Monday, January 8, 2018

Steve Miller - 1972-03-27, Ultrasonic Studios

From the Ultrasonic Archives...

Flashy suit, flashy guitar... must be the late 70s
I'm not sure just why, exactly, but some studios have a distinctive sound. Stax, Fame, Gold Star: the stuff that came from those studios is still highly regarded.

For me, Ultrasonic is right up there. Throughout the 70s, more than a few live-to-air broadcasts came from this Long Island studio and almost every one of them has a great, crisp sound. And, more interestingly, the bands usually brought their A game to these sets. I grab these boots whenever I come across them.

Today's share is perhaps my favourite of the bunch: a killer live-to-air set from Steve Miller Band in early 1972. It's from when he was right on the cusp of fame, with a solid back catalogue of songs, guitar chops and a tight band. But none of the songs that you've heard on FM radio a billion times or more.

At this point, the blues were still an influence on Miller's sound, but the band was leaning towards straight-ahead rock. Kind of like mid-70s Fleetwood Mac, now that I think about it.  There's lots of organ and pounding rhythms, but Miller's guitar playing still has a sharp bluesy edge and he doesn't use all kinds of spacey effects like he would a few years later. He opens with "My Dark Hour," whose riff he'd later recycle into a much more popular song, but quickly takes off into space with a tasty solo. Later, "Blues With A Feeling" goes back to his Chicago-style influences, while "Space Cowboy" goes way out there with some powerful jamming. I'm not even really a big Miller girl, but this set slays and more than scratches the itch when I want some blues rock.


M.D. Milner said...

SM - Hemp72:

jim said...

Really good. Thank you, very much.