Album: Seasick Steve, Man from Another Time (Atlantic)

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The Independent Culture

Recorded live on old-style analogue equipment, Man from Another Time is typically enjoyable, though not quite as potent as the quarter-million-selling I Started Out with Nothing and I've Still Got Most of It Left – despite Steve's lo-fi ringing of the changes, with his trusty "three-string trance wonder" guitar set aside occasionally in favour of slide licks played on a homemade cigar-box guitar ("Happy"), and more primitive still, the single-string device whose construction is explained and demonstrated in "Diddley Bo".

He may no longer ride the rails, but Steve's hobo experiences still drive his muse, with recollections of time spent sleeping rough, picking apples as a migrant worker ("Wenatchee") and spending time in Spokane jail ("Never Go West"). Elsewhere, "Just Because I Can" and "Big Green and Yeller" respectively find a nostalgic Steve hopping a freight train for old time's sake, and devising a plan to buy himself a tractor and caravan and "drive down the highway blockin' traffic every chance I can". He has two basic modes: the itchy boogie groove most effectively employed on the prison lament "That's All", evoking the restless frustration of pacing a tiny cell; and the more low-key style of "The Banjo Song", a sympathetic reflection on the ostracism of ageing drifters, where the dry-gulch plunk of his banjo perfectly matches the hoarse rasp of his voice.

Download this That's All, Seasick Boogie, I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry