Children Of The Future

Steve Miller Band

Capitol Records, 1968

http://www.stevemillerband.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/17/1997

It would be too easy for me to review any of Steve Miller's popular works. I could write for hours about how The Joker is one of the best rock albums ever made (and I could argue for weeks with you on just what "the pompatus of love" means). I could relive the days of my youth and listen to Fly LIke An Eaghe or Book Of Dreams, and sing "Jet Airliner" until my wife threatened me with divorce.

It would also be a cop-out for me to review these - Miller has been in the industry for almost 30 years, and there are many of his albums that have been ignored in favor of the radio-friendly pablum (pablum which I love). So, we head real deep into the Pierce Memorial Archives (watch that first step, President Clinton) and go to his 1968 debut release, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Children Of The Future.

On this album, Miller and his band are torn between two worlds - one of peaceful psychedelia, where everything lives in spaced-out harmony. The other is the rough, pissed-off world of blues. Had he tried to interweave these two worlds in the songs on this album, we would have a complete mess on our hands. Instead, Miller nicely separates the two halves onto each side of the vinyl slab.

The psychedelic first side is easily the hardest to get through, despite it being relatively short - two of the five cuts clock in at less than one minute. But all the songs interweave into a long jam session which, at times, is a bit painful to listen to. The title track holds the most promise, while the last song on the side, "The Beauty Of Time Is That It's Snowing," has a hint of the guitar work that is to come. The rest of the side, however, is best left to the ages.

Had Children Of The Future been all psychedelic, the story would end here. Ah, but Miller begins to delve into their blues roots on the first cut on side two. "Baby's Callin' Me Home," one of two Boz Scaggs-penned tracks,begins a trio of songs that puts life back into this album - all three, like the first side, flow together - a practice I've never been completely fond of, but it does work on this trio.

Probably the most powerful cut on this one is a lumbering version of "Key To The Highway." Miller's take on this Big Bill Broonzy number is either remorseful or filled with doom, I haven't figured it out yet. But whatever the case, it is one of the most powerful versions I have ever heard, and should not be missed.

If you're looking for "The Joker," "Take The Money And Run" or hit-based songs, you will probably be disappointed at first by Children Of The Future. But put aside the biases (and take the psychedelics with a grain of salt), and you'll find that this album, while a tad dated, is worth a listen or two.

Rating: B-

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© 1997 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol Records, and is used for informational purposes only.