Seasick Steve - Songs For Elisabeth
Valentine’s day, a time for people to lose any common sense they may have and buy huge bunches of overpriced flowers, cards with vomit-inducing messages of undying love for someone they are likely to hate within a few weeks and the latest compilation of saccharine soaked love songs churned out by record companies desperate to make a few quid.
For those lucky enough to be less cynical about the day of L.U.V, you could do worse that pick up this specially packaged Valentine’s Day mini-album, Songs for Elisabeth, a seven tracker from hobo bluesman Seasick Steve. Dedicated to Steve’s wife of 28 years, it collects six songs of love from his back catalogue alongside one new song.
‘8 Ball’ sets the album off with a rolling blues guitar riff that is a perfect accompaniment to Steve’s wonderfully gruff voice. The rest of the album rolls along gracefully, moving from gentle tunes such as ‘Walkin’ Man’ to gritty blues songs epitomised by ‘Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde’. The undoubted highlight is the duet with Nick Cave, ‘Just Like A King’, a howling paean to an unnamed love, that dips and soars to almost epic proportions. ‘Ready For Love’, the only new song, is a fitting album closer that has a wonderful display of guitar picking and is obviously written for the aforementioned Elisabeth - who can only be delighted to have such an ode written in her honour.
Although the majority of the songs on show here have been released before this is an excellent sampler that shows off all sides of Steve’s blues stylings, serving not only as shiny, CD-shaped token of affection, but as a fine introduction to his ouvre so far.