Sunday Afternoon Music – Going Deep In The Ocean With The Steve Miller Band’s Sailor

When I was a young lad I took things at face value.  I did not question much… did not push authority.  If someone said something, I usually took them at their word.  But taking things a step further… probing… exploring… These are good things to do… Important things.  It’s not that you’re disrespecting what is presented, you just want and need to get the facts for yourself… to discover things on your own.

I wish I had been a bit more rebellious, a bit more inquisitive, at least back then.  It eventually came to be for me, but I am not sure why it took me so long.

Strangely, this happened with music, too.

I grew up on Classic Rock radio, which was fantastic.  It defined my tastes and favorite music, and while I also listened to a lot of albums, it seems I took the current fare as being all there was.  I did not often go to the well… to the back catalog… to the “early stuff.”

I listened to what was out… and a lot of “hits.”  Not the case any more, not even close… though that made for a lot of catch up… not catsup… or ketchup… Come on you crazy people.

I guess we all come to things on our own time, on our own schedule.  Life is what it is, and we arrive when and where we’re supposed to, when the time is right.  I often say I am 10-20 years behind and while I have time to make up, I don’t want to rush.  I want to take it all in… AND live to 120.

The Steve Miller Band – Sailor

SMB was my first “favorite” band… Book of Dreams and Greatest Hits 1974-78 were in regular rotation for me.  But strangely I did not go back, back until much later on.  And this one is a brand new find for me…

I had been streaming it on Spotify, but only picked up the remastered CD at Amoeba the other day… Damn…

I came to this album because of seeing Boz Scaggs at UCLA.  This one has three of Boz’s tunes… “My Friend”, “Overdrive” and “Dime-A-Dance Romance”. He also plays on it… and the record was produced by the legend, Glyn Johns.  That’s some cred and pedigree right there.

First off, Steve plays some killer harp… Killer… And since I am in a harmonica renaissance this is a great listen for that alone.  In fact… I’m stopping writing to play along with “You’re So Fine”… but damn he likes those high notes… They scare me a bit at the moment… I tend to play in the middle… something I KNOW I need to get over.  Wish you could hear us… We sound pretty damn good.

Okay… played that three times…

The album opens with the very psychedelic “Song For Our Ancestors”Pink Floyd immediately came to mind… but then so did My Morning Jacket… especially their trippy “Victory Dance”.  Maybe it was the calling of the foghorn… though MMJ’s seems to be more of a ram’s horn.

And this is a good example… when I was a kid I would not have even understood the whole psychedelic thing… even though I was listening to Floyd early on… I did not come to The Dead until I was in college… Stupid.

Steve Miller is clearly, obviously and wonderfully Blues based, but I did not take the time to really explore the Blues til college… I know… I know… But I am here NOW!

AllMusic says this:  “Most definitely a part of the late-’60s West Coast psychedelic blues revolution that was becoming hipper than hip, Steve Miller was also always acutely aware of both the British psychedelic movement that was swirling in tandem and of where the future lay, and how that would evolve into something even more remarkable.  The result of all those ideas, of course, came together on 1968’s magnificent Sailor LP.”

“Dear Mary” has elements of The Beach Boys… and some George Martin/Beatles horns… but also something I could see the Hippies slow dancing, too… or other things…

The radio hit on this one is “Living in the U.S.A.” and in my younger days I probably would have… no… sadly I DID miss the rest of this most delicious serving, limiting my limited palate to the main, flashy entree.

But this is one perfect meal.  The flavors linger delightfully… and have me looking through the full menu/back catalog of SMB… Children Of The Future and Brand New World here I come.  And some of the later stuff, too.  The later release, Bingo is now on the list, as well.

I like AllMusic’s conclusion… “At their blues-loving best, Sailor is a classic Miller recording and a must-have — especially for the more contemporary fan, where it becomes an initiation into a past of mythic proportion.”

No wonder why they were my first favorite band!!!  And on May 16, 2014 they will be playing the Hollywood Bowl with Journey!!!

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2 Comments

Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me

2 responses to “Sunday Afternoon Music – Going Deep In The Ocean With The Steve Miller Band’s Sailor

  1. Cool post. First got exposed to Miller when working with Barry Goldberg as my eldest brother was a big Chicago blues fan. What I loved in high school ( a bit before you) was Miller’s fourth album Your Saving Grace, particularly the track Baby’s House, co-written by everyone’s session man Nicky Hopkins. It has a real Procol Harum feel, PH being one of my favorite band of all time and my first every concert attendance.

    • marcsmuse

      Thanks, Patrick… Your notes always add so much to the posts… lots of great stories… and now, courtesy of you, I have some new listens… Love this album. And man… I still have your shirt!!!

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