Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Seasick Steve - Walkin' Man

I stumbled across Seasick Steve via Facebook and dug his clever and catchy slide-blues tune "I Started Out With Nothin' (And Still Have Most of It)". He was living mainly by busking in Paris for a time until he was championed by fans in the radio and TV world and suddenly his fame exploded. Some of his work is still stripped down and sounds like it might be similar to what he was doing on his own, but some has been slicked up a bit with a full band and backing singers - not bad, but more like Watermelon Slim than Hound Dog Taylor or some such.

Still, interesting stuff overall on this Best Of CD and a nice distorted sound on his slide guitar (some are homemade), cool, growly vocals and a heavy blues influence throughout. He has the right influences, stealing from Bo Diddley for his song about homemade guitars, "Diddley Bo", for instance. "Thunderbird" is a bit of a stomper, while he gets quiet and acoustic in "Happy Man", with some female vocals helping him out. Some foot-stampin' solo slide-boogie in "Cut My Wings" and returns to acoustic (with violin) for "Treasures". I'm hearing some Captain Beefheart bluesiness ("Floppy Boot Stomp") in "St. Louis Slim", a bit of Slim Harpo in "8-Ball", some more "rock" touches here (I prefer when he steers away from this, as it leans towards cliched, uninteresting blues-rock, though not terrible), more acoustic there and parts that are really good and some so-so. The self-explanatory-titled "The Banjo Song" is a nice change of pace, and there's a couple more cool, acoustic numbers towards the end, as well.

All in all, good but not great and I can't necessarily pin down the things that I don't care for - he's coming from the right places but sometimes misses the mark in my ears. Worth checking out to decide for yourself.