrics of any of the Steve Miller catalog? I could do a whole post on Jet Airliner alone.
Living In The U.S.A.
This was the last Steve Miller Band Album that would feature Boz Scaggs, who for whatever reason went on to do some odd things over the next 20 years or so. So, why is this album so great to warrant a pick of the week? Well;
Gangster of Love
...Anybody that can pull Wolfman Jack onto a record, and basically jam out while telling a story backed up by a cool song earns my respect.
Look, long before Steve Miller became part of the list of musicians that "redefined" themselves in the 80's, he and his bad was all about rocking and tripping out till there were no stories left to tell. Right up till about the mid 70's, he was telling tales and making you think about what he really meant. Before Abracadabra... Thank god he was great before that. This album is kinda hard to find, but should you happen upon it, it'll be cheap. Definitely well worth spinning one day when you want hear what the 60's felt like before disco happened.
Next week, some blues perhaps....