Seasick Steve – Man From Another Time

January 01, 1970

(Ryko)

www.rykodisc.com

 

By any measure,
Seasick Steve could be considered strictly a novelty act, yet another American
who had to venture overseas to capture attention on foreign shores. The fact
that he’s a sixty-something former studio owner who ran away from home at age
13, turned to busking at an young age and became an accidental sensation after
an appearance on British TV makes his saga more the stuff of soap operas than
any easily explained phenomenon.  Yet
somehow, the Brits opted to take him under their wing, and three albums on,
he’s accumulated a rabid following and managed sell-out shows, a perennial
presence on the U.K. festival circuit, continual praise from the scribes and
not one, but two prestigious Brit Awards in the process.

 

If these events of
the past four years seem somewhat inexplicable, they could be deemed even more
so considering Steve’s rather rudimentary organic sound. Taking his name from
an aversion to water travel, he purveys a basic blues and boogie motif that
offers unabashed homage to Bo Diddley (“Diddley Bo”), ZZ Top (“Big Green and
Yeller”), Howlin’ Wolf (“Happy To Have a Job”) and just about every other
country blues legend — Charlie Patton, Robert Johnson and Blind Willie McTell
included – one could reference. If his derivative, good old boy style offers
little in the way of originality – he plays all the instruments save the
percussion, which is credited to Swedish sidekick Dan Magnusson – his unassuming
delivery, capable of rendering both a frenetic rampage and simple aw-shucks
humility, is consistent cause for curiosity.

 

Obviously
cognizant of his good fortune, Steve is also honest enough to reflect on his
unlikely good fortune. “Happy (To Have A Job)” finds him offering appreciation:
“I know it’s y’all who give me this job/I won’t forget it, I swear to God.”

 

Likewise, “Just
Because I Can’ suggests he’ll milk it for as long as he can. 

“Well I know I ain’t so young,
My health ain’t what it used to be,

But you never know
how long you got,

So I’m gonna ride
all day for free.”

 

Considering the
alternatives these days, who can blame him?

Standout Tracks: “I’m So Lonesome I
Could Cry (hidden track, “Just Because I Can,” “Dark” LEE ZIMMERMAN

 

 

 

 

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