Most definitely a part of the late-'60s West Coast psychedelic blues revolution that was becoming hipper than hip, Steve Miller was also always acutely aware of both the British psychedelic movement that was swirling in tandem and of where the future lay, and how that would evolve into something even more remarkable. The result of all those ideas, of course, came together on 1968's magnificent Sailor LP. What was begun on Children of the Future is more fully realized on Sailor, most notably on the opening "Song for Our Ancestors," which begins with a foghorn and only gets stranger from there. Indeed, the song precognizes Pink Floyd's 1971 opus "Echoes" to such an extent that one wonders how much the latter enjoyed Miller's own wild ride. Elsewhere, the beautiful, slow "Dear Mary" positively shimmers in a haze of declared love, while the heavy drumbeats and rock riffing guitar of "Living in the U.S.A." are a powerful reminder that the Steve Miller Band, no matter what other paths they meandered down, could rock out with the best of them. And, of course, this is the LP that introduced many to the Johnny "Guitar" Watson classic "Gangster of Love," a song that would become almost wholly Miller's own, giving the fans an alter ego to caress long before "The Joker" arose to show his hand. Rounding out Miller's love of the blues is an excellent rendering of Jimmy Reed's "You're So Fine." At their blues-loving best, Sailor is a classic Miller recording and a must-have -- especially for the more contemporary fan, where it becomes an initiation into a past of mythic proportion.
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