Steve Miller has had two distinct periods in his career. His early career, 1968-1970, produced five albums of excellent blues and psychedelic rock that formed one of the better bodies of work of the era. Beginning in 1973 he went in a pop rock direction that elevated him to huge mainstream commercial success. He released two albums in between those two periods, Rock Love (1971) and Recall The Beginning…A Journey From Eden (1972) that found his music on hold. He was not quite ready to leave his past behind but unwilling to embrace his pop future.
Recall The Beginning…A Journey From Eden is many times a forgotten album in the Steve Miller catalogue. It was one of his least successful and paled next to The Joker album, which would be released the next year. Still, there was some good music to be found on the release. While the first side of the original vinyl release was not cohesive and only average at best, the last four tracks on the B-side was one of the better stretches of music of his career. “Love’s Riddle,” “Fandango,” “Nothing Lasts,” and “Journey from Eden” make the album still worth seeking out as the music just floats by.
“Love’s Riddles” is a love song of loss while “Fandango” is a light bluesy romp. “Nothing Lasts” contains poignant and sad melodies and lyrics. The album ends with the near seven-minute “Journey from Eden.” The use of strings helped to accentuate his guitar playing. In fact, all four tracks are driven by his superior guitar virtuosity that became less apparent as his career progressed and the focus centered more on his lyrics and melodies.
The other tracks were less successful. “Enter Maurice” is a goofy track, the type that would be done a lot better in the future. “High on You Mama” tries to go in a funky direction but gets bogged down. “Heal Your Heart,” with additional guitar work by Jesse Ed Davis, and “The Sun is Going Down” are mellow and mundane jam songs. None of the tracks are bad but none rise above the norm.
Recall The Beginning…A Journey From Eden is a laid-back affair that is worth a listen due to the last four songs. It may not have the instant gratification of his pop oriented releases, or the excitement and energy of his early albums, but was a fitting conclusion to the first part of his career.
Article first published as Music Review: The Steve Miller Band – Recall The Beginning…A Journey From Eden on Blogcritics.