PJ-12445 Living in the 20th Century
Produced by Steve Miller
Released on November 1986
US CHART POSITION #65
Find it at GEMM
PJ-12445 cover
[high resolution scan]

K ronomyth 17.0: M M GOOD. Clapton gets Dali’d, Miller gets Kafka’d and I get the feeling that the package designers don’t even listen to these records. Maybe they got Jimmy Reed confused with John Reed. Anyway, the cover is my only complaint with Living in the 20th Century. This album is what critics call a “return to form.” Not a return to the molten middle (Eagle, Dreams), but to the cooler crust around it (Joker, Abracadabra). Living in the 20th Century avoids the overproduction, synthesizers and thin original material of the last few SMB albums. The recording is spacious, open, relaxed, supple, I’m starting to describe a wine here but you get the picture, right? Miller has always been at his best when he’s being laidback, earnest and bluesy, as he is on 20th Century. Steve is at the center of the music, with backing from familiar faces (Gary Mallaber, Kenny Johnson, Norton Buffalo, Greg Douglass) plus a few new ones (including Kenny G!). (I just like exclamation points.) (And parentheses, apparently.) The songs are split between two different sides; the first features mostly original rock music (“I Want To Make The World Turn Around” and the instrumental “Slinky” are standouts), while the second side focuses on the blues (including two more Jimmy Reed tunes and the original “Behind The Barn”). It seems like a long time since Steve Miller has played the blues. Given what a natural setting it is for his talents, you have to wonder what took him so long. Together with Abracadabra, this is one of the few SMB albums worth salvaging from the 80s.

PJ-12445 back cover PJ-12445 lyric sleeve
PJ-12445 back cover PJ-12445 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. NOBODY BUT YOU    (Steve Miller)    4:01
  2. I WANT TO MAKE THE WORLD TURN AROUND    (Steve Miller)    4:23
  3. SLINKY    (Steve Miller)    2:40
  4. LIVING IN THE 20TH CENTURY    (Steve Miller)    2:58
  5. MAELSTROM    (Greg Douglass)    4:03
  6. I WANNA BE LOVED (BUT BY ONLY YOU)    (Jimmy Reed)    2:23
  7. MY BABE    (Willie Dixon)    2:47
  8. BIG BOSS MAN    (Luther Dixon/Al Smith)    2:32
  9. CARESS ME BABY    (Jimmy Reed)    3:20
  10. AIN'T THAT LOVIN' YOU BABY    (Jimmy Reed)    2:47
  11. BEHIND THE BARN    (Steve Miller)    3:36

CREDITS

STEVE MILLER -- guitars, vocals, solo slide guitar, bass, percussion, harmonica, engineer
GERALD JOHNSON -- bass
GARY MALLABER -- drums, percussion, wood blocks
Byron Allred -- strings, keyboards (2,5)
Norton Buffalo -- harmonica (10,11)
Charles Calimise -- bass (10,11)
James Cotton -- harmonica (11)
Greg Douglass -- solo guitar (5)
Les Dudek -- dobro guitar (11)
Kenny G -- sax solo (2)
Kenny Johnson -- drums (10,11)
Kenny Lee Lewis -- bass
Lonnie Turner -- bass (5)
Waheem Young -- piano (11)
David Cole -- mixing, engineer
Rick Fisher -- engineer
Mike Fusarro -- engineer & mixing (5)
Jim Gaines -- engineer & mixing (10,11)
Kosh -- art direction & design

return to STEVE MILLER BAND discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US November 1986 Capitol LP/CS PJ/4PJ-12445 lyric sleeve
US 1986 Capitol CD CDP 7 46326  
UK 1986 Capitol LP EST-2027 lyric sleeve
AUSL 1986 Capitol CS TCST-240649  
BRA 1986 Capitol LP 64240649  
FRA/NET 1986 Capitol LP 240 649-1 lyric sleeve
JPN 1986 Capitol LP ECS-91206  
US June 16, 1995 Capitol CEMA Special Markets CD/CS 18323  

 

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