Frankie Miller is one of the great unsung rockers of the '70s, a blue-eyed soul singer on par with Rod Stewart and Joe Cocker who could also rock as hard as Bob Seger. All three of these artists recognized a kindred spirit in Miller, with all three covering his songs in the '70s and '80s. Like all hard-working rockers, Miller kept working right into the '90s, when he tragically suffered a brain hemorrhage while woodshedding a new band with Joe Walsh. After five months, he emerged from a coma but was paralyzed and lost his speech. His friends did their best to keep his legacy alive, a mission that peaks with 2016's Frankie Miller's Double Take. Instigated by the curiosity of Rod Stewart, producer David Mackay asked Miller's wife if there were any unreleased songs, and she sent him a bunch of tapes, which he then polished and refurbished into Double Take. Figuring that the best way to garner attention for the album was to get his friends and fans aboard, he constructed the album as set of duets, adding some additional instrumentation along the way. He got a bunch of heavy hitters: Stewart, Walsh, Elton John, Huey Lewis, Paul Carrack, Willie Nelson, and Kid Rock are all here, along with Bonnie Tyler and Kim Carnes -- two raspy-voiced soul singers who are natural foils for Miller -- Delbert McClinton, Steve Cropper, and John Parr. All these superstars do attract headlines, but they don't quite attract attention on Double Take, as each of the performers chooses to keep the focus on Miller's songs and, to a lesser extent, his singing. While the production is just a tad too polished to feel as gritty as Miller's best '70s works, the music is nevertheless in that vein and many of the songs are quite good, particularly the gospel-drenched Elton John number "Where Do the Guilty Go?" and the swaggering "Way Past Midnight" (performed with Lewis). "Kiss Her for Me" (with Stewart) is a pretty ballad and "Jezebel Jones" (with Kid Rock) is a prime slice of soulful rock. While it's tempting for the Miller faithful to wish he was singing lead on every song, it's clear this is a labor of love and we're fortunate to have these fine songs resurrected in whatever fashion we can get.
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