SMAS-11235 The Joker
Produced by Steve Miller
Released on October 1973
Find it at GEMM
SMAS-11235 cover
[high resolution scan]

K ronomyth 9.0: THE POMPITOUS OF CIRCUMSTANCE. The Joker marked a commercial turning point for Steve Miller. Suddenly, the man who’d never had a Top 40 single had the #1 single and the #2 album in the country. The album cover became iconic in stature, though ironic in the sense that the would-be guitar hero was finally unmasked for the world to see. It’s tempting to point to the music on The Joker as the source of SMB’s revived fortunes, but truth be told it’s not radically different from what came before. Yes, Miller had shifted from cosmic blues to country rock, but the difference between “My Dark Hour” and “Something To Believe In,” for example, is minimal. And rhythm and blues still plays a big part: “Evil,” “Come On In My Kitchen,” “Your Cash Ain’t Nothin’ But Trash,” “Mary Lou.” The real attraction--the lightning rod, if you will--is the title track. Here was a persona that capitalized on his past exploits (“Space Cowboy,” “Gangster of Love,” “Enter Maurice”) and clicked with listeners in an eminently likeable, almost avuncular way. Miller’s appeal crossed camps (country, rock, blues), crossed generations, crossed state lines between the red and the blue, and never looked back. To hear it today, The Joker is a good album with one great song, but not the timeless work of his next two albums, which tightened things up considerably. Still, the looseness of The Joker is much of its charm, and a “Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma Ma” or “Sugar Babe” would sound disingenuous after Fly Like An Eagle or Book of Dreams. In a real sense, The Joker is the last time that Miller would be allowed to fool around, and for that reason I enjoy going back to it more than Brave New World, which is otherwise the better album.

SMAS-11235 inner gatefold SMAS-11235 back cover
SMAS-11235 inner gatefold SMAS-11235 back cover


  1. SUGAR BABE    (Steve Miller)    4:32
  2. MARY LOU    (Ronnie Hawkins/Jacqueline Magill)    2:24
  3. SHU BA DA DU MA MA MA MA    (Steve Miller)    5:40
  4. YOUR CASH AIN'T NOTHIN' BUT TRASH    (Charles Calhoun)    3:14
  5. THE JOKER    (Steve Miller)    4:26
  6. LOVIN' CUP    (Steve Miller)    2:10
  7. COME ON IN MY KITCHEN    (Woody Payne)    3:58
  8. EVIL    (Steve Miller)    4:35
  9. SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN    (Steve Miller)    4:40


JOHN KING -- drums
STEVE MILLER -- guitars, vocals & harmonica
DICKIE THOMPSON -- organ & clavinet
Sneaky Pete Kleinow -- pedal steel (9)
Lonnie Turner -- bass (8)
Jay Ranellucci -- engineer, mixing
Greg MacCarthy -- engineer (7,8)
Norman Seeff -- photography, design
John Hoernie -- art director
John Van Hamersveld -- design

return to STEVE MILLER BAND discography

US/CAN October 1973 Capitol LP SMAS-11235 gatefold cover
UK October 1973 Capitol LP EA-ST 11235 gatefold cover, green label
UK October 1973 Capitol 8T Q8W-11235 quadrophonic stereo
GER 1973 Capitol LP 5C 062 81514 gatefold cover
UK   Capitol LP EA-ST 11235 orange label reissue
FRA 1978 Capitol LP SPC-81514 green vinyl
UK   Fame LP/CD FA/CDFA-3250 gatefold cover
US April 1991 Capitol CD 94445  
UK 2001 Simply Vinyl LP SVLP-339 180g vinyl


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