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Steve Miller Band: Let Your Hair Down (Special Edition)

Steve Miller and his band have been playing and recording music all over the world since the band's first album, Children of the Future back in June, 1968. His website discography lists 23 albums, with millions in sales. He is one of the world's best living blues and pop guitarists and singer/songwriters and has been playing and singing since early adolescence. Steve was lucky enough to have been born to a pathologist, jazz enthusiast, and accomplished amateur recording engineer father and a mother who was an accomplished jazz singer. They helped introduce him at an early age to the Chicago blues and jazz music that was popular in his birthplace, Milwaukie, Wisconsin. Steve's father was a sound engineer and often had Les Paul the famous guitarist over for dinner and visits to the Miller home. Steve at a very young age benefited by studying with Les Paul for years. As Miller progressed in his guitar playing abilities he joined some of the most famous Chicago blues legends on stage performing the classics of the day. He played with famous blues legends like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Buddy Guy. They all helped inspire Steve to pursue a musical career.

Let Your Hair Down, and its predecessor, Bingo, from last year, are a tribute to those great blues artists and times which helped meld the artist and man Steve has become. This album, and the last, Bingo, share wonderfully inspired artwork from the famous rock album artist Storm Thorgerson, who designed many of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and other great band's albums of the 1970s. Let Your Hair Down is well produced with rich sounds that give these songs the sparkling shine they deserve after the many years they have served to bring joy to the world. Steve has hand - picked his favorites and included them on Bingo and Let Your Hair Down for others to appreciate as he and his fans have over the years. The CD digi packs for both albums include liner notes in which Steve describes his inspiration for including each song. This and Bingo are must purchases for any student or lover of the blues, especially Chicago blues.

Steve Miller and Sonny Charles share vocals, and along with Norton Buffalo on harmonica, give 'Snatch it Back and Hold It', a bright new sound. This song is one of the most famous off what Steve calls "the greatest Chicago blues album of all time", 'Hoo Doo Man Blues' from Junior Wells and Buddy Guy. The beat is fast and the two singers sound as good as they did back in the 70s. The clarity and dynamics in the sound are just wonderful. This song is full of bravado and kick. No mistaking the power of this song to open an album. "We're having a real good time!"

'I Got Love if You Want It' keeps the power and glory from the last song going and propels the feeling over the edge. Steve handles the lead and backing vocals along with the guitar work. The drums from Gordy Knudtson are excellent and full of power to match the excellent guitar soloing that takes place. This James, 'Slim Harpo' Moore song is given a nice polishing on the band's rendition.

'Just a Little Bit' is a Roscoe Gordon song that Steve brings back to life along with Knudtson's drums and Buffalo's excellent harmonica work. Steve sounds like he's singing back in the 'Fly Like an Eagle' era, as his voice has lost none of its power and magic. The Joker matches the delivery he produced back in the 70s as if time stood still and he's right back at the top of the pop charts.

'Close Together' is a Jimmy Reed classic that Miller and Charles deliver as a duet. Miller backed up Jimmy Reed when Steve was only 14 years old and brings back the sound and feeling of playing at a road house party on the patio, only this time set to perfect recording acoustics.

Miller sings Roscoe Gordon's 'No More Doggin' with that shine and smile in his voice that only Steve can bring. The guitar work and that Miller vocal echo effect we fans are all familiar with from the 70s is back to help stamp Steve's indelible mark on this classic. Buffalo's harmonica work is excellent; no wonder Steve dedicated this album to him. Heavy drums from Knudtson and lead vocals, this time from Charles bring Willie Dixon's 'Pretty Thing' full steam ahead, and back to life. Buffalo makes his presence felt again with excellent harmonica work that fills perfectly. The percussion on this song will have you up on your feet dancing or at least moving your feet.

Buffalo's harmonica, guitar, bass and Miller's vocals bring Muddy Water's classic 'Can't Be Satisfied' back to life. The guitar work and harmonica keep this track gritty sounding despite the flashy sheen.

You knew any trip down 'memory lane' had to include a stop at 'Sweet Home Chicago', and Miller doesn't disappoint. Steve brings this Robert Johnson classic to life with fresh keys and piano from Joseph Wooten, with great support from that fantastic harmonica work of Buffalo's. Steve's guitar and voice are perfect.

'Love the Life I Live' is probably one of my favorite tracks, along with 'Sweet Home' and the opener. Willie Dixon would be proud of Miller's cleaned up and sparkling rendition of his classic. The guitar work is some of the best on the album. This track's as much a part of the blues as the guitar and harmonica.

'The Walk' is a great rocker from Jimmy McCracklin that will have your feet tapping or dancing. Charles' lead vocals are outstanding, mixed well with perfect drums from Knudtson and harmonica from Buffalo.

'When Things Go Wrong It Hurts Me Too' is the first bonus song available on the expanded digi pack. Melvin London's song is a wonderful harmonica filled blues track that Miller's vocals, guitars and Buffalo's harmonica rock good and loud.

'I Ain't Got You' is Calvin Carter's song written for Jimmy Reed. Many famous bands have covered this song, including, and I think the best version from the Yardbirds. But Miller and Charles do a great job of shining it up and making it sound brand new again.

'Tell Me What's the Reason' is Florence Cadrez's classic that T- Bone Walker made famous. T-Bone taught Steve to play the guitar behind his head and to do the splits. Billy Peterson's bass is wonderful on this track. Charles handles the vocals to that cool blues beat.

'Driftin' Blues' is a slow traditional 'somebody's been messin' around' blues song set to a soft "drift out on the sea". Perfect way to end this set and double volume of blues classics with Bingo included.

Rating: 5/5 Blues doesn't get any better than in the hands of a master!

Track Listing
1. Snatch It Back And Hold It 3:59
2. I Got Love If You Want It 2:30
3. Just A Little Bit 2:55
4. Close Together 2:53
5. No More Doggin' 2:51
6. Pretty Thing 2:56
7. Can't Be Satisfied 3:40
8. Sweet Home Chicago 2:41
9. Love The Life I Live 3:21
10. The Walk 2:58
11. When Things Go Wrong (It Hurts Me Too) 2:40
12. I Ain't Got You 1:45
13. Tell Me What's The Reason 3:09
14. Driftin' Blues 3:32

Added: May 31st 2011
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2347
Language: english

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