STEVE MILLER BAND - Welcome To The Vault (2019)
Steve Miller Opens His Massive Vault For The First Time To Share His Treasures Welcome to the Vault is a Career Spanning 3 CD + DVD Collection containing 52 audio tracks and 21 performances on DVD With 38 previously unreleased recordings, including 5 compositions that have never been heard before, and featuring alternate versions of classic songs, live performances and more, all housed in a 100 page hard bound book of Steve’s personal photos, with a 7,000 word essay by David Fricke.
Steve Miller has never been averse to taking a stroll through his back pages. The first time he dug into his archive was with 1994's box set simply titled Steve Miller Band but the 2019 set Welcome to the Vault is something else entirely: a deep dive into the rarest corners of Miller's catalog. This doesn't mean that The Vault consists entirely of unreleased material. Over the course of the set's three discs, several well-worn standards are hauled out in their original hit single versions, including "Living in the USA," "The Joker," "Fly Like an Eagle," "Take the Money and Run," and "Abracadabra." These tracks are used as guideposts, providing context for the alternate versions and deep cuts surrounding them. Mostly, these rare tracks highlight Miller's considerable debt to the blues, a connection underscored by how the set concludes with a T-Bone Walker performance of "Lollie Lou" recorded at Miller's home in 1951 followed by a version of the same song by the SMB in 2016. Blues is a constant in Miller's music, and the live tracks and alternate versions showcase not only his chops but those of the band. Since Miller's big hits are so familiar, it's a bit of a welcome jolt to hear rougher mixes of "Jet Airliner" and "Swingtown," not to mention the long live workouts that comprise the bulk of the first disc. The accompanying DVD also highlights this kinetic element of Miller's music by featuring a full Don Kirshner's Rock Concert from 1973, two selections from Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967, a live jam with James Cotton from ABC in Concert in 1974, and two tracks from Austin City Limits in 2011. Like the rare tracks on the CDs, these live performances offer a reminder that the Steve Miller Band could really cook in concert, and that reminder is reason enough for Welcome to the Vault to be of interest to listeners who aren't hardcore fans. At their best, these rare cuts offer an explanation of why the Steve Miller Band became one of the more popular American bands of their time.
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