S21-57288 Living In The U.S.A.
Previously released material
Released on May 16, 1995
GOLD RECORD
Find it at GEMM
S21-57288 cover
[high resolution scan]

K ronomyth 19.73: YOUR MONEY-SAVING GRACE. Miller’s early psychedelic blues phase usually gets short shrift these days. The Joker, conventional wisdom goes, marks the beginning of his best work, not the end of it. And while I wouldn’t argue the point, there are some great songs buried in his early catalog that deserve to see the light more often: “Living in the U.S.A.,” “Space Cowboy,” “Your Saving Grace,” “My Dark Hour,” “Your Cash Ain’t Nothin’ But Trash.” A year after Capitol’s big box set treatment of his work, the sneaky CEMA Special Markets division took the low road by repackaging ten of the band’s early classic cuts as cheaply made, shameless product. Surprisingly, it became the band’s first “new” album to go gold since Abracadabra (the earlier and superior Best of SMB 1968-1973 had just gone gold a year earlier, but that album was originally released in 1974). Now, like any CEMA repackage, Living in the U.S.A. commits the usual sins: sins of omission (“My Dark Hour,” for example), sloth (a blank one-sided picture sleeve) and stinginess (33 minutes of music on a compact disc). It’s the sin of neglect, however, that troubles me the most. In the early 70s, Capitol repackaged Sailor as Living in the U.S.A. When the CEMA compilation was prepared in 1995, someone must have seen the earlier title in the archives and slapped a 1973 publishing date on this version, neglecting to note the fact that they’re very different records. Thus, for years I labored under the impression that Steve Miller Band had released two early compilations on the heels of The Joker, both of which improbably went gold nearly three decades later. (Okay, maybe “labored under the impression” is a bit strong, since I’m sure I slacked off under the impression too for some of those years.) All that said, this compilation at least assembles thirty minutes of very good music, including informed choices like “Motherless Children,” “Mary Lou” and “Quicksilver Girl.” At nearly half the price of the earlier Anthology and the aforementioned 1968-1973 collection, it’s a pretty good Living if you can get it.

TRACK LISTING

  1. LIVING IN THE U.S.A.
  2. SPACE COWBOY
  3. DON'T LET NOBODY TURN YOU AROUND
  4. THE JOKER
  5. GANGSTER OF LOVE
  6. LOVIN' CUP
  7. QUICKSILVER GIRL
  8. YOUR SAVING GRACE
  9. MOTHERLESS CHILDREN
  10. MARY LOU

CREDITS

 
return to STEVE MILLER BAND discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US May 16, 1995 CEMA Special Markets CD S21-57288  
US July 29, 2008 Collectables CD   cover variation

 

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