Wednesday, June 16, 2010

steve miller band "bingo!" review

steve miller's "bingo!" is the steve miller band's first new material since 1993's, "wide river." the 17 year hiatus wasn't entirely fruitless, miller has been recording (just not releasing) and touring every summer. one of my summer of 2008 highlights was catching steve miller at radio city music hall - that was a great show! amazingly, despite the extended studio drought, "bingo!," has no new material. the album covers 10 blues classics - songs that miller listened to as a texas teenager. he includes four additional tracks on the special edition (together with expanded liner notes) of the album.

miller, in various interviews promoting the album, is unapologetic about the lack of new material. he's just not in a song writing place - one that would generates new material. but that's a far cry from not playing music. in the studio sessions (held at the skywalker ranch) miller recorded 42 songs. more than enough material for two albums. and, in fact, he plans to release a second album from those sessions next year.

given all the tunes he recorded, one grip i have is the remarkably short running time. the entire 10 tracks clock in at just over 30 minutes. tack on the 4 bonus tracks, the running time inches just over 42 minutes. this volume of sound is more appropriate for a 60's or 70's vinyl release - not a modern cd (and even that term sounds so dated). still, it's all about the music - not the length thereof.

and, in that regard, the music doesn't disappoint. the is a guitar driven, bluesy album. while a couple of tunes sound like classic miller band pop - the bulk of the album has a 50's striped down blues feel. my favorite number on the album is miller's cover of "tramp" - where miller's voice channels the muscular side of tom jones! and, among the bonus tracks, "further on up the road" has miller sounding like eric clapton singing and, on "drivin' wheel," miller could stand in for buddy guy.

"rock me babe" - not to be confused with miller standard "rock 'n me" - and "sweet soul vibe" have the added licks of guest guitarist, joe satriani. vocals from miller band's sonny charles, especially on "tramp" really add depth to overall sound of the album. this album isn't a pop version of steve miller. even so, it'll be immediately accessible to even the most occasional steve miller fan.

here is the track list:

hey yeah
who's been talkin'
don't cha know
rock me baby
sweet soul vibe
come on (let the good times roll)
all your love (i miss loving)
you got me dizzy
ooh poo pah doo

bonus tracks (on special edition):

ain't that lovin' you baby
further on up the road
look on yonder wall
drivin' wheel

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