Brave New World

Steve Miller Band

Capitol, 1969

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Change was in the air for The Steve Miller Band, as keyboardist Jim Peterman and guitarist Boz Scaggs had departed. Keyboardist Ben Sidran was selected to join holdovers Miller, bassist Lonnie Turner, and drummer Tim Davis. Sidran was a good addition as he would co-write four of the nine tracks with Miller.  Producer Glyns Johns filled in on guitar and provided some backing vocals. As an example of the band’s burgeoning popularity, Nicky Hopkins and Paul McCartney each appeared on one track.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Despite the changes, they released their third excellent album in a row. Brave New World was very representative of the late 1960s. It had a summer of love and anti-war vibe. It was a fine fit for the growing hippie culture of the day, touting the option for peace as the Vietnam War was escalating.

From the opening crescendo of the title track, the music was a call to the young people of the country to unite. Both “Brave New World” and “Celebration Song” were upbeat explorations that found Miller fusing the psychedelic music of his present with the pop leanings of his future.

The center of the album contained a trio of songs that were equal to any Miller would produce. “Kow Kow (Calqulator)” was an anti-war or peace song that featured some of Miller’s better guitar work, plus pianist Hopkins filling in the gaps. The production was also impeccable, with the sound featuring a layered feel. “Seasons” was a gentle acoustic ballad that contained a nice echo sound. “Space Cowboy” was the quintessential Miller song that was cool in 1969 and remains cool today.

The last track, “My Dark Hour,” featured Paul McCartney, billed as Paul Ramon, on bass and backing vocals. His bass work was actually very creative on this track that would have fit in nicely on Fly Like An Eagle.

Brave New World was very cohesive, with the songs fitting together well. The music may not have been as creative or surprising as their first two albums but it was an easier listen. It remains an album worth revisiting.

Rating: B+

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