Steve Miller Band

Number 5

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Released in the summer of 1970, Number 5 was the fifth LP by the Steve Miller Band in just over two years. While it compares favorably to its immediate predecessor, Your Saving Grace, it is not quite up to the consistent excellence of the potent Brave New World from the previous summer. However, it does have a fair share of delights, especially the opening triumvirate of "Good Morning," "I Love You," and "Going to the Country." These selections, and all of side one, have a distinctly more rural feel than did previous recordings, due perhaps to the fact that the tracks were recorded in Nashville. Charlie McCoy contributes harmonica to several of these cuts, and Buddy Spicher plays fiddle on "Going to the Country," while Bobby Thompson adds banjo to "Tokin's." Side two is more uneven, with the lead-off mid-tempo rocker "Going to Mexico" serving as a conclusion to the first side's thematic coherence, and the closing "Never Kill Another Man" a string-laden ballad. Sandwiched between them are three experimental-sounding pieces, seasoned with sound effects, buried vocals, and semi-political themes. Although it couldn't have been predicted at the time, Number 5 represented the end of an era for Steve Miller and bandmates, and subsequent albums would sound nothing like this first batch of great recordings.

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