CD Reviews

The Steve Miller Band - 'Bingo!' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 20, 2010    
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Steve Miller's first new album in 17 years.

Steve Miller has said of this album, ‘This is a party record, man. It's about getting up and getting ready to dance. It's like the fraternity party gigs I used to play in college. I went through and picked all my favorite tunes that I really, really loved. I wanted to make this record forever; it started off as just kind of a goof, and then it got real serious.’

Well, it has had this reviewer (and fan of Steve Miller’s work) perplexed…It has been 17 years since previous album ‘Wide River’ was released and I know I am not the only fan who was hoping for some more new songs. So initially a disappointment then – but having listened to ‘Bingo!’ many, many times now I do have to declare it to be at least a minor triumph, and certainly fulfils the aspirations that Steve had for this album. It is rich in the blues, and what I will term ‘rock ‘n’ soul’ and to become absorbed by it is to be transported back across more than 40 years – to the sort of music to which I was listening (and its British equivalent) when I became bitten by the musical bug in the mid 60s, and to the sort of stuff that the Steve Miller Band has been playing for ever alongside the more psychedelic stuff in the late 6os and early 70s and the popularist stuff (‘The Joker’, ‘Rock ‘n’ Me’, Abracadabra et al) in the later 70s and into the 80s.

‘Bingo!’ is an album that is easy on the ear, is a great party album and is an effective tribute to the likes of Jimmy Vaughan, Howlin’ Wolf, B B King, Lowell Fulsome, Otis Rush, Jimmy Reed and others whose songs are amongst ones featured here. My personal favourites are the ones lead voiced by Miller himself, and ‘Hey Yeah’, ‘Don’t Cha Know’, ‘Sweet Soul Vibe’ and ‘Come On (Let The Good Times Roll)’ are all evocative of the period in which the band recorded the albums ‘Sailor’, ‘Brave New World’ and ‘Your Saving Grace’ and therefore particularly resonate with me.

Unfortunately I must conclude with a gripe. ‘Bingo!’ is available in two versions, a basic ten tracks or an enhanced version with four bonus tracks. Well, I cannot see the former appealing to anyone, particularly as it struggles to last for more than 30 minutes! This is appalling value for money. The bonus cuts add eleven minutes, but is still hardly great value in the digital age. Fans deserved better after a wait of 17 years…and as a party record it’s not long enough either!

Paul Jerome Smith

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