Steve Miller has long been known as a killer guitar player. Although FM radio audiences might now him from classics like The Joker and Abracadabra, Miller has always had a penchant for firey blues-rock lead playing. So it’s no surprise that Bingo! is a collection of blues covers, nor is it any particular shock that it rocks pretty hard, albeit in a controlled, mature, measured way. This is no strum and flail blues-rock of the kind propagated by all those mid-90s Stevie Ray Vaughan clones.
Produced by Miller with the legendary Andy Johns (Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Chickenfoot) and recorded at George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch, Bingo! features songs originally recorded by BB King, Lowell Fulson, Otis Rush, Jimmy Reed and Jimmie Vaughan. And looky who pops up to trade solos with Miller on both Rock Me Baby and Sweet Soul Vibe: one Mr Joe Satriani. On Rock Me Baby the interplay between Satch and Miller is damn near psychic, and it’s great to hear Satch play in a more bluesy style akin to his self-titled album in the mid 90s (which was produced by Andy Johns’ brother Glyn). Satch’s solo on Sweet Soul Vibe is a little more like his Chickenfoot mode, over a groove that reminds me a little of Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan’sTick Tock.
The guitar tones on Bingo! are considered and warm without being too hot; the playing is nuanced and detailed without being too stuffy, and the production has a very crisp, clear vibe without being too slick. And while it’s great to have Joe Satriani along for the ride of a few songs, Miller’s own sharp and tasty playing is more than worthy of holding the attention of guitar geeks like you and I.
By the way, Miller recorded another album at the same time as Bingo!, and that will be out next year.
Thanks to Roadrunner Australia.