Let Your Hair Down is a follow-up to Steve Miller's Bingo! from 2010, and the tracks for this new release were recorded at the same sessions at George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch studio with Andy Johns engineering and co-producing, and like Bingo!, Let Your Hair Down finds Miller re-exploring his Chicago blues roots. Miller and his band have always included a few old blues numbers in their concerts, so these are road-tested gems that are obviously close to Miller's heart and soul, and they include the last recordings of Miller's longtime collaborator (and harmonica whiz) Norton Buffalo, who died of lung cancer in 2009 shortly after these sessions. Miller has always had the ability to adapt blues forms into his pop work, but this outing, like Bingo!, is a full-fledged blues record, not a pop one, and fans of his classic rock should be aware that Miller, although his lead guitar work is everywhere here, doesn’t do all of the singing, with Sonny Charles and others handling lead vocals on some of the cuts. That said, Let Your Hair Down feels like a more realized snapshot of Miller's blues adaptations than even the highly admired Bingo! was, and although it’s difficult to imagine the blues being exactly joyous, there is a passionate joy in these time-tested grooves, and it’s obvious both of these albums have been a labor of love for Miller and his band. Miller doesn’t pop-style these cuts up, either -- this is the blues as he sees it, and thankfully he’s as sly and charming as ever here. Highlights include a delightfully tense version of Muddy Waters' “Can’t Be Satisfied,” a grooved-out take on Rosco Gordon's “Just a Little Bit,” a Jimmy Reed cover, “Close Together,” fine takes on Willie Dixon's “Pretty Thing” and “Love the Life I Live,” and a visit to Robert Johnson territory with “Sweet Home Chicago.” The next obvious step would be for someone to package Let Your Hair Down and Bingo! together in a single package, because both albums work as complementary bookends.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett