Album review: Seasick Steve - You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

If there were ever an apposite album title, this is it. With a smile that tells you he’s been there too, Seasick delivers another batch o’the blues.

Seasick’s fifth album arrives just as boffins declare this 70-year-old, dungaree-wearing former hobo scientifically impossible to dislike. Good news for a bloke peddling innovation-free ol’time blues.

It does at least see him expand his emotional range; Treasures is one hell of an emotionally-wrought, heart-in-mouth downer for an opening gambit, just Seasick and his guitar in arguably his most intimate recording to date.

It’s counterpoint, Whiskey Ballad, is a relentlessly upbeat fingerpicked ditty - with a cheerfully addled whistle to boot.

The remainder perches comfortably on the knarled wooden stool of an anonymous blues bar, his agreeably gruff vocals greeted by unaccompanied makeshift guitars and raucous full bands by turns.

It’s A Long, Long Way’s country twang, backed by a kids’ choir, is reined in just enough to avoid a messy, schmaltzy ending to this otherwise solid, if unsurprising, record.

3 stars

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