Frankie Miller

Band members                             Related acts

  line up  1 (1972):

- Bob Andrews -- keyboards, accordion, backing vocals

- Ian Gomm -- guitar

- Nick Lowe -- bass, backing vocals

- Frankie Miller -- vocals, rhythm guitar 

- Bill Rankin -- drums, percussion

- Brinsley Schwartz -- lead guitar


  line up  2 (1974):

- Barry Bailey -- guitar 

- Auburn Burnell - guitar 

- G.C Coleman -- drums 

- Mike Huey -- drums 

- Frankie Miller -- vocals, rhythm guitar 

- Tom Robb -- bass, percussion 

- Allen Toussaint -- keyboards, percussion 

- Joe Wilson -- lead guitar 


  line up  3 (1975):

- Henry McCullough (RIP) -- lead guitar 

- Frankie Miller -- vocals, rhythm guitar 

- Stu Perry -- drums, percussion

- Chrissie Stewart -- bass 

- Mick Weaver -- keyboards


  line up 4 (1976-77)

- Graham Deacon -- drums, percussion

- James Hall -- keyboards

- Charlie Harrison --- bass

- Frankie Miller -- vocals, rhythm guitar 

- Ray Minhinnit -- lead guitar


  line up ? (1985)

- Simon Kirke -- drums

- Frankie Miller -- vocals, rhythm guitar 

- Brian Robertson -- lead guitar

- Chrissie Stewart -- bass


  supporting musicians

- Jimmy Brawlower -- percussion

- Ricky Byrd -- guitar

- Hiram Bullock -- guitar

- Robbie Kilgore -- keyboards

- Jimmy Maelin -- percussion

- Mitch Perry -- guitar

- Tim Renwick -- guitar

- Chris Spedding -- guitar

- Mitch Watkins -- guitar

- Peter Wood -- keyboards



- Sara Beth and Frankie Miller

- Jude

- The Stoics





Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars *^**

Title:  Once In a Blue Moon

Company: Chrysalis

Catalog: CHR-1036

Year: 1973

Country/State: Glasgow, Scotland

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: US pressing cut lower left corner 

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 1562

Price: $15.00



I was 16 and a junior in high school when I first heard Frankie Miller (a track off of "The Rock").  I can still remember the moment some 34 years later.  Funny think is that I can't make that statement about many other things in my life ...  getting married, birth of my kids, death of a parent.  That's about it.


Seen by some as an overnight success, Miller had actually been a working musician for six years by the time he recorded his 1973 solo debut "Once In a Blue Moon".   Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Miller was blessed with a truly soulful voice that effortless echoed the likes of Soloman Burke, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, and other sterling soulsters.  He turned professional in 1967, but didn't make much headway until he relocated to London in 1971.  In London he found a mentor in the form of ex-Procol Harum guitarist Robin Trower who invited him to join the newly formed Jude (the lineup rounded out by drummer Clive Bunker and bassist Jim Dewar).  Sadly Jude quickly fell victim to personality conflicts and dreaded differences in musical direction, leaving Miller to return to the pub circuit where he occasionally teamed up with fellow pub rockers Brinsley Schwarz.  


Helped in part by Brinsley Schwartz own breakthrough success, 1972 saw Miller signed by Chrysalis.  Released the following year, he made his debut with the Dave Robinson produced "Once In a Blue Moon".  As a debut collection this set had it all going for it.  Miller was responsible for penning the majority of the ten tracks (two covers).  His growl of a voice was in prime form, and the album enjoyed first-rate backing from the criminally overlooked Brinsley Schwarz who managed to inject a sense of enthusiasm that was sadly lacking on their own first couple of releases.


"Once In a Blue Moon" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) You Don't Need To Laugh (To Be Happy)   (Frankie Miller) - 3:28

'You Don't Need To Laugh (To Be Happy)' served as the perfect introduction to his instantly identifiable voice.  A mid-tempo rocker with a great hook in the chorus, the only criticism was the female backing chorus who sounded as if they were reading the lyrics as the were singing.   rating: **** stars

2.) I Can't Change It   (Frankie Miller) - 3:08

Even though it was stark, the acoustic ballad 'I Can't Change It' was a great showcase for Miller.  Again, the only complaint were the female backing vocals who were simply distracting.   rating: *** stars

3.) Candlelight Sonata In 'F' Major   (Frankie Miller) - 2:32

In spite of the title, 'Candlelight Sonata In 'F' Major' was a growling slice of R&B-flavored soul.  Fantastic song with a great boogie woogie keyboard solo from Bob Andrews.  This is what Joe Cocker always wanted to do.  Only complaint was that the song faded out just as Brinsley Schwarz's guitar solo was starting to take off.   rating: **** stars

4.) Ann Eliza Jane   (Frankie Miller) - 2:03

 Not one of my favorites, 'Ann Eliza Jane' sounded like something he might have been performing in Scottish pubs.  Complete with accordion and harmonica arrangement, this one was simply a little to country for my tastes.   rating: ** stars

5.) It's All Over   (Frankie Miller) - 2:37A conventional rocker 'It's All Over' brought it all together into what could have been a massive radio hit - great rocking tune; great playing; great vocal, and it sounded like they were having a ton of fun too boot.   rating: **** stars


(side 2)
1.) In No Resistance   (Frankie Miller) - 3:40

Propelled by another tasty Schwarz guitar solo and some wonderful Billy Rankin drumming, side two opened up with what was the most commercial song on the album - 'In No Resistance'.     rating: **** stars

2.) After All (I Live My Life)   (Frankie Miller - J. Doris) - 3:41

With a Gospel-ish feel, 'After All (I Live My Life)' found Miller turning in his best Otis Redding imitation.  Another album highlight ...   rating: **** stars

3.) Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues   (Bob Dylan) - 4:00

The first big mistake, Miller's cover Dylan's 'Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues' was needless and sounded like a throwaway effort.   rating: * star

4.) Mail Box   (Frankie Miller) - 3:13

It might be a little too cutesy for some folks, but 'Mail Box' was a perfect example of how commercial Miller could be.  Insidiously catchy track that was very hard to shake once you heard it.   rating: *** stars

5.) I'm Ready   (Willie Dixon) - 3:09

Folks tend to turn in rote covers of Willie Dixon material.  Miller's version wasn't a major departure, but included an interesting jazzy feel.  Nice harmonica solo.   rating: ** stars


Most folks would kill to debut with something half as good.





Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Frankie Miller's Highlife

Company: Chrysalis

Catalog: CHR-1052

Year: 1974

Country/State: Glasgow, Scotland

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: US pressing w/textured cover 

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5210

Price: $20.00



While UK blues singers are a dime a dozen, Frankie Miller is something special (okay he's actually Scottish).  Miller's certainly not the most talented of the lot and gawd knows he hasn't been the most successful.  Still, his multitude of personal and professional flaws simply make him all the more sympathetic and the fact remains ... the man can sure sing.


Miller's sophomore release served an interesting collaboration.  Recorded in New Orleans and Atlanta's Web Studios, 1974's "Frankie Miller's Highlife" teamed Miller with famed producer Allen Toussaint.  The strange pairing was reportedly a result of Miller having sent Toussaint a copy of his debut LP.  Unfamiliar with Miller, Toussaint was nevertheless impressed by his voice and was more than happy to work on Miller's second LP.  On the surface the partnership wouldn't seem to have had much going for it, but that wasn't the case.  Toussaint's oversight and songwriting skills (he provided seven of the twelve selections) proved mostly well suited to Miller's gruff, blues-oriented vocals with material like the all-too-brief title track, 'Trouble' and 'Devil's Gun' serving as first rate R&B-influenced rock. Every time I hear the bluesy 'I'm Falling In Love Again' I'm amazed Miller wasn't some 75 year old black guy hanging around a deep Alabama country store...  Sure, there were a couple of duds - 'I'll Take a Melody' and 'Just a Song' were simply too lightweight for Miller.  This was also one of those rare instances where horns didn't detract from the proceedings.  While the album generated strong reviews from the critics, it did little commercially.  Of course that didn't stop Three Dog Night from enjoying a hit with their rote cover of 'Brickyard Blues', while Betty Wright grabbed 'Shoorah Shoorah' for an R&B hit.  For some reason Chrysalis elected to slap a new, exceptional dull cover on the LP (not that the original UK Miller photo which made Miller look like Tiny Tim's brother was any great shakes.)


UK pressing cover

Chrysalis catalog number CHR 1052


"Frankie Miller's Highlife" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Highlife   (Allen Toussaint) - 0:58

2.) Brickyard Blues   (Allen Toussaint) - 3:35

3.) Trouble   (Frankie Miller) - 3:30

4.) A Fool   (Allen Toussaint) - 2:52

5.) Little Angel (Smile On Her Face)   (Frankie Miller) - 3:20

6.) With You In Mind   (Allen Toussaint) - 3:18


(side 2)
1.) Devil's Gun   (Frankie Miller) - 3:37

2.) I'll Take a Melody   (Allen Toussaint) - 4:35

3.) Just a Song   (Allen Toussaint) - 2:48

4.) Shoorah Shoorah   (Allen Toussaint) - 2:47

5.) I'm Falling In Love Again   (Frankie Miller) - 3:57

6.) With You In Mind (instrumental)   (Frankie Miller) - 0:57





Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Rock

Company: Chrysalis

Catalog: CHR-1088

Year: 1975

Country/State: Glasgow, Scotland

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: promo sticker on cover

Available:  1

Catalog ID: 5731

Price: $15.00


The first Frankie Miller album I ever bought and some 30 plus years later I still love it.  I can still remember arguing with friends that Miller was far superior to Bob Seger (whom I also dearly love), and easily as good as Steve Gibbons (who few Americans ever heard).  I also recall using this album to argue that white guys could be born with true soul; not that anyone listened to me then (or now).


1975 found Miller recruiting a full time backing band for the cleverly named Frankie Miller Band.  The original line-up featured ex-Wings guitarist Henry McCulloch, drummer Stu Perry, ex-Spooky Tooth bassist Chrissie Stewart, and keyboardist Mick Weaver.  Interestingly, this time out Miller's apparent goal was to capture a sound recalling Stax's golden days.  With that goal why he wanted to record the set in San Francisco with hard rock producer Elliott Mazier has always struck me as kind of a mystery.  Showcasing a set of Miller originals ('A Fool In Love' co-written with Free's Andy Fraser), "The Rock" was far from the perfect Miller album, but the man was so friggin' talented his occasional missteps were worth putting up with.  


"The Rock" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) A Fool in Love    (Frankie Miller - Andy Fraser) - 3:02 

A Miller original, 'A Fool in Love' captured that classic Stax sound perfectly.  Fantastic song that would have been a massive hit had it been released in the mid-1960s.  Hard to believe this guy wasn't born and raised in some backwater Mississippi farming town ...   A stunning opener, Chrysalis tapped it as a single:

- 1975's 'A Fool In Love' b/w 'I Know Why the Sun Don't Shine' (Chrysalis catalog number CRS-2108)   YouTube has a live performance of the song, though the speeded-up arrangement is a bit disappointing:    rating: **** stars

2.) The Heartbreak   (Frankie Miller) - 4:01 

Backed by some razor sharp horn arrangements and a killer groove, 'The Heartbreak' was another Stax-influenced effort, though this time out with a harder rock edge and a great McCulloch lead.  And that voice ...  simply an amazing performance.   Might be my choice for the album's standout effort.   rating: ***** stars

3.) The Rock   (Frankie Miller) - 3:32 

I wouldn't call it a mistake, but 'The Rock' was a little too country for my tastes.  Another nice McCulloch solo ...  In case you were wondering, the album title was inspired by Alcatraz prison which was within sight of the recording studio.  YouTube has a performance clip of Miller doing 'The Rock':   rating: ** stars

4.) I Know Why the Sun Don't Shine   (Frankie Miller) - 5:59 

Normally straightforward blues don't do a great deal for me, but Miller's one of the few artists that makes the genre palatable to my ears.  There wasn't a single original note or thought in 'I Know Why the Sun Don't Shine', but Miller's throat tearing performance made this one a keeper.   rating: *** stars

5.) Hard on the Levee   (Frankie Miller) - 3:15

Evidenced by 'Hard on the Levee' Miller was at his best on bluesy numbers that also exhibited a commercial edge.  Great track.   rating: **** stars


(side 1)
1.) Ain't Got No Money   (Frankie Miller) - 2:53 

Side two opened up with another classic Miller rocker in the form of 'Ain't Got No Money'.  Kicked along by Miller's growling voice and a wonder McCulloch solo it's simply hard to understand how this one missed being a massive hit.   rating: **** stars

2.) All My Love to You   (Frankie Miller) - 5:35 

Another deep soul ballad, there wasn't anything wrong with 'All My Love to You' except for the fact it found Miller trying to channel the late Otis Redding.  No matter how good Miller was, he simply couldn't match the king of soul.   rating: ** stars

3.) I'm Old Enough   (Frankie Miller) - 4:50 

Back to bluesy-rockers with 'I'm Old Enough'.  Wonderful showcase for Miller's raspy and instantly recognizable voice.   rating: *** stars

4.) Bridgeton   (Frankie Miller) - 4:45

5.) Drunken Nights in the City    (Frankie Miller) - 3:51 
Unfortunately the album closed with a pair of stark country-blues number that didn't do much for me - 'Bridgeton' and 'Drunken Nights in the City.   rating: ** stars


Executive summary - not the classic Miller album (read the rest of the reviews to see my choices), but on my top three list with five of the ten songs being worth repeated spins.  Not a bad batting average for anyone !






Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Full House

Company: Chrysalis

Catalog: CHR 1128

Year: 1977

Country/State: Glasgow, Scotland

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available:  2

Catalog ID: 1001

Price: $10.00


So If I had to pick one Frankie Miller album for a long car ride, I'm pretty comfortable it would be 1977's "Full House".   Produced by Chris Thomas, it isn't that this album is all that different from the rest of Miller's catalog, rather, song for song, this is probably his most consistently enjoyable release.   In fact, to my ears there's only one disappointment in the form of the forgettable 'Love Letters'.    This collection also had a couple of other things going for it - chiefly the added bonus of showcasing Miller's frequently overlooked gifts as a songwriter.  Five of the ten tracks were Miller originals (one co-written with former Procol Harum guitarist Robin Trower).   Backed by a wonderful band, including guitarist Ray Minhinnit (Chris Spedding sitting in on a couple of tracks), Miller seldom sounded as comfortable and impressive as on this album.   So how do you pick highlights off of such an accomplished collection ?  You don't.   Asides from the previously mentioned 'Love Letters' (which was released as an English single), side one was non-stop great.   Side two started out with another okay tune in the form of 'Take Good Care of Yourself ' and then closed out with an incredible series of four strong compositions.  Simply one of the best things Miller ever released and well worth tracking down.


"Full Hlouse" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Be Good To Yourself   (Andy Fraser) - 3:00

'Be Good To Yourself opened up the album with Miler at his best - great rockin' tune (by Free bassist Andy Fraser) with his instantly recognizable voice (imagine a Scottish version of Bob Seger) up front and center.   The track was released as an English single and promptly went top-30, providing him with his first hit.  Naturally US radio wanted nothing to do with the song.    YouTube has several live performances of the song; probably the best being this 1978 BBC Sight and Sound in Concert effort:   rating: **** stars

2.) The Doodle Song  (Frankie Miller) - 2:45

Simply one of the most commercial things the man ever wrote, this was the tune Chrysalis grabbed for an American single.   It actually charted top-100 (# 71), but should have done even better with its instantly catchy melody.   rating: **** stars

3.) Jealous Guy  (John Lennon) - 4:40

Kudos to Miller for being brave enough to tackle a Lennon song - particular one as personal as 'Jealous Guy'.   Even more impressive were the results - Miller seemingly channeling his best Otis Redding moves on a dazzling cover of the tune.   Easily one of the best covers of a Lennon solo effort that I've ever heard.   rating: **** stars

4.) Searching   (Pete Knight - Bob Johnson) - 4:48

Opening up with what was almost a Baroque string arrangement.  I remember hearing this the first time and being completely puzzled and not that impressed.  Luckily the song's considerable charms quickly came into focus - in fact, stripped of the usual rock band accompaniment this song served as a wonderful opportunity to hear just how good Miller's voice was.   And the chorus was to-die-for good.   rating: **** stars

5.) Love Letters   (Victor Young - Edward Hayman) - 3:56

Side one's lone disappointment, 'Love Letters' was a bland mid-tempo, blues-rocker that sounded like it had been arranged for radio play.   Miller sounded good enough, but the song was simply bland.   YouTube has a Top of the Pops performance of the song at:  rating: ** stars

(side 1)
1.) Take Good Care of Yourself    (Jimmy Doris) - 3:13

Nice, bluesy number that again showcased some of Miller's Stax/Otis Redding influences.   rating: *** stars

2.) Down the Honky Tonk   (Frankie Miller) - 3:06

Up-tempo rocker and one of the best performances on the album.   Geez, what did he do to get that gruff sound out of his voice ?   Swallow razor blade ?  Gargle with pebbles ?   Amazing.  Simply amazing.   rating: **** stars

3.) This Love of Mine   (Frankie Miller - Robin Trower) - 2:46

Co-written with guitarist Robin Trower, 'This Love of Mine' may be the best Otis Redding song Redding never actually recorded.   You just had to wonder how a scrawny white Scottish guy could sound so soulful.   Wonderful Stax-influenced ballad and with support from the Memphis Horns, it was another album highlight.   rating: **** stars

4.) Let the Candlelight Shine   (Frankie Miller) - 2:48

The breezy ballad' Let the Candlelight Shine' was one of the prettier tunes Miller ever wrote.  With a lovely solo from Chris Spedding, the result was very commercial and would have made a dandy single.  rating: **** stars

5.) (I'll Never) Live In Vain   (Frankie Miller) - 2:54

'(I'll Never) Live In Vain' found Miller and company returning to up-tempo rock which I've always thought was his strong point.   Sounding a bit like a Delbert McClinton effort, with the Memphis Horns again providing support, it was simply hard to understand how this one was overlooked as a single.   rating: **** stars


As mentioned, the album spun off a couple of singles.  



 In the States the 45 was:


- 1977's 'The Doodle Song' b/w (I'll Never) Live In Vain' (Chrysalis catalog number CHS 2145


In the UK and throughout Europe the singles were:


- 1977's 'Be Good To Yourself' b/w 'Down the Honkytonk' (Chrysalis catalog number CHS 2147)

- 1977's 'Love Letters' b/w 'Let the Candlelight Shine' (Chrysalis catalog number CHS 2166)


Gawd only knows why, but a single was also released in Barbados:


- 1977's 'This Love of Mine' b/w 'Let the Candlelight Shine' (Chrysalis catalog number 8611)




Genre: rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Dancing In the Rain

Company: Mercury

Catalog: 826 44701 M-1

Year: 1985

Country/State: Glasgow, Scotland

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available:  2

Catalog ID: 5743

Price: $10.00



I'd love to tell you I adored this album.  Unfortunately I don't.  At the same time I certainly can't criticize Miller for trying to update his sound to accommodate the fickle and every changing audience's tastes.  So this time around with backing from a new label (Mercury), Miller set his sights on an AOR orientation.  And why not since it seems to have earned radio play for far less talented bands.  That said, 1985's "Dancing In the Rain" was a major disappointment.  Producer John Jansen seemed determined to bury Miller in a state-of-the-art AOR sound, complete with banks of synthesizers, clinically correct sax solos, and irritatingly flat and mechanical sounding drums.  It may all have been cutting edge in 1985, but today the results sound extremely dated and aurally harsh.  Jansen also seemed determined to suppress Miller's instantly recognizable voice, seemingly asking him to mimic a slew of has-been acts.  For his part Miller didn't do himself any favors by turning in a surprisingly bland collection of original material.  The album was also kind of strange in that Miller co-wrote the majority of material with American songwriter Jeff Barry.  One would have thought a collaboration with Barry would have yielded some highly commercial tracks, but that wasn't the case.



"Dancing In the Rain" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) I'd Lie To You For Your Love (Frankie Miller - David Bellamy - Howard Bellamy - Jeff Barry) - 3:07

Even though it didn't come close to matching past glories, 'I'd Lie To You For Your Love' was probably the best song on the collection.  An up tempo rocker, it was also one of the few performances where Miller sounded like he was actually having fun.  In the States Mercury tapped this as a 12" single:

- 1986's 'I'd Lie To You For Your Love'  b/w 'I'd Lie To You For Your Love' (Mercury catalog number Pro-399-1)   YouTube has a clip of Miller performing the tune:    rating: *** stars

2.) Do It Till We Drop (Frankie Miller - Jeff Barry) - 4:05

'Do It Till We Drop' showcased a hard edged AOR sound that saw Miller abandoning any shred of originality.  This could have easily been mistaken for Paul Rodgers fronting the Power Station.  No, that wasn't a good thing !!!  The track was tapped as a 12" single:

- 1986's 'Do It Until We Drop'  b/w 'Do It Until We Drop' (Mercury catalog number Pro-417-1)   rating: ** stars

3.) That's How Long My Love Is (Frankie Miller - Jeff Barry) - 2:57

Jeff Barry's written some classic pop and rock tunes, but this time out he seems to have decided to coast on past efforts, or at least try to stitch together material from the lamest clichés he could find.  'That's How Long My Love Is' definitely deserved some credit in the cliché department.  For goodness sakes, this one sounded like an Eddie Money track !!!   Courtesy of YouTube, here's a live performance of the song:    rating: ** stars

4.) How Many Tears Can You Hide (Frankie Miller - Graham Lyle) - 4:17

About the kindest thing I could say about 'How Many Tears Can You Hide' was that it sounded like a Rod Stewart castoff.  Even Miller's fantastic voice was lost amidst this hideous slice of faux-soul.  It was also one of the tracks where the flat mid-1980s production was most obvious.   rating: ** stars

5.) Dancing In the Rain (Frankie Miller) - 3:27

The title track was a tad better.   Sporting a bit of Caribbean flavor the results sounded like Rod Stewart teaming up with 10cc.  Way too cute and irritating, though the title track kind of clogged your memory banks.   rating: *** stars

(side 1)
1.) Shakey Ground (Jeffrey Bowen - Eddie Hazel - Al Boyd) - 3:37

The only non-original, Miller's AOR cover of the funk classic 'Shakey Ground' wasn't a radical departure from the original, but was still one of the better efforts on the LP.     rating: *** stars

2.) The Boys and the Girls Are Doing It (Frankie Miller - Jeff Barry) - 3:28

'The Boys and the Girls Are Doing It' actually had some commercial potential in one of those vapid top-40 fashions.  I could at least hum along with it.   Another YouTube clip:    rating: *** stars

3.) Game of Love (Frankie Miller) - 3:52

'Game of Love' found Miller going back to Paul Rodgers and Bad Company mode.  It actually suited him well and was far better than some of the more metal oriented numbers.  What was with the irritating back up singers?   rating: ** stars

4.) Gladly Go Blind (Frankie Miller - Jeff Barry) - 4:00

Apparently intended as the album's big ballad, 'Gladly Go Blind' was simply bland and forgettable.   rating: * star

5.) You're a Puzzle I Can't Put Down (Frankie Miller - Jeff Barry) - 3:18

The best of the Jeff Barry collaborations, 'You're a Puzzle I Can't Put Down' stood as an example of what might have been.  The track showcased Miller's great voice in a catchy and highly commercial framework.  Easily the best effort on the album.   rating: **** stars


Given his August 1994 brain hemorrhage and his remarkable recovery, at least as of the time I'm writing this, the collection stands as a sad pause in Miller's recording career.





Dutch picture sleeve Mercury catalog number 8848477

'How Many Tears Can You Hide'' b/w 'The Boys and the Girls Are Doing It'