Seasick Steve “A Trip A Stumble A Fall Down On Your Knees”

Universal UK, 2024

The blues fused with other genres to very good effect.

Album cover artwork for Seasick Steve's "A Trip A Stumble A Fall Down On Your Knees"Just over halfway through this, Seasick Steve’s fourteenth album, comes the track ‘Funky Music’ with the words “The blues been calling me/ All of my life/ And the sweet soul music/ Been my guiding light” which are key in understanding the album. Each song on it has a trademark repeating blues riff and there are changes of pace as in the past, but the album departs to an extent from some of his earlier work in that there are other influences and musical styles on show. In particular, female backing vocals and horns on many tracks give the music a soul or gospel feel. The different musical genres on show here give a nice variety to the tracks.

The opener, ‘Move to the Country’ starts with a familiar looping riff but halfway through becomes a traditional country song with steel guitar. Next, ‘Internet Cowboys’, one of the highlights, is much more country-rock than blues. ‘San Francisco Sound ‘67’ adds jazz to the blues and the title track ‘A Trip and a Stumble’ has a rousing gospel ending as does ‘Cryin’ Out Loud’.

The slow blues of ‘This Way’ has a slight reggae feel to some of the drums and the keyboard phrases in it. ‘Funky Music’, as you would expect, has choppy rhythm guitar and horns to give it its funk edge. The final track ‘Elisabeth’, a moving folk love song to his wife of many years, has acoustic guitar picking and harmonica. And to cap it all, elsewhere there is familiar blues-rock with, for example, ‘Let The Music Talk’ going a bit Led Zep with an absolutely crunching heavy riff.

Steve’s words are not sophisticated but, coming from a grizzled veteran who has experienced a lot in life and who has no airs and graces, they have an authenticity that encourages your attention. If there is a theme here, it is one which is a bit despairing of the state of the world and which looks back to better times in the past.

In the gentle title track, which concerns life’s struggles, he has the very welcome sentiment “I just got me this little prayer/That we all just be kinder, to people everywhere”. However, in a couple of places, he suggests that he has no answers to the world’s problems. While this avoids preaching, surely there are things that people can do on a personal or political level to make the world a better, if imperfect place?

‘Move to the Country’ suggests that the listener does exactly that for a simpler life, putting their mobile away to avoid “Big Brother” watching them. This theme is taken up in the second track, where he advises people to get off the internet to avoid being scammed and to “spend a little time with yourself, try to find out who you are”. ‘Let The Music Talk’ urges people to get back to listening to music on vinyl rather than through their phones and ‘Soul Food’ is an ode to the food of his youth as opposed to that served up at McDonald’s: “All fast food now ain’t got no soul”. ‘San Francisco Sound ‘67’ looks back to his time in that city and the sunsets where “the beats and the hippies come out to play”

Steve says this album is “the piece of work I’m most proud of to date” and you can see why he would feel this way. The way he has fused the blues with many other genres is very impressive. Current fans will really enjoy this record, but he may also make a few new ones as a result of it.


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