SJ-12339 Italian X Rays
Produced by Steve Miller, Byron Allred, Kenny Lee Lewis, Gary Mallaber
Released on November 1984
US CHART POSITION #106
Find it at GEMM
SJ-12339 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

T he shrouded, synthesizer-heavy sound of Abracadabra none too magically reappeared on Italian X-Rays. At this juncture, you could argue that Steve Miller Band had lived beyond their utility. Miller’s muse is a simple one, best served by a catchy guitar riff and his folksy/mystical voice. Italian X Rays is determined to complicate things with instrumental interludes and then-clever studio effects (“Italian X Rays,” “Bongo Bongo”). Today, it hasn’t aged much better than the contemporary work of J. Geils Band and ELO. Byron Allred, playing Richard Tandy to Miller’s Jeff Lynne, finds his voice on the lovely “Daybreak” (which should have been expanded into a song) but otherwise provides crusty instrumentals around the meat of the matter. In the middle you’ll find Miller torn between his laidback persona and a desire to turn his modest melodies into quirky, hyperactive creations. Sometimes, as on the title track, the effect is no less interesting than “Abracadabra.” Other times (“Bongo Bongo,” “Shangri-La”), confusion results, as you wonder whether Miller overestimated or underestimated the material. When he keeps things basic (“One In A Million,” “Who Do You Love”), Miller can still be mildly charming. What’s missing most of the time is the music’s soul; “Out of the Night” is nothing but a tired exercise, “The Hollywood Dream” no better. In fact, the track on here with the most energy is “Golden Opportunity,” the one song on Italian X Rays not credited to Steve Miller. Maybe Miller was tired of making music; this album certainly sounds like it. If Abracadabra impressed you, Italian X Rays might likewise do the trick. However, it’s one of their least popular records for a reason, little more than a footnote in a storied career.

SJ-12339 back cover SJ-12339 lyric sleeve
SJ-12339 back cover SJ-12339 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. RADIO 1    (Byron Allred)    0:36
  2. ITALIAN X RAYS    (Steve Miller/Gary Mallaber)    4:38
  3. DAYBREAK    (Byron Allred)    2:40
  4. SHANGRI-LA    (Steve Miller/Kenny Lee Lewis)    5:02
  5. WHO DO YOU LOVE    (Steve Miller/Tim Davis)    2:54
  6. HARMONY OF THE SPHERES 1    (Byron Allred)    1:44
  7. RADIO 2    (Byron Allred)    0:36
  8. BONGO BONGO    (Steve Miller/Chris McCarty)    3:11
  9. OUT OF THE NIGHT    (Steve Miller/Tim Davis)    3:46
  10. GOLDEN OPPRTUNITY    (Gary Mallaber/Kenny Lee Lewis)    3:32
  11. THE HOLLYWOOD DREAM    (Steve Miller/Byron Allred)    3:48
  12. ONE IN A MILLION    (Steve Miller)    3:40
  13. HARMONY OF THE SPHERES 2    (Byron Allred)    0:55

CREDITS

BYRON ALLRED -- keyboards
KENNY LEE LEWIS -- bass & guitars
GARY MALLABER -- drums & percussion
STEVE MILLER -- vocals, guitars & keyboards
David Cole -- engineer
Tommy Steele -- design
Tim Clark -- art
Nels Israelson -- photo

return to STEVE MILLER BAND discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US November 1984 Capitol LP SJ-12339 lyric sleeve
UK/AUS'L November 1984 Mercury LP/CD 822 823  
FRA 1991 Arcade CD 471751  
UK May 2, 2005 Eagle CD EAMCD 045 digital remaster

 

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