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Tommy Miles

Take Me Back Biloxi – 2006 (Merlin Sights)

Reviewed by Brian Baker

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CDs by Tommy Miles

Tommy Miles has had one of those coulda/woulda/shoulda careers. He toured the regional South with his band, the Rock Pyle, in the late '60s and relocated to California after Camille devastated the Gulf Coast in 1969, then broke his neck in a car accident and dropped out of the music scene. Miles returned with the Merlin Sights Band, which ended badly, causing he and drummer Steve Tucker to set up a recording studio to work a different music angle. Eventually, Miles began collaborating with Delaney Bramlett and the legendary Spooner Oldham, which has ultimately led to the formation of Harmony-n-Gritz and this recording.

Miles' career has been a timeline of country music's evolution, and he works within that broad range here, from the T Bone Burnett-does-Buddy-Holly twang pop of "Let's Fall in Love" to the Steve Earle-tinged "Living Out My Dream" and "Throwing True Love Away" to Charlie Daniels/Little Feat shuffle of the title track. Although Oldham's handiwork is evident on Biloxi as keyboardist, co-producer and co-writer of a number of tracks, this is a showcase for Miles' talents, which he displays fairly well.

Biloxi's better than average songs are notched back slightly by the album's raw roadhouse sonics and Miles' worldworn voice, which occasionally misses the mark, and the album's cover art has the mistaken feel of a '60s gospel record, but it's a solid beginning for an artist with a 40-year headstart.