Circle Of Love

Steve Miller Band

Capitol, 1981

http://www.stevemillerband.com

REVIEW BY: David Bowling

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/03/2013

During the 1970s, Steve Miller had become a star. Fly Like An Eagle and Book Of Dreams were smooth pop/rock albums that produced a number of memorable hit singles and sold several million copies apiece. They were followed in 1978 by his Greatest Hits 1974-78 album, which has sold close to 13 million copies in the United States. On the heel of these three albums came my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Circle Of Love.

Miller had not issued a new studio album in almost five years so there was a great deal of anticipation prior to the release of Circle Of Love. What his fans got was two very different half albums. The first side of the original vinyl release was comprised of four catchy if dissimilar tracks. The second side of the vinyl release was just one 16 minute song that was very different from just about anything else Steve Miller has ever released.

It was a simple album in many ways as it was just vocalist/guitarist Miller and his three member backing band consisting of keyboardist Byron Allred, bassist Gerald Johnson, and drummer Gary Mallaber.

The first track, “Heart Like A Wheel,” was a catchy pop piece with layered vocals. It may have veered in a rockabilly vein, but was close to his classic 1970s material. It was released as a single with moderate success. The six-minute title song was the weakest song on the first side; it tended to drag and was a miss as a single. The short two-minute “Baby Wanna Dance” was the hit single that never was and would have fit in well with either of his two big selling studio albums.

“Macho City” started off well as a searing political statement of the issues in El Salvador and Afghanistan at the time, but then drifted off into an extended funk/pop instrumental. It was a song that people tend to like or hate with little middle ground. Today, the first part seems dated and the last ten minutes sort of fades into the background music category.

Circle Of Love was listenable but paled next to the albums that surrounded it. It is a Steve Miller album for fans that are looking to get everything in the band’s catalog.

Rating: C

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