Sunday, November 27, 2011

Seasick Steve Is A Man From Another Time

Seasick Steve is the latest in a long line of troubled troubadours who have been lauded and loved by critics and fans everywhere. Like Tom Waits, the story of Seasick Steve is a story of survival, just getting by and then having success later in life. At nearly sixty six, Seasick Steve has just about seen and done it all from running away from home, to busking, to becoming one of the biggest draws in the United Kingdom. He's a simple man with simple pleasures and his songs are so incredibly simple that the word complicated doesn't even exist in his vocabulary.

Steve's latest album, Man From Another Timeis a knock down drag out blues record that alternates between electric and acoustic sounds and includes enough twangy guitar, banjo, and bashed drums to make to make even Seasick Steve sick. This is a record that's rawer then sushi, rougher than roughage, and so no frills it's barely there. Recorded the old fashion way without digital assistance, Man From Another Time, sounds like a record from another time and it's easy to see in this age how this simplistic and honest approach has it's appeal.

My only problem with Man From Another Time is that so much of the record sounds like a bunch of drunken rambling. Much like Tom Waits, Seasick Steve is far from a professional singer and his vocals honestly sound as if they've been victim to approximately four million cigarettes and a lifetime of cheap alcohol. At times incoherent and at others spot on, it takes some getting used to. While Mr. Steve has been very popular overseas, I find him at times a bit too much to handle. His near-panhandling draw and his barely there production style tends to wear thin after a while. However, that being said, Man From Another Time does have it's moments. When he ups the ante and brings in his drummer the songs approach this electric blues rock and roll sort of hybrid that's not too shabby; see, "Big Green and Yeller," as a fine example of this.

Love him or hate him, you have to hand it to Seasick Steve. Perseverance and a love of his craft has paid off tenfold for this old guy and I have to say, he's lived one heck of a life that's probably been more exciting and depressing than any of us will ever experience. This is one senior citizen who's still got it and he's only to proud to show it off. I may not think he's all that but I totally respect him for getting out there, touring the world, and making a living playing his songs at the young age of 65. More power to him!

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