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Majestic - There is no other word people!!!!
on 26 May 2007
Just indulge an old 60's vinyl hobo for a few words preamble. It's like this; you just knew there was something good within that sleeve when you were drawn to the cover alone! Ah CD covers just don't have the same impact, but I digress. Let's get on with the important stuff.
`SAILOR' in its day and for about two decades afterwards was considered a classic by folk who cared about quality and artistry. A merging of as it was called then `experimental' with good old rock and blues and some fine pop music. Let me tell you about this track-by-track. It's the only way.
SONG FOR OUR ANCESTORS, begins the album, long low foghorns, distant ships' bells, I guess this was inspired by San Francisco's bay, this holds you for longer than you believe before the music swells up and the foghorns' fade, you are now in a wonderful blend of keyboard and guitar, the latter slipping into an odd mechanical style that sounds as ship's engines might. On this odyssey goes making you feel you are out there with the sea. The best instrumental of the era! Moving smoothly in DEAR MARY an example of a trade-mark Miller poignant love song made all the more emotional with the added soundtrack of failing rain, and a very sweet guitar. In turn merging into the fast moving drumming and urgent rhythms of a Tim Davis and Boz Scagg's collaboration MY FRIEND, an incisive piece of observation on the human condition. And no pause for breath for we are into one's of Miller's own sharp commentary songs LIVIN' IN THE USA, this has got everything, Harley Davidson opening, a fast beat, mean harmonica, intelligent lyrics, and a racehorse commentary as an ending. Now a change of pace into the slow, beautiful QUICKSILVER GIRL, the subject matter was nothing orginal; legion were the songs in the 1960s of free-spirit girls, but oh the harmonies of this one and the soft, delicate guitar work. Now next comes one of my favourites a rare Jim Peterman offering LUCKY MAN, starting with a bright jaunty folksy and country guitar before slipping into a low tone blues influenced and guitar and keyboard, and I could be wrong but I believe the singer is Jim, on a up-beat, straightforward love song. This one always raises my spirits. Tracks continue to slip from one to another and with a chorus of various impressions of crooks we are into GANGSTER OF LOVE, which actually was written by Johnny `Guitar' Wilson and is the player boasting about his..err prowess and success with the ladies. I always like to think this was done as in one session as at the end there is a distinct lot of laughing and falling about. Sticking with the band's early affinity with old blues and rock, comes a fine rendition of Jimmy Reed's YOU'RE SO FINE, proving as five-piece unit this band was very underrated in its time and you've just got to love the harmonica break. Finally two Boz Scaggs works and considering he made a reputation as an accomplished producer of rich, melodic and lush sounds, these are as hard-drivin' and rockin' as any of their time. OVERDRIVE is one, which ensures your toes will not stay still, and if you try to restrain them, then you find your fingers will take over. Now DIME-A-DANCE-ROMANCE is a rock gigolo song, and I am sure many a 70s metal band musician heard this on his older sib's record player; only this had melody as well, and by the way let's hear it for bass player Lonnie Turner, who nearly gets to play lead on this one! Rock-rock-rock!!
This was the second and last album the five-piece band would create; Scaggs would forge his own solo career, Peterman would take time out from touring to work in studios. Folk will argue over the best period of Steve Miller's work. For me there was The Steve Miller Band, followed by Steve Miller with a band, brilliant in its own right,and I wish for the impossible that there had been a way the five-piece team could have stayed together as well! Who knows where they would have gone? Take a break from some of the 60's showmen and women, buy this and appreciate musicians.