The Wire – Issue 205 – March 2001
Before Hatfield and the North and his stint with Matching Mole, Phil Miller played guitar with Delivery, who started as a blues outfit. Other members included Miller’s brother Steve on keyboards, drummer Pyle and saxophonist Lol Coxhill, a mixture guaranteed to burst the banks of any format. On out of the blue, the guitarist returns to his blues roots with quartet and sextet versions of In Cahoots. Pyle whose résumé includes Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack and Daevid Allen’s Gong, is again on drums, with Fred Baker on bass, Pete Lemer on keyboards and, on most tracks, trumpeter Jim Dvorak and saxophonist Elton Dean. Of course , the intervening years of navigating the labyrinthine contours of rock at its most complex act as a filter for Miller’s early enthusiasm, yet this refined, blues based music offers a concentrated view of his considerable strengths. His playing is melodic without a hint of banality, never histrionic or unnecessarily fussy. Whether surging or teetering forwards, his solos are always heading somewhere specific. New listeners can start their voyage of discovery here. Long-term fellow travelers will have their expectations amply met.
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