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Blues - Released July 24, 2020 | Contagious

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Blues - Released November 27, 2020 | There's A Dead Skunk Records

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Blues - Released March 23, 2015 | There's A Dead Skunk Records

John Lee Hooker built a long, rich career out of writing the same song over and over again for close to 50 years. That's not to say Hooker wasn't a great songwriter, as he most certainly was, but for him the most important thing wasn't the melody or the lyrics, but the boogie, the ceaseless forward rhythm that drove his music with an unholy force and was the foundation of nearly all his great songs. Seasick Steve is no John Lee Hooker, but he does share Hooker's true devotion to the deep and sinewy groove, an element that's run strong through Steve's music since he belatedly launched his recording career in 2006, and his albums have been cut from similar musical cloth, with the Seasick One wailing hard on a buzzy slide guitar while his rhythm section stomps behind him like the beat owes them money. 2015's Sonic Soul Surfer doesn't break a lot of new ground for Seasick Steve (the artist formerly known as Steve Wold); it's dominated by butt-shaking groovers like "Roy's Gang," "Sonic Soul Boogie," and "Barracuda '68," where Steve cranks his amp and the band turns up the heat, while smoky late-night numbers like "We Be Moving" and "Your Name," and atmospheric acoustic tunes such as "In Peaceful Dreams" and "Heart Full of Scars" give the album variety and texture. When Steve hits fourth gear and picks up a good head of steam, his indefatigable stomp is a joy to behold, and he rocks blissfully hard for a man eligible for Social Security. However, Sonic Soul Surfer is an album that doesn't need to be 57-minutes long, and the final third features more than one moment where the record feels like it should coast to a close, only for another slow number to jump up and keep the show rolling. When Seasick Steve is laying out a fiery groove, Sonic Soul Surfer more than delivers the goods, but he should remember than John Lee Hooker didn't cut too many double albums in his day for a good reason -- you can only boogie for so long in one go, and when you run low on gas, it's not entertaining for anyone involved. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Blues - Released April 14, 2017 | There's A Dead Skunk Records

It’s easy to be sucked into the Seasick Steve legend (his real name is Steve Wold). Raised in California, he left home at 14 and began life as a street kid hobo, hopping trains, traveling, working odd jobs, drifting, playing music on street corners, doing whatever it took to survive, until somehow he ended up in Norway in his sixties where he began his late-in-life recording career as a fire-breathing rustic trance blues musician famous for his searing slide work, gruff voice, and a penchant for cigar box guitars and other odd instruments. All of which is true. But there’s a bit more to the story. Wold, aside from seeming like he stepped right out of a Jack London story, has also been a session musician and recording engineer (he worked with Modest Mouse), appeared on BBC television, and even played with John Lee Hooker, so he is not a hobo savant -- he knows exactly what he’s doing. It just took him a long time to find an audience, or perhaps even to know he wanted one. His sound is rough, ragged, and stomping, a bit like North Mississippi trance blues players like R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough, but he doesn’t do traditional blues songs -- it just sounds like he does. There’s no doubt he understands the heart, soul, and kinetics of country blues, but he’s also a natural songwriter who has lived a few decades and seen a lot of things in the back alleys that have given him a wonderfully urgent and wise perspective on what he’s doing. He’s not a young man. He’s been around. He knows what he’s singing about. You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks, his fifth album, is his best yet, and easily his most considered and polished -- polished being a relative term here because this outing is thankfully still plenty rough and raw. There are a half dozen of Wold's signature roaring slide guitar tracks here, usually accompanied by Dan Magnusson's powerful and inspired drumming, including the delightfully romping “Don’t Know Why She Love Me But She Do,” but there are other tracks here that reveal Wold as something more than just a brilliant side-street blues player. The opening track, “Treasures,” is a thing of stark beauty as Wold looks back at what is truly worth holding in a long life, and it isn’t blues, unless one calls those old Appalachian banjo songs the blues. He sounds like Fred Neil after a two-week bender on another gem called “Whiskey Ballad,” which is more folk than it is anything else. Then he’s back to the banjo again for “Underneath a Blue and Colourless Sky,” a song that Dock Boggs would have cried over, and it’s sad and real and powerful. The set closer, “It’s a Long, Long Way,” is a pure country song, and one can almost imagine what Johnny Cash would have done with it. You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks builds on the loose and raw sound of Wold's earlier records, but it is also an extension of them, pulling in strains of folk and country and adding them to his signature trance blues sound. The result is a powerfully good record that Tom Waits is probably going to play to death if he ever gets ahold of a copy. © Steve Leggett /TiVo
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Blues - Released September 28, 2018 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

Seasick Steve used a large bowl of simmering ingredients to prepare his ninth album, Can U Cook?. The team in the kitchen is Dan Mangnusson on drums and Luther Dickinson (son of the great Jim Dickinson) on the guitar playing alongside the sixty-something year old troubadour on these extravagant tracks. A thirteen-course album produced and composed by Steve, it would be a perfect fit for an American diner in the middle of nowhere. Each portion has its own unique flavour, jumping between electric blues, rock’n’roll riffs and muddy country. Can U Cook? is a mix of modern styles, the album of a gritty bluesman. From the very first bite, the groove takes a hold of the listener’s body and triggers an unstoppable addiction. The album’s title track is undoubtedly the centrepiece, a catchy blues-rock track that makes you want to dance on tables and eat with your fingers. There’s plenty to get your teeth into with this album. © Clara Bismuth/Qobuz
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Blues - Released October 7, 2016 | There's A Dead Skunk Records

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Blues - Released July 15, 2008 | WM UK

After an appearance on British TV, Seasick Steve (aka Steve Wold) found himself thrust into the spotlight after decades spent as a hobo, a busker, and a sound engineer. His earnest brand of classic blues struck a strong chord in the midst of so much overproduced music of the day, and as they had done decades before, Brits lined up for the simple pleasures of American blues, which led Steve to a major-label release which quickly made it into the Top 10. While some fans (and critics) had worried that major-label production would kill the bare-bones aesthetic that really made Steve's music shine, that proved a non-issue for the most part. I Started Out with Nothin' and I Still Got Most of It Left opens with the title track, probably the most produced piece present. It's a simple thumping blues in the vein of John Lee Hooker, with some nice but unnecessary vocals courtesy of Ruby Murray. Steve's voice is smooth, almost sensual compared to the gravelly gutbucket one might have been expecting. The production doesn't get in the way of the music too much, though the overall effect is a bit more grandiose than Steve's sound really would call for. Luckily, the sound gets decidedly less smooth as the album moves along, emphasizing Steve's aesthetic a bit more -- his vocals remain smooth, but the compositions are a little more folksy, a little more Southern. Though the album gets a bit sidetracked by the interspersed bits of BBC documentary (ranging from storytelling to clips of Steve ordering lunch), it's hard to stop him when he gets on a good roll. On tracks like "Thunderbird" (a rocking electric blues devoted to his favorite fortified wine) or "Chiggers" (a start-and-stop bit of acoustic blues in a little bit of a Texas vein), he lets loose on the guitar with a full load of joy -- it's clear that he's just having fun here, and the songs shine in response. He can go more contemplative (as on "My Youth"), but Seasick Steve is really in his element on the lighter side of the blues -- country-blues nostalgia, train-riding stories, Taj Mahal-style rolling, and tumbling blues (including of course, the track "Roll and Tumble Blues"). The album's got flaws, it's got some dead ends, and at least at times he seems to be emulating his heroes (John Lee Hooker, Taj Mahal) more than creating new music. However, the album is also easily one of the better blues releases in the last few years and is excellent at what appears to be its original goal -- evoking simple joy. © Adam Greenberg /TiVo
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Blues - Released October 16, 2009 | Atlantic Records UK

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Blues - Released October 8, 2006 | There's A Dead Skunk Records

Yes, they really do still make albums like this in the 21st century. Steve Wold, otherwise known as Seasick Steve, released his second album, Dog House Music in 2007, his first purely solo effort; he had previously released an album entitled Cheap several years earlier for which he shared the credit with Swedish band the Level Devils. Dog House Music is like a really old John Lee Hooker or Muddy Waters album, or maybe something even less commercial as Steve strums his guitar and sings along, his voice sounding drowned in bourbon, and occasionally a song such as "Fallen off a Rock" crashes to life, literally, with the guitar no longer picking out a sorrowful blues lick but strumming wildly and the drums smashing away in the foreground played by two members of his family, HJ Wold and PM Wold. Apart from that however, the entire album is played by Steve, recorded in what sounded like one take, when he might have been sitting in a leaky shack by the Mississippi, almost every track given a short introduction almost as if to explain to a personal audience what the forthcoming song is about and why it is important. The album begins with the very short (just over one minute) track, "Yellow Dog" which sounds like it was been recorded at the bottom of a well, the acoustics are so terrible. When the final track, "I'm Gone," finishes, there is a small gap which is followed by Steve reciting a real shaggy dog story, over five minutes long, no music, just Steve rambling about being arrested and after spending six months in jail, looking for his runaway dog; this eventually runs into another sad blues song (about a dog). Not sure why anybody would want to listen to this story more than once. Even the album cover looks like it was designed and drawn by a six-year-old, but that simply adds to the unpolished and underproduced nature of the work, which is a credit, not a fault. © Sharon Mawer /TiVo
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Blues - Released October 19, 2009 | WM UK

Songs for Elisabeth is a compilation of Seasick Steve's songs that creates a blues alternative to the standard Valentine's release. The tracks are brought together from the Californian's four studio albums, and include the previously unreleased "Ready for Love," which retains his warm blues sound alongside songs from his debut. The artwork, created by his son Didrik Wold, is designed as a Valentine's card with a greeting written by Steve. © TiVo
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Blues - Released October 7, 2016 | There's A Dead Skunk Records

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Blues - Released June 17, 2007 | There's A Dead Skunk Records

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Blues - Released September 14, 2018 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

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Blues - Released January 30, 2009 | WM UK

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Blues - Released August 15, 2018 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

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Blues - Released December 16, 2016 | There's A Dead Skunk Records

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Blues - Released August 8, 2018 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

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Blues - Released July 29, 2016 | There's A Dead Skunk Records

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Blues - Released August 17, 2016 | There's A Dead Skunk Records

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Blues - Released August 25, 2016 | There's A Dead Skunk Records

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Seasick Steve in the magazine
  • Cooking with gas
    Cooking with gas Seasick Steve used a large bowl of simmering ingredients to prepare his ninth album, Can U Cook?