mixin’ up the medicine…
The myth of “Seasick” Steve Leach as a train-hopping, panhandling hobo may have been busted by a 2016 biography (the grizzly-faced Southerner had instead spent most of the 70s playing bass in a disco band), but his ninth album since being ‘discovered’ as a travelling D.I.Y. bluesman in 2007 is business as usual.
Like its predecessors, the shack-shaker rhythms and swampy homemade slide guitar (still a coupla strings missing) of “Can U Cook?” aren’t so much behind the curve as way outside of it. No one has been making blues records like this for decades, and yet Leach’s steady rise and regular festival slots suggest that there’s something comforting, reassuring about his unpretentious approach.
Recorded in Florida, a sticky sultriness permeates its thirteen songs – manifested by the honey-drenched slide work and fuzzy amps dialed all the way up to distorted levels. The heat haze is practically visible on the steamy “Chewin’ On Da Blues” and the mid-arvo hush of “Shady Tree”. Most interesting is “Young Blood”, whose fuzzy funk is a nod to the disco-era session muso he once was, proving at least he’s got a sense of humour about it all.
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