Top critical review
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Pretty good, but a big step backwards!
on 25 October 2008
Seasick Steve is a fantastic bluesman, I'm a huge fan, and I listen to Doghouse Music constantly, but I'm really sorry to say that this album just doesn't quite do it for me.
Doghouse Music is a superb album - simple, straightforward, totally un-produced and packed with real feeling and passion. Thats what Seasick Steve means to me - his views and experiences of a different world, (one I hope I'll never know) are powerful and honest, and he can really play that guitar too.
It was obvious that this album would be more commercial, more produced, because Steve is now a massive worldwide phenomenon (rightly so) and so there is alot more at stake. There are some great tracks on this record, and Steve does his best to shine through, but the band are wrong for him, the arrangements are wrong for him, and the mix is wrong for him too! If you listen really carefully, you can hear the fantastic rolling rhythms of doghouse music in the guitar riffs, but almost every song is drenched in bass and drums, and it is they who set the rhythm, NOT Steve! At times you have to strain to hear his guitar at all, due to the terrible mix, and even the vocals are too quiet on several numbers.
For me the problem is that this is just a blues record with Seasick Steve in the band. If you took him away, all you would have is a bunch of session players jamming the blues, and since he's drowning in the mix half the time, thats all you have got on some of the tracks. No band can ever accompany Steve as well as he can accompany himself, and with such a polished, managed sound it ends up sounding rather clinical. A waste of a unique talent!
On the other hand, Steve seems happy with it, so good luck to him...but it just isn't anything like what I was hoping for.