The Steve Miller Band, "Bingo!"

81 Billboard Rating

The Steve Miller Band's first new album in 17 years, "Bingo!" opens with the declaration, "Hey everyone, I think I'll take this time to have some fun." And that's exactly what Miller & Co. do as they hark back to his roots on 10 energetically rendered blues and R&B covers. Those words come from the song "Hey Yeah" (one of three Jimmie Vaughan tunes, including "Who's Been Talkin'?" and the sublime "Sweet Soul Vibe"), which represents the contemporary edge of the set. "Bingo!" mostly mines Miller's varied influences, from the muscular 12-bar stomp of "Rock Me Baby" (featuring a stinging solo by Joe Satriani) to the Memphis lope of Lowell Fulson's "Tramp." And "Ooh Poo Pah Doo" is a welcome wild card, a roadhouse R&B gem treated here in a smooth and polished fashion. Original Santana percussionist Michael Carabello and Checkmates singer Sonny Charles (now a member of the Steve Miller Band) fortify the performances, while longtime Miller fans will also soak in some of the last recordings by the late harmonica ace Norton Buffalo.

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