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The Steve Miller Band were eventually to be a huge band after the release of The Joker single, which topped the charts in the USA in 1973, becoming a stadium band with album like Fly Like An Eagle and Book Of Dreams.
It was a big pay-off for years of grafting which had begun with the band being a primo trippy San Francisco-located psychedelic band as this their debut album Children Of The Future well proves. While the later pop-rock of things like Jet Airliner are wonderful in their own way, my love of the band is rooted in their early albums.
Recorded in England in early 1968 with Glyn Johns, the first side is spacey, laid back and psychedelic, the second is blues rock.
I think this very much shows where Steve’s head was at. A relocated Texan with a huge blues background, he kept much of that passion when it came to making this record but of course he was pushed toward psychedelia by the trippy culture of the time. This is pretty much the only psychedelic record he made, the next album kept the blues but apart from opening cut Song For Our Ancestors dispensed with the ambient far-out-edness of the first side of Children of the Future. He wouldn’t deliver a title as left field as "The Beauty of Time Is That It's Snowing (Psychedelic B.B.)" again, either.
His lead guitar prowess is on display on songs like Steppin’ Stone and a great rendition of Key To The Highway.
This was when Boz Scaggs was still in the band and he contributed one of the long time faves of the SMB with Baby’s Callin’ Me Home, which opens the second side.
As with all Glyn Johns produced albums, it sounds as good today as it did 52 years ago. A UK first pressing with flip back sleeve on the black Capitol label with rainbow rim sells for over £40 now. If you've got any UK copies of the early singles, especially Sittin' In Circles b/w Roll With It, both of which never appeared on an album, then you're sitting on £40-£80. I have a USA copy of that 7", which is still rare but a little less. No 7" were taken off this album but then, that was more common at the time.
In the USA, unlike in the UK, it came out as a gatefold and it is a stunning bit of artwork. However, it only charted at a peak of #134. It didn’t trouble the scorers in the UK.
Every Steve Miller record from 1968 right up to 2020 is worth the entrance fee (yes, even Rock Love!) but he set a very high standard with his debut album (their debut recordings are actually on the Revolution soundtrack album alongside Mother Earth and QMS, released the previous year. That’s the best version of Mercury Blues btw) A stone cold west coast late 60s classic. Every home should have one.