onsdag 7 juni 2017

The Steve Miller Band - The Joker (US 1973)


300:- (SHM-CD Limited Remaster Edition, US 1973. Steve Miller's mest sålda album)

"The Joker" is a song by the Steve Miller Band from their 1973 album The Joker. It is one of two Steve Miller Band songs that feature the nonce word "pompatus". The song topped the US Billboard Hot 100 in early 1974.


More than 16 years later, in September 1990, it reached number one in the UK Singles Chart for two weeks after being used in "Great Deal", a Hugh Johnson-directed television advertisement for Levi's, thus holding the record for the longest gap between transatlantic chart-toppers. This reissue of "The Joker" also topped the Irish Singles Chart, the New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart,[4] the Dutch Nationale Top 100 and the Dutch Top 40.

The first line of the lyrics is a reference to the song "Space Cowboy" from Miller's Brave New World album. Following lines refer to two other songs: "Gangster of Love" from Sailor and "Enter Maurice" from Recall the Beginning...A Journey from Eden.

During the song, Steve Miller references The Clovers' 1954 song "Lovey Dovey" when he sings "You're the cutest thing that I ever did see / Really love your peaches, wanna shake your tree / Lovey dovey, lovey dovey, lovey dovey all the time".

The song is noted for its wolf whistle played on a slide guitar after the "lovey dovey" parts and the "some people call me Maurice" part.

The line "some people call me Maurice / 'Cause I speak of the pompatus of love" was written after Miller heard the song "The Letter" by The Medallions. In "The Letter", writer Vernon Green made up the word puppetutes, meaning a paper-doll erotic fantasy figure; however, Miller misheard the word and wrote pompatus instead.

The Joker is, without question, the turning point in Steve Miller's career, the album where he infused his blues with a big, bright dose of pop and got exactly what he deserved: Top Ten hits and stardom. He also lost a lot of fans, the ones who dug his winding improvs, because those spacy jams were driven by chops and revealed new worlds. The Joker isn't mind-expanding, it's party music, filled with good vibes, never laying a heavy trip, always keeping things light, relaxed and easygoing. Sometimes, the vibes are interrupted, but not in a harsh way -- the second side slows a bit, largely due to the sludgy "Come in My Kitchen" and "Evil," the two songs that were recorded live but lacking any kinetic energy -- but for the most part, this is all bright and fun, occasionally truly silly, as on "Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma Ma." 

This silliness, of course, alienated old fans all the more, but that sense of fun is both the most appealing thing about The Joker and it set a touchstone for the rest of his career. Here, it's best heard on the terrific opener "Sugar Babe" and, of course, the timeless title track, which is sunny and ridiculous in equal measure. If nothing else is quite up to that standard in terms of songs -- certainly, it's not as jammed-pack as its successor, Fly Like an Eagle -- The Joker nevertheless maintains its good-time vibe so well that it's hard not to smile along...provided you're on the same wavelength as Miller, of course.

“Come On In My Kitchen” recorded live at Tower Theater, Philadelphia.
“Evil” recorded live at Aquarius Theater, Boston

Steve Miller – Guitar, vocals
 Gerald Johnson – Bass, vocals
 Dick Thompson – Keyboards
 John King – Drums

01. Sugar Babe 
02. Mary Lou 
03. Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma Ma 
04. Your Cash Ain't Nothin But Trash 
05. The Joker 
06. The Lovin' Cup 
07. Come On In My Kitchen 
08. Evil
09. Something To Believe In