Review : Seasick Steve - I Started Out With Nothin And I Still Got Most Of It Left
GuardianOn YouTube, you can find the 2006 performance from Later ... that turned "Seasick" Steve Wold from a blues curio into an overnight star. It is a fantastic piece of television, complete with cut-away shots of awestruck stars craning for a better look. Virtually every viewer's comment is a gushing torrent of praise. Someone called StefanPriceUK, a fan of "Clapton and Gary Moore" sounds a sour note - "this had no lead guitar, boring" - but he's shouted down by voices hymning Wold's gritty authenticity: "You numpty bastard ... blues is all about emotion and Seasick Steve has tons of it."...full text
UncutThere’s a song on this, the second album by the veteran, late-flowering blues maverick Seasick Steve, called “Thunderbird”. Delivered in a gravel-voiced holler that recalls Tom Waits and a series of twisted southern vowels that resemble Dr John, the song is a hymn to the cheapo fortified wine of the same name, a drink that’s popular with both grizzled hobos and students alike.
Rather fittingly, it appears to be students and grizzled hobos that comprise Seasick Steve’s core audience. Somehow, the sixtysomething guitarist and singer born Steve Wold has managed to resurrect and reinvent that long debased artform known as the blues, reclaiming it from the dreary boogie revivalists and finding a way of selling it to audiences brought up on The White Stripes.
He’s done this primarily by reconnecting the blues to its earliest solo incarnations, the music of Robert Johnson and Charlie Patton. Part of the reason why those early kings of the delta sound so haunted and ethereal today is because – unhampered by drummers of bass players – they didn’t follow such rigid, 12-bar-blues templates. A cycle might last 12 bars but it might just as easily be 11, 13 or 14 or 22 bars long, and they’d often switch time signature at random. Rarely would they use the same three-chord turnarounds: sometimes they’d play in a single key, or use weird chromatic chord changes....full text
MusicomhIf you don't know who Seasick Steve is, you're now in a minority. With a year spent playing pretty much every single festival under the sun, it's fair to say the world has gone hobo crazy. Hell, in less than a week he plays to 5,500 people in the Royal Albert Hall - and if that doesn't get dear ol'Queen Vicky revolving in her tomb, nothing will.
But I Started Out With Nothing... leaves you a little cold. Cliched crutch of the hopelessly predictable it may be, but listening to this album just isn't the same as watching the bearded wonder give it some on stage.
In fact, there's something vaguely uncomfortable sounding about it. It is, literally, the sound of a bunch of executives (this is the first SSS album on a major label) throwing a dungareed, formerly homeless man with a penchant for playing instruments self-described as 'pieces of shit' into a fancy studio, and wondering why what comes out the other side feels a bit wrong....full text
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