{short description of image}
{short description of image}
In the UK the album kicked off with "Turn Yourself Loose" as discussed above followed by "Don't Stop Now". I think the track is hard-hitting and reminiscent of Meatloaf's Bat out of Hell album. Co-incidentally the keyboard work, which is a key element on this track, was by Brian Chatton, who has toured with Meatloaf. Melody Maker said "Turn Yourself Loose and Don't stop Now are pile-driving scene setters".
These are followed by two terrific "love" songs, "Foolin'" and "Don't Want The Same Things". They are contrasting though with Foolin' being a more traditional ballad which is on the pessimistic side and "Don't Want The Same Things" (DWTST) being more upbeat. The former begins with superb drumming from Barry Black on his fifth and last outing with John. Of the latter Sounds commented "Marshall shows himself capable.of writing words with emotional depth". Indeed, at a concert during the tour John admitted to this track being his favourite cut on the album. It was also released Stateside as a single with "Reggae Man" as its B-side.
Rounding off side 1 is "Out of the Cradle (but still rockin')" an old style rock n roll song with a bit of pace. It is a track that I think would be better played live than listened to on album.
Side 2 begins with "Hold On", another rocky number with a few nice touches in the form of some nice vocals and guitar break from John. However, I think the verses are stronger than the chorus.
"Peaceful Waters" follows. It is a very strong lyrical song. Melody Maker described it as "a hard edged ballad turned into a ferocious Rock and Roll track with some insensitivity by Miles' tough vocal". I would agree with hard-edged but "insensitive"! I know some people who feel this is John's greatest ballad.
"Dancin' for Joy" is the funkiest track on the album. It is very different to the rest of the album. The intro is very good and I love the Jazz feel and the verses would be well suited to any dance floor. However, many fans may be surprised at the chorus. I have never heard anything like it. I think you will either love it or hate it. Either way you can't call this track safe or bland! Perhaps for the US market this was thought too different and it was dropped in favour of "Closer To You". This track was the flipside to "Turn Yourself Loose" in the UK. I think it is more of an easy listening track with some vocals from John reminiscent of Cleo Laine. It has a feel of a Latin track that your Mum and dad would dance to.
The last two tracks of the album formed the 2nd single. Firstly, "One Step Closer to Paradise" (OSCTP) and "Reggae Man", the latter being the A side. OSCTP is quite an aggressive track, which has a fantastic intro that shows off John's guitar skills very well.
And lastly, we have Reggae Man. Yet another style, Funk meets Reggae. Here we have another terrific intro, and another unusual chorus. If you like Stevie Wonder and Bob Marley then this is for you. Although it had the approval of Emperor Rosko (a UK DJ) unfortunately failed to chart, despite "Masterblaster" being recently in the charts.
Stephen Carson

1) "One Step Closer to Paradise"
This track is a treasure! I love it when JM's voice soars, and it indeed does on this track (especially on lyrics like "How could you leave my love behind".) Adding to those vocal riches is the fantastic guitar work - maybe the best on the album.
2) "Don't Stop Now"
What a great song this is! Powerful JM vocals and a chorus that stays and stays. The arrangement is interesting and pretty intricate with some really wonderful piano, (keyboard?) combined with other satisfying weirdness I can't identify - really neat. It seems a very strong track to a non-musician.
3) "Hold On"
This arrangement has a kind of driving deliberateness to the rhythm that really gets me - fine piano (keyboard?), but what a great guitar and vocal performance near the ending. (Perhaps I misspoke in extolling the guitar bit in Fave # 1, "One Step Closer to Paradise" as best guitar on the album!! Who cares - they are both remarkably wonderful.
4) "Peaceful Waters"
I was strangely drawn to this lovely ballad with such sad lyrics that also managed a touch of hope. The utter simplicity of the arrangement allows us to hear the full beauty of John's voice. I was awed by the simple beauty of voice and song.
Jean Hickman

Like Jean Hickman, I am fairly new to John Miles, having only heard Stranger in the City and Zaragon before about 8 months ago. I have now managed to build up a complete collection of both vinyl and CD albums, except for Miles High. When a copy arrived a few weeks ago, I was very surprised to find the track listing different from the version I had on tape, and realised that the US version had been not only re-arranged, but one UK track replaced by a different one.
I have always tended to approach an album as an entity, rather than think of it as a collection of tracks, needing a good start, and a good finish. The UK version fails for me, in that Turn Yourself Loose has rather a weak beginning. On the US version, it starts with Out Of The Cradle. I love it, a real, straightforward, no nonsense belter. However, back to the UK listing
Turn Yourself Loose, as I have said, has rather a weak start. The backing vocals do nothing to improve it. However, the rhythm of the verse is very interesting if you listen carefully, and I like the guitar work, even though it is very short
Don't Stop Now starts with an opening saxophone, or is it keyboards sounding like a sax? It is hard to tell these days. I don't like it. The number improve though, and the backing vocals are much better. John's singing is very listenable. Again some of the rhythms are excellent
Foolin' is in a another class altogether. I am sure that the whole album is an experiment in rhythmic patterns, as Foolin' is very different again. I really do like this track. The vocals are excellent, and the guitar work matches them, although again too short
Don't Want The Same Things has a great drum opening, and again, another type of rhythm. I don't think this one works very well though. Later in the track the repetitious dah di dah in the backing gets on my nerves, although the guitar work is well worth a listen.
Out Of The Cradle I have already mentioned above, and my opinion is still the same, wherever it comes in the track listing.
Hold On has a good solid beat, excellent guitar solo, and is a good toe tapper. Not outstanding, but a good listen.
Peaceful Waters is another of my kind of track. It needs to be listened to, not just played as background. I love the lyrics, and the string backing fits very well.
Dancin' For Joy is the track replaced in the US release, and all I can say is thank goodness. I hate it. Another rhythmic experiment which for me is a total failure.
One Step Closer To Paradise goes some way to redeeming things, although there is nothing outstanding to comment on. I do like the guitar work though, but why, oh why is it at the end, and faded out?
Reggae Man is another experiment I feel, this time with a Caribbean touch. Initially I was not impressed, but I have found it growing on me as I listen to it more and more. The backing vocals let things down though.
Finally, Closer To You, which is the replacement track on the US release, is yet another try at a different rhythm. It is not too bad, although I find that the title phrase, apart from being very repetitious, is very staccato, and hard to take
So to the top three favourites. Number One must be Peaceful Waters, Number Two very closely Out Of The Cradle, and Number Three is Foolin'. The remainder of the tracks really should be laid to rest.
John Webster

What a great LP - my favourite tracks are really as the album starts "Turn Yourself Loose" - fantastic opener and I still think it made a great choice for a single. I remember the adverts in the music press and it certainly got a fair amount of airplay.
"Don't Stop Now" - My favourite track on the whole album - I still believe it is one of the best songs John ever recorded.
"Foolin" - one of those songs that just sits in your head - I find myself singing along to it in the car and I love the song..
"One Step Closer to Paradise" the best song in my opinion on side two .
I really still love the album with a few exceptions which I skip now when I play the disc - Reggae Man & Out of the Cradle. Strange really as I remember them as being quite brilliant on the 1981 tour, I seem to remember that Reggae Man went on for ages live. I have the US version too, but I was disappointed to listen to "Closer to You" again, the recording seems quite dull.
Chris Greenwood

Finally got round to making my selection! To be honest it has been so long since I listened to Miles High that I had almost forgotten how some of the songs went. I suppose half the problem is that my only copy is on a big, black round thing with groves on both sides.I can only play it by rubbing a needle along the groves on something called a record player! Those were the days!
To be frank, this is not my favourite JM record. I think the production is muddy and wooden. I expect John is now a very able record producer, but this was not a brilliant first attempt. I understand that the LP was recorded whist Orange Music got John a record deal.It was not John`s intention that his production should be the version that was eventually released but EMI released it anyway.
In short this is a good quality demo and not the intended final version. I am sure that a good producer would have made this into a fine LP. I also doubt that the choruses of Dancin For Joy and Reggae Man would have made a reproduced LP. I think they are Dreadful and ruin good songs.
Anyway after that little rant, what do I like? Quite a lot really! My favourite track is Turn Yourself Loose, a tidy little rocker with a good hook, that sounds great live.
Next up is One Step Closer to Paradise, a spiky workout, that shows off John`s vocals and Guitar playing very well.
My third choice is Don`t Want The Same Things. This is well played, well sung and has one of those vocal lines that gets you singing along with it. Bob Marshall`s best lyrics on the LP as well.
Fourth choice is Don`t Stop Now. The chorus is one of those big build up ones that punches in so well-"Don`t be a Boy in a Big Mans World....
I also think Foolin`, Hold On and Peaceful Waters are good songs but Out of The Cradle is very forced and slightly naff! I expect we will all have different opinions, but those are mine!
Richard Townsend

I have to admit I lost my copy of Miles High a couple of years ago in a house move.Stephen has alluded to the fact that I have commented on it before and to me it was not a great loss. I have been looking at the results coming in. At the time of my original comments it seemed I was committing heresy or at least I had unusual taste. It would seem however of those expressing an opinion recently my general feeling toward this record is not to far out. i.e.: Poor production, too many weak tracks, very disappointing after the lengthy wait.
I'm really sorry but some of these tracks were not good enough to grace a B side's. Dancing For Joy is rubbish period. Reggae Man is not to far behind. Whoever thought that that would make a single at EMI must have had a screw loose. I did not know about the fact it was meant to be a demo .If this is the case it is forgivable, but it has to go down for me as Johns worst album by a long way.
My Miles High favs are, and I'm struggling beyond these.
1) Hold On. Not popular, but it has something special about it that I cannot define. I like it , it's not often a verse is so catchy. In my original JM tribute band that I played in all the punters asked about the song. It is very strong live and maybe that's why I like it.
2) Turn Yourself Loose. Great pop rocker, again great live.
3) Peaceful waters is exactly that and by far the best laid back track on the album .
4) Don't Want The Same Things. The only other track on the album I would play if I still had it.
Mark Burgess

There are times when I curse my lack of musical knowledge but this is not one of them. I have read the comments on poor production etc etc etc but for me, well, it just goes straight over my head. I love this album.
The two opening songs, 'Turn Yourself Loose' and 'Don't Stop Now'. The former a tale of the confidence to break away from the established to a bigger brighter future, the latter the story of where that confidence came from (be a man my boy!).
Songs three and four, start the sad but amusing tale of a modern relationship. Foolin', the sorry tale of infidelity one side of the relationship whilst the other side blindly continues to forgive, whilst aching inside( I say I don't mind it, I just won't let it show) in the firm belief that this is the person for them (You and I so much to live for). 'Don't Want the Same Thing' is the reply from the supposed repentant partner (no snippit here, read the whole lyric).
'Out of the cradle' is a typical 'look at me now' type song, saying 'I put you through hell while I learned those chords but I can finally strum a tune'.
Back to the story. Now it starts to get a little worrying. 'Hold On'. If this is the same chap that was ever forgiving on foolin' who took her back during 'Don't Want the Same Thing' then it seems to me that he is well on the way to a nervous breakdown. (If I seem a little strange, I've been spending too much time on my own), and who can blame him, so many mixed signals. He's left in body (Oh I'd really love to stay but I know I'd feel much better alone) but not in spirit. Doesn't know what to do.
'Peaceful Waters', he has finally gone, what on earth is that all about. I can see him now sitting in his chair eyes fixed forward rocking back and forth, back and forth..
'Dancin' for Joy'. Who remembers 'Fame' the TV series? This song is more or less one of the episodes set to music. It was about a Blind guy who felt that his life was somehow not complete as he could not dance (would have been slightly lower on my list of priorities). Anyhow Blah Blah the kids from fame teach him a few steps and 'lo, he was dancing for joy.
Now the concluding episode. 'One Step Closer to Paradise'. Poor boy. Having finally come back from the other side of his breakdown (having got there in a while?) he finds that now he's decided that he'll take her lovin' at any price. She didn't 'hold on' as he'd asked. Well she's better off out of it.
First and Foremost, Foolin'. Love this song beautifully sung and with such feeling. One of my all time top five.
Secondly, Turn Yourself Loose. Its impact as the first track is tremendous.
Third, One Step Closer to Paradise for the Guitar solo
Fourth, 'Don't Stop Now' for the Vocal
John Taylor

I listened to the album again before writing this, to double check what I'm going to say. I am curious about the comments about the production - what do people mean when they say that the production is poor, or woolly or whatever? It sounds crisp and clear to me. The music is tight, well recorded, and far too complex to be any kind of an ex-demo. Just listen to the layers of vocal overdubs - remember all of the vocals are JM himself - no backing singers or anything. Listen to the guitar layers as well - some tracks have three or more tracks of guitar. I noticed from Stephen's original epic review that the press was very critical of the realisation of the songs in the studio (in some cases) - I just cannot go along with that at all. It makes me wonder what kind of experience such journalists had in recording studios.
Just to lay my cards on the table, I have been involved with studio engineering and production since 1978, including having some of my work played on local radio; I have also been asked by other musicians to record and produce material for them, as well as having been involved with albums for bands in which I have played. In addition, I have done extensive live engineering for bands as well as engineering live recordings. This is why I listened to the album again, with a particular aim to hear what it is that others seem to be hearing in this album: I cannot hear it, sorry! Oh, and just in case, my copy of the album is in good condition and my hifi system does any extremely good job, so I can hear the full range of what is on the vinyl - I also have my hearing checked regularly, as it is so important to me, and I still have the full range intact! JM's worst album? Surely not! There are loads of great songs here, IMHO.
The comments about Reggae Man, and particular questioning the wisdom of releasing it as a single. Don't forget that 10CC had been at number 1 a few years before with Dreadlock Holiday, another reggae style number, so perhaps the EMI bods thought that the public was ready for another reggae style single. I have many friends who are heavily into authentic reggae, and I have to say that the feel of this song is spot on - the space in the song, with many minimalist touches. OK the chorus isn't traditional reggae, with the backwards reverb of the vocals (that's why they seem to fade in at the beginning in that eerie kind of way!), but elsewhere there are very "black" touches, right down to the wonderful percussion, and the little Hammond organ chords in the verses. I love it, I'll be honest - as I said before, I had to do a lead break in a reggae number that one of the bands I was in used to play: I used JM's solo almost note for note, because it fitted perfectly! The band was well impressed!
It does sound like saxophone over the top of keyboard for the intro of Don't Stop Now, and it's a pity that there aren't any more detailed credits so we could be sure. Even the orchestra isn't credited this time... Anyway, before I bore you all to tears, here are my favourites.
Number one has to be One Step Closer To Paradise (Jean, considering you always comment on your non-musicality, you seem to hear the right things just the same!) - the guitar work is just superb, JM at his best. Also the singing is perfect, as are the words: nice one Bob! I could really identify with the opening lyric, as at that time in my life, I was always waiting for female friends to call me, and usually they didn't (but that another sad story!), so I really did spend my lifetime waiting for the phone to ring, and in fact I identified with most of the lyric. I also learnt the guitar parts, as it was going round in my mind all the time - it still does frequently!
Number two is Out Of The Cradle (But Still Rockin') - oh yes it is! This one really seems to either win or lose with the rest of you. I loved it before I even heard it because I just loved the humour of the title. I'd like to think it applied equally well to me, as I will always be a rocker at heart, despite the classical training! I love the good time rock 'n' roll feel of this song (as it says in the lyric). It's basically a 12-bar blues song, with similarities to what Status Quo have been doing for most of their musical lives, but with an extra quality and class which only JM can bring. The brass stabs and counterpoint are excellent, and it's one of the few occasions when JM uses either a bottleneck or a steel slide (I can't recall which he used live, but it sounds like a steel slide to me?). The song is also good for having a real ending, rather than a fade out!
Number three is Turn Yourself Loose - I think it was a good choice for a single, and the way the guitar power chords are syncopated against the regular stabs of the piano and bass/drums adds a less standard feel to this song than your run-of-the-mill rocker. I also love the way JM's vibrato in his singing emulates the vibrato in the guitar lead break, and the way the two blend together. I think the vibrato in the guitar playing comes from a tremolo arm ("wang bar") which wouldn't have been an option previously as Gibson Les Paul guitars don't generally have one fitted. I think JM would have been using another make/model of guitar as a result (but One Step Closer sounds like his classic Les Paul sound!).
Now how to I pick one more? I think it has to be Reggae Man, simply because of the different elements which fuse into a catchy whole - I love JM's inflection on the line "Dressing to kill", plus the minimalist solo which I've already mentioned. Brian Chatton's nifty keyboard work complements everything perfectly, plus Barry Black's wonderful drumming with the incessant bass drum beat - very characteristic of "real" reggae!
So what about the other songs? Peaceful Waters is a classic JM ballad, with wonderful lyrics, and the way it builds up is great! The whole song is just a single vocal line apart from the harmony vocals at the end (Another mountain he'll be climbin' etc.), and the orchestration is very sensitive. The style of then piano is just like Remember Yesterday off of the second album, so I'm sure it's JM playing it, rather than Brian Chatton.
I like Dancin' For Joy! It has some interesting counterpointed rhythms, and the funky clavinet playing in the background is almost the same as used in Slow Down. I love the guitar runs which come in the bridge (after Keep on trying, and Feel like dying, and then in the same places for the other bridges), which are very nifty. I guess whether you'll like it or not depends on whether you like a disco-ish feel, or whether you just want JM to play rock or ballads. It seems to me that he was demonstrating that he can tackle lots of different styles, all in his own way, all still JM but showing what a totally versatile musician he is!
In conclusion, as an album, I thought and still think that it is excellent - a very versatile, exciting piece of work which just went to show that JM hadn't stood still - that he was progressing and developing his writing and playing skills. My only gripe? The inner card sleeve with the lyrics printed on it is like the kiss of death for vinyl, as it scratches far too easily!
Bimal Jangra

Onto my Miles High favorites - here's my top 4:
1. One More Ticket to Paradise - This is just a great rockin' tune with catchy lyrics. What more can I say.
2. Peaceful Waters - John is a great ballad writer and Peaceful Waters is no exception. Nice song with great lyrics.
3. Hold On - Like One More Ticket to Paradise, Hold On is a great rockin tune. However, I found the guitar solo in the middle of the song to lack punch. Why not put a really ripping solo in the middle of the song - like in Nice Man Jack? A real opportunity lost.
4. Reggae Man - Reggae Man is either a song you really like or really hate. As Bimal pointed out, this song really does have a reggae feel to it. The chorus reminds me of the classic Styx song Mr. Roboto (although Reggae Man is far better than Mr. Roboto). Reggae Man is another example how diversified John can be. He can perform hard rock, soft rock, ballads, and reggae better than many artists specifically in that genre!
Becky Wildenberg

Having taken note of John's comments a couple of days ago regarding past album reviews, I've put my bunch together. As there are so many I haven't commented on the individual tracks (I'd be at it for hours), so with no further ado the run down is as follows:-
1) Foolin
2) Don't Want The Same Things
3) Peaceful Waters
4) Turn Yourself Loose
Zoë Pinchin

1) Turn Yourself Loose
2) One Step Closer to Paradise
3) Foolin'
4) Where Peaceful Waters Flow
Malcolm Leeves

1) Out of The Cradle
2) Where Peaceful Waters Flow
3) Turn Yourself Loose
4) One Step Closer to Paradise
Dan McVeigh