The window of Glasgow’s The 13th Note, a hip, hard-rocking indie bar located a stone’s throw from the Clyde, makes just one nod to the city’s musical past: a large framed painting of Frankie Miller, looking heroic. Miller was the blue-eyed blues rocker and soul man who Rod Stewart confessed was the only competition that worried him.
A 1994 brain aneurysm effectively ended his career, but family friend Spike puts his rare talent back in the spotlight by fronting 12 of his unreleased songs. A backing band of Simon Kirke, Ronnie Wood and Andy Fraser, plus guests Ian Hunter and Bonnie Raitt, show Miller’s standing among classic rock royalty.
Spike’s tobacco-scraped voice is a perfect fit, and the songs themselves, from Intensive Care’s Stonesy honky-tonk rock to The Brooklyn Bridge’s slowly smoking blues pay the best tribute to their writer. The sharply observed yet romantic tales of Dutch prostitutes and bad hotels on the desperate side of town get life down to its brass tacks. This great job by Spike should put Miller back on the map.