- 02 Jun 11
The song remains thrilingly the same on bluesman’s latest offering
The above title would lead you to believe – rightly, as it happens – that there is little difference between Seasick Steve’s’s latest batch of songs and any of his previous albums. Indeed, the template hasn’t significantly changed since Steven Wold made his breakthrough appearance on Jools Holland back in 2006.
Righteous roots music, stirring episodes from a life visited by those twin impostors triumph and adversity – this is what we’ve come to expect from the one-time hobo. Steve, however, still manages to take us down the road less travelled. A scorching combo of guitar, drums and bass, the hellfire intensity of the title track suggests that a thing, or two, has been learnt from sometime buddies Grinderman. Led Zep’s John Paul Jones lends his talents here and on the insane, Bo-Diddley-style jive of ‘Back In The Doghouse’, the latter finding Wold lamenting that he’s the “black sheep” of the clan, a man “born under a bad sign”. The steady approach of the Grim Reaper informs a number of songs, not least the raggedy-soul of ‘What A Way To Go’ – reminding us that, in the end, our pension plan ain’t gonna save us from our inevitable fate.
Still, Seasick isn’t overly concerned. The joyous stomp of ‘Party’ suggests that, for him at least, the afterlife will be a bluesman’s Valhalla. The contemplative mood extends to ‘Days Gone’, guitar wailing as he picks through the wreckage of the past. It is the blistering quality of such songs that convinces me that Seasick Steve possesses a schtick worth sticking to.