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Music Review: Steve Miller Band – Book Of Dreams

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Steve Miller built his reputation during the late 1960s and early ’70s as a psychedelic rock and blues artist. While his sales were moderate, his albums ranked as some of the best of the era. That all changed in 1976 with the release of Fly Like An Eagle. It was an album of smooth and accessible rock, which was his commercial break through that sold several million copies. The question was what he could do for an encore.

It turned out that he had recorded two albums of material. The unreleased music was released in the spring of 1977 as Book Of Dreams. It was another commercial success and elevated the Steve Miller Band to one of the more successful artists in the country.

There was not a great difference between the two albums. Both were catchy pop rock that produced a number of hit singles. Book Of Dreams may have been a little weaker due to the instrumentals and a couple of filler tracks but the highs were as good, if not better, than its predecessor.

The hit singles formed the foundation of the album and are the most memorable tracks. “Jet Airliner” was a performance that defined his sound during this part of his career. It is a polished, mid-tempo song with a laid back vocal. “Swingtown” is a joyous party song. “Jungle Love” was a perfect track for AM radio play.

Several of the lesser known songs are almost as good. “Winter Time” is a gentle acoustic ballad. “Sacrifice” has a Les Dudek guitar solo that was among the best of his career. “True Fine Love” is a catchy rock song in which Miller achieved a unique sound by overdubbing his guitar solo into a three part harmony. “The Stake” may not have fit in with the rest of the music very well but it’s a nice, bluesy track that looked back to his past.

Book Of Dreams was one of the highlights of Steve Miller’s career and of the 1970s. While his Greatest Hits album would eventually overshadow his studio releases, this is one that should be visited every once in a while.

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