Reissues explore early Steve Miller collaborations with Boz Scaggs, Paul McCartney, Nicky Hopkins

Steve Miller’s seminal first five recordings will be reissued by Edsel Records, spanning a period from 1968-1970 and featuring appearances by Boz Scaggs, Nicky Hopkins and Paul McCartney, among others. Legendary producer Glyn Johns also served as an early producer of Miller’s recordings.

1968’s Children of the Future and Sailor; 1969’s Brave New World and Your Saving Grace; and 1970’s Number 5 will arrive on October 8, 2012 in special Digipak editions. Included are the original album artwork, lyrics, new liner notes from Joel Selvin of the San Francisco Chronicle, new quotes from Miller and rare photographs from Miller’s personal archives.

Miller initially led a five-man lineup that included Scaggs on guitar and vocals, along with drummer Tim Davis, keyboardist Jim Peterman and bassist Lonnie Turner. Together, they produced both the 1968 recordings, highlighted by a suite of linked psychedelic songs on Side 1 of Children of the Future. Scaggs composed five songs over this two-album span. “Living in the USA,” a perennial convert favorite, first appeared on Sailor.

Brave New World and Your Saving Grace saw the Miller group reduced to a three-man lineup with Turner and Davis being joined by special guests Ben Sidran, Nicky Hopkins and Paul McCartney — who appeared on “My Dark Hour” from Brave New World as “Paul Ramon.” Key tracks from this period include “Seasons,” and the epic “Baby’s House.” Finally, there’s Number 5, which saw the arrival of new bassist Bobby Winkelman. Sidran and Hopkins were joined by fellow guests Buddy Spicher, Wayne Moss and Charlie McCoy of Area Code 615.

Miller would, of course, find his greatest successes later in the mid-1970s, and has since sold more than 30 million records in a career spanning more than 40 years.

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Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Steve Miller and Boz Scaggs. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

SHOWS I’LL NEVER FORGET: DONALD FAGEN, MICHAEL McDONALD AND BOZ SCAGGS, JULY 14, 2012: The people who came of age when Boz Scaggs, the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan regularly charted songs don’t go steppin’ out as much at night, but when the Dukes of September come into town, it’s worthwhile for them to go catch this show and find their fountain of youth for one evening. There are no fancy light shows, outlandish costumes or funky strutting around the stage, just consummate professional musicians perfectly delivering a stage soundtrack alternative to The Big Chill. My dad, who I took along with me for a show I’ll truly never forget because I shared it with him, called it the best show he’s ever been to. I was so glad he was thrilled by it, but looking around the arena, I saw that everyone else was, too.

STEVE MILLER – NUMBER 5 (1970): The Steve Miller Band was huge when I was a kid. Everybody owned Book of Dreams and Fly Like An Eagle. That’s all I ever owned. So, it’s been kinda fun to dig into a famous artist’s back catalog. Check out the liner dedication: “This album is dedicated to the people in our struggle to bring sanity to the world now!; To NASA for getting the people to the moon, thus giving the world a new chance to expand together universally in peace; to Johnny Cash & Paul McCartney for their integrity in times of darkness; and to President Nixon: ‘We love you cuz you need it.’” A spacey and somewhat bluesy record that’s definitely a reflection of its time.

SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: BOZ SCAGGS: Join us as we explore a series of lesser-known favorites. That’s right, nothing from Silk Degrees: The truth is, though, that it was the former Steve Miller sideman’s seventh solo release, and Scaggs has continued issuing varied and vital recordings, even if far fewer people have heard them in the post-white suited era. So, enough with the Silk Degrees already. We dig into “Baby’s Calling Me Home” from Miller’s Children of the Future, as well as songs from Hits!, Some Change, Come on Home and Speak Low.

ONE TRACK MIND: BOZ SCAGGS AND DUANE ALLMAN, “LOAN ME A DIME” (1969): Sometimes it’s hard to believe that the blue-eyed soul singer responsible for such sophisticated dance classics like “Lido Shuffle” and “Jojo” during the age of disco came from some pretty organic beginnings. Boz Scaggs left the Steve Miller Blues Band in 1968 and set out to become a star in his own right. His self-titled first effort was a fine mix of natural soul, rock and blues — and the standout track is the long one: a 12-minute blues lament “Loan Me A Dime.”

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The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.