Steve Miller Band: Bingo!

Written by June 15th, 2010 at 7:00 am

Steve Miller Band
Bingo!
(Space Cowboy/Roadrunner/Loud & Proud Records)
Rating: ★★½☆☆

Bingo! is the Steve Miller Band’s first album of new material in 17 years, although none of the material is really “new” as Miller didn’t write any of it. The album is primarily blues and R&B remakes that are Miller’s tribute to the legends who inspired him, and while he doesn’t fall completely flat, the blues fire that still burns within Eric Clapton, or even Billy Gibbons, is unfortunately just flickering in Miller.

Co-produced by Miller and Andy Johns (the engineer behind some of rock’s greatest recordings by Led Zeppelin and the Stones), Bingo! finds Miller getting away from the pop that made him so much money in the late ‘70s as he attempts to pay homage to the blues legends he was inspired by. And while he has never really been much of a blues singer (or a singer at all), Miller has always been a fine guitar player, something many of his Top 40 fans never had a clue about. This record finds Miller covering tunes by Howlin’ Wolf, Lowell Fulson, Otis Rush and other blues legends, in addition to selections by modern blues legend Jimmie Vaughan. Harmony vocals from new band member Sonny Charles (famous for his tenure as lead singer with Checkmates, Ltd.), and cameos from original Santana percussionist Michael Carabello and Chickenfoot guitarist Joe Satriani, give the record a unique stamp. Unfortunately, for songs like Jimmy Reed’s “You Got Me Dizzy,” these touches just don’t work, and Miller’s guitar sound and Johns’s engineering aren’t raw enough to capture the essence of the blues giants Miller is trying to pay tribute to.

This isn’t meant to diss Miller. He means well on this album and can certainly still play. He did some cool work in the late ‘60s FM rock days that a lot of people aren’t aware of, and helped make it acceptable for white blues boys to write pop and incorporate synths into their work and actually get paid. But if you buy Bingo! expecting to hear some burning blues, or to hear another of the Miller hits that may have excited you in the ‘70s, you’ll be disappointed either way.

  • Kurt King

    Wow, for a guy who is not trying to “Diss” Steve Miller you did a pretty good job. I’ve read many other reviews and all give rave reviews on his new CD. I have also had the pleasure of a recent SMB concert where he played most of the songs on Bingo and I enjoyed all of them. Perhaps you should quit looking for the meaning of life in every song and quit throwing stones at the throne. Do you know what the difference is between you and Steve Miller? I’ve heard of him. LOL

  • Maddog

    What Kurt said.

  • mrcritic

    The difference is.. this writer is not a has been.. Mr. Miller is.

  • Kurt King

    Let me correct you mrcritic, you are not a has been… you are a never was. One shouldn’t engage in a war of wits unarmed.

  • Monte

    Great review!! My thoughts EXACTLY!!!!

  • r biddle

    i read recently in a magazine that led zeppelin and steve miller band were the ‘twin pillars’ of todays classic rock radio…that would imply that millions upon millions of people must love steve miller not to mention his ‘singing’ which you seem to find questionable…your obvious distain for steve miller probably is reflected in other bands that appeal to music fans the world over and i probably wouldn’t t want to hang out at your house and listen to you record collection…i heard the bingo! album and its a perfect little pop blues piece that goes good with barbeque and beer and that’s good enough for me and i’m sure millions of other music lovers….

  • mrcritic

    haha kurt.. you have no idea who i am

  • Kurt King

    BINGO! My point exactly mrcritic.

  • Squabby

    I love the album. it is fun. it may not be a masterpiece but how many albums are these days. hardly any. steve miller is a unique type of music. not everyone will like it. just as i hate rap music. lighten up. you’ll live longer

  • BadKitty

    Steve Miller is still a supremely talented guitarist, and his voice sounds like it did 30 years ago. He’s one of the best live concert acts I’ve ever seen, and I am glad he decided to share the music that inspired him as a kid to go onto all the great things he would eventually do. Bingo is a fun album full of great playing, and those infectious Steve Miller trademark harmonies, and some fine vocals by Sonny Charles as well. The author of this stinky review should be ashamed!

  • Mike

    Too bad Mr. Moore can’t just take in something different from a very talented Steve Miller. It’s obvious to many that you can’t expand your view if you are not willing to get out on the ledge from time to time. Steve has done a great job. Yeah, it’s not the overly produced licks from the 70′s and 80′s but I don’t expect Steve to be living in a time warp. I too had seen Steve Miller with Sonny Charles during one of the early tour dates. Great show…& Sonny is a fantastic addition to Steve’s band.

  • http://www.chrisbrownphoto.com cbphoto

    I bought the CD because Andy Johns had his hand in its sound and production. I didn’t buy it thinking Steve Miller was going to top his “Joker” album. To anyone who wants to hear clarity of every instrument, the sound engineering of this collection delivers. To anyone looking to hear the music that Miller is best known for, forget it.

    Also, the CD art on this site is great. On the CD packaging, I couldn’t see everything on the foreground pants. The JPEG on this site is nice and large, making everything visible. Nice!

  • http://chimneyparkresort.com/chimneyforum/index.php?action=profile;u=238265 bule

    Great list, very interesting especially the one on the Manifesto which sparked something. Thanks for the good advices.

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