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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. [Volume 39, Number 19, 1976.]

Fly Like an Eagle: Steve Miller Band

Fly Like an Eagle: Steve Miller Band

Steve Miller's a superior rip-off artist in that he only rips himself off; it's always been his style and it's beautiful. For example, notice similarities between the opening of the title track and "My Dark Hour", "Rock 'n me" and the "Joker's" "Mary Lou", and reflections of "Journey from Eden" and "Children of the Future" in "Blue Odyssey/Sweet Maree". One's always conscious of Miller's identity in the way he weaves his familiar licks into new shapes for the 'new age'. Miller fits into a niche of history along with Quicksilver, the Dead... and separately as the 'straightest' blues band of the lot. His is a wash of space music, his own blues, country humour (John Mcfee's dobro picking on "Dance, dance, dance" surely evokes a smile), and, above all, feel good music.

A space intro leads into "Fly like an eagle" with Miller's abstract lyrics: 'Time keeps on slipping into the future....feed the babies...house the street people...oh, there's a solution". Cross rhythms and special effects are strongly to his advantage as are the Miller-blues on "Mercury Blues" and the appealing vocal lines in "Wild Mountain Honey" and "Serenade": "We're lost in space, the time is gone and the earth is your home".

Side two opens with 'Take the money and run" - 'this here's a story 'bout Billy Joe and Bobby Sue, two young lovers with nothing better to do' than re-enact Bonnie and Clyde's scene. Sam Cooke's "You Send Me" can't help but bring back memories to the days of Boz Scaggs/Miller teamwork as a fine pair of guitarists, each with a unique voice (i.e. "Sailor"). But nothing's lacking in either respect here; Miller can croon as well as Boz in Cooke's ode to a young modern maiden. "Blue Odyssey" and "Sweet Maree" bring out the Blues from the Steve Miller Band again with a blend of James Cotton's harp and Miller's acoustic guitar. This is feelgood music-soft licks floating above head level. "The Window" is peculiarly memorable for its mixing (guest stars in abundance) and vocals -"Ask my baby what she wants to be, she says a monkey swinging in a tree. Ask my baby what she's thinking of, says there's nothing stronger than love". Just look through the window for peace, harmony and love; sure, we've heard it before, but not like this.

"Fly Like An Eagle", Miller's ninth album, is as good a place to start as the first and notable "Children of the Future". He's one of the musicians it would be a great pity for anyone to miss. And he's a musician in every sense of the termartistically, critically, lyrically and hangtogetherly. If you've never heard of Steve Miller and his cohorts, listen to this album with a fresh mind as a well-deserved change from trends in music; and if you're lucky enough to know Miller well, then this is a Ninth Symphony.

- Katy Corner