After the resounding critical drubbing for 1971's lackluster Rock Love, Steve Miller's worst-received release at that time, he rebounded a year later with this eclectic and much stronger set. It's his seventh album and last as a cult artist before the commercial breakthrough of 1973's The Joker. The album, dedicated to Mahalia Jackson and Junior Parker, is split into two distinct sections. Side one (or the first six songs) dips into '50s doo wop with "Enter Maurice," acoustic folk-blues ("High on You Mama"), upbeat down-home pop ("The Sun Is Going Down"), and good-time R&B blues-rocking with horns ("Somebody Somewhere Help Me") that predates Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes' similar style by about five years. But side two -- the last four tracks -- is where Miller really hits his stride with beautiful, somewhat psychedelic folk-rockers that add his blues and rock roots to the string-enhanced acoustic ballad "Nothing Lasts," the haunting "Love's Riddle," and the shimmering closing title track, certainly one of his most endearing compositions and the only selection to make the cut from this collection for his first career recap released later that year, 1972's Anthology. Nick De Caro's string arrangements are beautifully and expertly integrated into these songs and previous Steve Miller Band member Ben Sidran's production is sympathetic and spacious, as is veteran Bruce Botnick's (the Doors) engineering. Unfortunately, as of 2011, the album was never released on CD in America or the U.K., which makes this somewhat of a lost gem, but one well worth seeking out in used vinyl bins or downloads.
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