Steve Miller Band

Capitol, 1968

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


The Steve Miller Band’s Children Of The Future was one of the better debut albums of the late 1960s. Not content to rest on their laurels, they one-upped themselves with their second album, Sailor.

Sailor was not as avant garde or psychedelic as their first album, and it found the moving more toward the mainstream. It was also more melodic in places, a style Miller would eventually embrace, and which would ultimately bring him huge commercial success.

The album would also be the last for the original Steve Miller Band lineup. Guitarist/vocalist Steve Miller, guitarist/vocalist Boz Scaggs, bassist Lonnie Turner, drummer Tim Davis, and keyboardist/vocalist Jim Peterman was a true band that did not always center on Miller, despite the group’s name. Miller only wrote four of the ten tracks while Scaggs contributed three and Peterman one. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

One of the songs Miller did write remains one of the best of his career. I have listened to “Living In The USA” hundreds of times and it never gets old. While Miller has always been a somewhat underrated guitarist, the song is driven by Peterman’s organ as it just rolls along. It was an up-tempo, melodic, and catchy burst of energy that was one of the better listening experiences of the era.

All of Miller’s compositions were strong. The album lead track, “Song for Our Ancestors,” was atmospheric and included some blues guitar play by Miller. “Dear Mary” was a smooth pop ballad. “Quicksilver Girl” was a pop/blues fusion that was both catchy and gentle.

Scaggs went in a number of directions with his contributions. “My Friend,” with the lead vocal by drummer Tim Davis, was the most psychedelic piece on the album, while “Overdrive” was a combination of country and blues. “Dime-A-Dance Romance” was a raw blues piece and very different from the smooth pop that would dominate the first part of his solo career.

Jim Peterman may have provided the vocals on his slow blues piece, “Lucky Man,” but it was Miller’s riffing that was memorable.

The band performed a credible cover of Jimmy Reed’s “You’re So Fine,” but it was a short version of Jimmy “Guitar” Watson’s “Gangster Of Love,” whose title would follow Miller throughout his career.

Miller would go on to huge pop/rock success, making Sailor a sometimes forgotten album. If you want to be exposed to some of the finest music of the late 1960s, then this is an album to track down.

Rating: A-

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