Thursday, 2 October 2008

ALBUM REVIEW: Seasick Steve, I Started Out With Nothing and I’ve Still Got Most of it Left

Former hobo, American bluesman Steve Wold aka Seasick Steve, won best breakthrough act at this year’s Mojo Magazine awards. He’s been a festival favourite for a few years now. Seasick Steve is the real deal. Having learnt about the hobo lifestyle early on in life (via many freight trains) he has developed a vivid & wholly authentic folk-blues style. He's been playing music professionally since the 70s & still has it today. Following the release of his long awaited debut solo album Dog House Music in 2006 he found a legion of new fans after appearing on Jools Holland's Hootenanny.

His recently released second solo album 'I Started Out With Nothing and I've Still Got Most Of It Left' sounds a little more polished than the first and it is, it was recorded in a Norfolk studio owned by former Darkness guitarist Dan Hawkins. This album doesn’t have the same charm and wholesome feel of its predecessor.

The album's title track sounds all a bit too smooth and clean cut with backing singers thrown into the mix. By the time it gets to the third track on the album, St Louis Slim it seems the real Seasick Steve is creeping back and things are getting funky. The delightful, Happy Man shows a softer tone to Steve’s voice. Nick Cave puts in a brilliant star guest performance on Just Like a King, which is equally brooding and a charming strum along with the two music men.

Meanwhile the thrillingly humorous track, Chiggers, refers to an insect and Steve offers some advice over what to do if you ever get attacked by a mass of evil sounding bugs. The track sees a welcome return of the old boys ferocious slide guitar playing.

Closing track, My Youth is a desolate mediation on ageing, which is somewhat poignant as Steve sings about the memories that he has. I can’t imagine anyone, well, anyone with a heart that is, not to be affected by this track.

Admittedly the album has got nothing on what you get from the experience of seeing the man himself perform live. However it would be a bit foolish to expect just that. Once you get over its rocky start this album is really good, or as the man himself would put it “It’s All Good!”

Track listing

1. Started Out With Nothing
2. Walking Man
3. St Louis Slim
4. Happy Man
5. Prospect Lane
6. Thunderbird
7. Fly By Night
8. Just Like A King
9. One True
10. Chiggers
11. My Youth

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