Steve Miller Band – Fly Like an Eagle (1976) (@256)
10 Mar 2008
(Review from rollingstone.com, allmusic.com)
Steve Miller had started to essay his classic sound three years ago with his previous album “The Joker”, but 1976′s “Fly Like an Eagle” is where he took flight, creating his definitive slice of space blues. The key is focus, even on an album as stylishly, self-consciously trippy as this, since the focus brings about his strongest set of songs (both originals and covers), plus a detailed atmospheric production where everything fits.
Always enigmatic, always eclectic, Miller’s albums have usually been ill-fitting jigsaw puzzles. As usual, Miller taps various genres such as the blues and straightforward rock, and, as usual, he’s lyrically preoccupied with mental and physical space. He pieces it all together with surprising simplicity.
A measure of how skillfully the songs have been constructed and arranged is the absence of any riff-based guitar solos. The approach here is raw, with rhythm guitar, bass and drums so completely to the point that a hot, flashy solo would seem gratuitous. In this context, the diversity of an album which contains the jaunty, pop-styled “Take the Money and Run”, the three-chord bliss of “Rock’n Me” and two riveting blues numbers, “Mercury Blues” and “Sweet Maree” (the latter neatly enhanced by James Cotton’s harmonica) is that much more impressive.
There are echoes from the past in “Serenade”, a long, hypnotic track propelled by Gary Mallaber’s tense, smart drumming, “Wild Mountain Honey”, with its swirling electric sitar strains, and the dreamlike “The Window”.
Though it may not quite transcend its time, it certainly is an album rock landmark of the mid-’70s and its best moments are classics of the idiom.
* Steve Miller – Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, Sitar
* Gary Mallaber – Drums, Percussion
* Lonnie Turner – Bass
* James Cotton – Harmonica (10, 11)
* Kenny Johnson – Drums (12)
* Charles Calamise – Bass (12)
* Curley Cooke – Guitar (12)
* Les Dudek – Guitar (12)
* John McFee – Dobro (5)
* Joachim Young – B 3 Organ (2, 12)
01. Space Intro – 0:16
02. Fly Like an Eagle – 4:39
03. Wild Mountain Honey – 4:55
04. Serenade – 3:12
05. Dance, Dance, Dance – 2:20
06. Mercury Blues – 3:37
07. Take the Money and Run – 2:49
08. Rock’n Me – 3:22
09. You Send Me – 2:45
10. Blue Odyssey – 0:52
11. Sweet Maree – 4:13
12. The Window – 4:27
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