Released: June 15, 2010
It’s been a long time coming but Steve Miller and the gang are back. The band released Bingo!, their first new album since 1993′s Wide River. Bingo! represents a return to Miller’s guitar-based blues heritage. The album is all classic R&B covers, from B.B. King’s “Rock Me Baby” to Jimmy Reed’s “You Got Me Dizzy.” Three tracks from Jimmy Vaughan (brother of Stevie Ray) appear on the record as well.
Guitar icon Joe Satriani shows up on “Rock Me Baby,” and “Sweet Soul Vibe,” and Santana percussionists Michael Carabello and Adrian Areas sweeten the tea as well. These recordings represent the final works of long time Steve Miller Band member and harmonica legend Norton Buffalo.
The album was produced by Steve and Andy Johns (Cinderella, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Chickenfoot). The sound is full and rich, but not over done in anyway.
The entire vibe on Bingo! is old school feel good blues. It takes you back to a more care free time when life was less complicated, and music was less contrived and over-processed.
In a recent Billboard Magazine interview, Miller said of the new album:
This is a party record, man. It’s about getting up and getting ready to dance. It’s like the fraternity party gigs I used to play in college. I went through and picked all my favorite tunes that I really, really loved. I wanted to make this record forever; it started off as just kind of a goof, and then it got real serious.
Much of the album recalls Miller’s early signature electric blues style, and his guitar playing is better than ever throughout the record’s 14 tracks (I had to have the Deluxe Edition).
The album kicks off with the Jimmy Vaughan penned “Hey Yeah,” which is a finger snapping rhythmic romp, with Miller’s trademark vocals and some tasty wah-wah guitar work.
Listen to “Hey Yeah”
Chester Burnett’s “Who’s Been Talkin’?” will take you to a sweat soaked gin-joint dance floor, cigarette smoke rolling across the ceiling, and skin glowing in the dim bar lights.
Then Miller and Co. bring it back around for the second of the three Vaughan tunes, “Don’t Cha Know,” a smoky rocker, straight up– no chaser.
One of the album’s highpoints comes on King’s “Rock Me Baby,” where Miller and Satriani team up. Then Steve joins up on a playful back and forth with vocalist Sonny Charles (Checkmates) on Lowell Fulsom’s “Tramp.”
“Sweet Soul Vibe,” (the third Vaughan number) brings in some gospel and soul flavor, and beautiful guitar work by Miller and Satriani.
Track by track Miller will keep your dance card full. Don’t be surprised if you feel the urge to head out and shake a skirt and break a sweat after listening to this one. There’s not a bad track in the bunch.
Miller plans on making up for lost time as well. A second companion album is set to follow Bingo! next spring with more of the same, including Junior Wells‘ “Snatch It Back and Hold It,” Muddy Waters‘ “Can’t Be Satisfied,” and a personal favorite, Robert Johnson’s “Sweet Home Chicago.”
Rumor has it Miller also has a full album of original songs waiting for lyrics.
Bingo! is a reminder that music is not simply about listening, but about feeling.
It’s been a long time coming, but Steve Miller and the gang are indeed back!