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Classic of the Week

The Steve Miller Band "Children of the Future" (1968) Capitol

August 05, 1993|BUDDY SEIGAL

Although Steve Miller came out of the late '60s San Francisco music scene, his bold debut album was a far cry from the often primitive efforts of most of his Bay Area kinsmen. "Children of the Future" is an opulently layered sonic adventure boasting stellar musicianship, finely crafted compositions and (for its day) state-of-the-art production.

Side one is a psychedelic suite of multitracked vocal harmony, swelling organ beds and meditative sound effects--a cohesive journey of head music that shames the concurrent needlings of Big Brother and the Holding Company and Country Joe and the Fish.

Side two is a blues-steeped collection of classic, effectively updated covers ("Fanny Mae," "Key to the Highway") and intriguing originals, two of which were written by Miller's then-bandmate Boz Scaggs. "Baby's Calling Me Home" should have been a breakout single, but "Children" sold poorly, failing to gain the band much-deserved attention.

Miller was known to talk down and even laugh at his early work as he basked in the glow of his many successful-but-formulaic hits of the '70s. But truth be told, he rarely ever again approached the thoughtful, pioneering music he made at the beginning of his career.

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