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Seasick Steve - how big in the US?

George Papavgeris 31 Dec 07 - 07:51 PM
artbrooks 31 Dec 07 - 07:59 PM
Jean(eanjay) 31 Dec 07 - 08:24 PM
Murray MacLeod 31 Dec 07 - 08:32 PM
GUEST,jeff 31 Dec 07 - 11:21 PM
katlaughing 01 Jan 08 - 01:24 AM
The Villan 01 Jan 08 - 04:00 AM
George Papavgeris 01 Jan 08 - 04:41 AM
Les in Chorlton 01 Jan 08 - 04:48 AM
George Papavgeris 01 Jan 08 - 04:57 AM
Linda Kelly 01 Jan 08 - 05:43 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 01 Jan 08 - 06:25 AM
NormanD 01 Jan 08 - 07:15 AM
NormanD 01 Jan 08 - 07:19 AM
The Villan 01 Jan 08 - 07:21 AM
Jean(eanjay) 01 Jan 08 - 08:32 AM
The Villan 01 Jan 08 - 09:05 AM
artbrooks 01 Jan 08 - 09:09 AM
Ron Davies 01 Jan 08 - 10:04 AM
Mrs.Duck 01 Jan 08 - 11:00 AM
Linda Kelly 01 Jan 08 - 11:04 AM
GUEST,Jeff 01 Jan 08 - 01:17 PM
Fliss 01 Jan 08 - 04:07 PM
Mikefule 01 Jan 08 - 04:18 PM
artbrooks 01 Jan 08 - 07:11 PM
kendall 01 Jan 08 - 07:28 PM
Art Thieme 01 Jan 08 - 09:29 PM
Murray MacLeod 02 Jan 08 - 04:39 AM
Stu 02 Jan 08 - 05:01 AM
The Villan 02 Jan 08 - 06:14 AM
Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive) 02 Jan 08 - 06:36 AM
GUEST,Jim Clark aka vidlad at youtube 02 Jan 08 - 07:23 AM
matt milton 02 Jan 08 - 07:33 AM
ranger1 02 Jan 08 - 08:16 AM
GUEST,GUEST 21st Century Bluesman 02 Jan 08 - 08:54 AM
Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive) 02 Jan 08 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,21st Century Bluesman 02 Jan 08 - 09:44 AM
GUEST 02 Jan 08 - 10:02 AM
john f weldon 02 Jan 08 - 10:25 AM
Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive) 02 Jan 08 - 10:51 AM
GUEST 02 Jan 08 - 10:53 AM
The Villan 02 Jan 08 - 11:07 AM
matt milton 02 Jan 08 - 11:23 AM
Roger the Skiffler 02 Jan 08 - 11:36 AM
Mikefule 02 Jan 08 - 01:24 PM
PoppaGator 02 Jan 08 - 01:46 PM
katlaughing 02 Jan 08 - 02:10 PM
Geoff the Duck 02 Jan 08 - 02:21 PM
Geoff the Duck 02 Jan 08 - 02:31 PM
katlaughing 02 Jan 08 - 02:50 PM
GUEST, 21st Century Bluesman 02 Jan 08 - 03:11 PM
Greg B 02 Jan 08 - 03:19 PM
PoppaGator 02 Jan 08 - 03:27 PM
M.Ted 02 Jan 08 - 08:01 PM
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GUEST,21st Century Bluesman 03 Jan 08 - 05:55 AM
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GUEST,21st Century Bluesman 06 Jan 08 - 03:24 PM
GUEST, 21st Century Bluesman 07 Jan 08 - 08:47 AM
GUEST,d at seasicksteve.com 09 Jan 08 - 08:07 AM
Roger the Skiffler 21 Jan 08 - 06:54 AM
GUEST,Frug 26 Jan 08 - 06:49 PM
GUEST,Rich 26 Jan 08 - 08:26 PM
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wee tommy 27 Jan 08 - 02:25 PM
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Murray MacLeod 31 Jan 08 - 03:04 PM
21st Century Bluesman 12 Feb 08 - 10:13 AM
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matt milton 12 Feb 08 - 11:28 AM
Gene Burton 12 Feb 08 - 07:02 PM
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PoppaGator 12 Feb 08 - 07:36 PM
stallion 12 Feb 08 - 07:37 PM
21st Century Bluesman 13 Feb 08 - 07:09 AM
stallion 13 Feb 08 - 01:48 PM
Cool Beans 13 Feb 08 - 04:58 PM
GUEST,Jeff 14 Feb 08 - 02:13 AM
Cool Beans 14 Feb 08 - 11:41 AM
Murray MacLeod 14 Feb 08 - 06:02 PM
GUEST,Jeff 14 Feb 08 - 07:22 PM
GUEST 09 Oct 08 - 08:55 PM
GUEST,toodamnwhite 21 Dec 08 - 01:44 AM
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GUEST,Gueat : Norman (can't log in) 21 Dec 08 - 07:37 AM
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GUEST,21st Century Bluesman 18 Jan 09 - 02:40 PM
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Barry Finn 21 Jan 09 - 03:59 PM
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NormanD 22 Jan 09 - 06:09 PM
Big Al Whittle 23 Jan 09 - 03:49 PM
Will Fly 23 Jan 09 - 04:01 PM
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Dave Roberts 23 Jan 09 - 06:13 PM
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Banjiman 24 Jan 09 - 06:29 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 24 Jan 09 - 11:24 AM
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Barry Finn 26 Jan 09 - 06:23 AM
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GUEST,Harry 27 Jan 09 - 07:17 AM
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matt milton 17 Feb 09 - 06:18 AM
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Subject: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 07:51 PM

Just been watching Jools Hollands' Hootenanny Show to carry us over midnight into the New Year. Jools usually has some very good acts, but he is not totally immune to being impressionable, so one of his choices set me thinking:

Seasick Steve, appearing for the second year running if I am not wrong, is a blues guitarist/singer, making a meal of bashing an old beaten-up guitar and a crate of something to kick as percussion. He is OK, in my view, but nothing special. And I get suspicious - is he just a bit of a nobody that Jools tracked down and managed to book for a couple of thousand bucks for his show, or is he the real thing, and I am just being unappreciative and a clod? Bobert and others outhc to be able to help sort me out on this.

So, how well known in the US is Seasick Steve, and what is the general opinion of him?


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: artbrooks
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 07:59 PM

As far as I know, his existence has never crossed my consciousness.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 08:24 PM

Seasick Steve and his 3-string guitar. I saw him on Jools Holland too and really enjoyed it. I think you have to take him as you find him. I just don't like the seasick bit in his name - but it does grab your attention.

I don't know about the US but tickets for the Astoria, London in January (this month - I'm in the UK!) sound as if they are selling well.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 08:32 PM

Seasick Steve on the Jools Holland New Year Show 2007

I have to agree with George, definitely not my cup of corn liquor.

I know comparisons are odious, but fer Chrissakes, listen to this man and then listen to Johnny Winter ...


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,jeff
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 11:21 PM

The man's got a right to make a living. He's no worse than Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Utah Phillips or any other of those 'so called' authentic American artists. Caricatures rather than characters. It's like Dick Van Dyke's 'cockney' accent in 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' He may have come by his accent and attitude legitimately, I don't know, but the 'let me tell you my story' routine has been done before and much better by lessor and greater known talents, George Thorogood being one. The Mississippi licence plate on his 'stomp box' was a nice touch, but can be obtained at any interstate(motorway for you ukers)truckstop. He's done his homework no doubt, but I get a sneakin' suspician there's a lot more sizzle than steak going on. Compare his performance to the eloquent Martin Simpson or K.T. Tunstell of a few weeks ago. You want it loud and crude? Dig up some old 'Hound Dog Taylor' LPs.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 01:24 AM

Never heard of him; wouldn't go to see him now that I have. But, I've been spoiled by some of what I consider the best including Mudcat's Boy Wonder, MAX, and several others. If Jools really wanted to hear some GREAT blues, he'd hang out here and listen to a few CDs from Mudcatters, esp. that Max. That kid is The Blues personified. Sometimes I can't tell the difference between him and a recording of Mississippi John Hurt. The kid is magic.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: The Villan
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 04:00 AM

Hootenanny I thought was very good. SS was to me very ordinary but effective for an audience that generally is pissed up to the hilt by that time (it is different).

Anyway Happy New Year to all Mudcatters.

Les Worrall


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 04:41 AM

My suspicions seem to be confirmed. I have no problem with SS trying to make a living, good luck to him, and he is better than many I have paid to see in the past. Last year I enjoyed him more, second year running the novelty had worn off.

My issue is with Jools or his producers who are supposed to be putting together a classy show (and many times it is classy indeed), but then for New Years Eve they are prepared to feed us mediocrity. And the fact that I was well into my malt by that time, Villan, should be no excuse; it didn't stop me noticing the difference.

It smacks of dumbing down; "wow, this guy is GOOD, we know because we tell you so, you dumbass viewers, so suck it up and praise me for being so avant-garde, because you're not likely to know any better".

Ah, well. It was a Victor Meldrew moment for me. It passed. Happy New Year to all!


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 04:48 AM

Did anyone notice Paul taking serious notice of Kylie?


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 04:57 AM

Kylie looks very good indeed, better now for my money than she did when younger. Sounds better too. And hats off to the lass for coming through her health problems and emerging even stronger and more mature.

But I didn't notice Paul's reaction, my eyes were drawn to his dyed hair and the clash with the rest of his face. I do wish he'd allow himself to age more gracefully.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 05:43 AM

I thought SS was pretty average as well-but different. Jools was excellent as usual as was Kate Nash- I even thought Sir Paul was better tban I expected. As for Kylie well she confirmed my suspicions that she looks wonderful, everyone loves her but she is completely talentless. Loved the Kaiser Chiefs and i ave absolutely no idea what or who Mika is and was what he was doing supposed to be singing? Have a great 2008 everyone!


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 06:25 AM

Jools is an idiot! Martin Simpson is one of the world's greatest slide guitarists, but Jools doesn't give him the air time to demonstrate that. Slide guitarists with the skills of Seasick Steve are ten a penny. It's time Jools resigned his commision!


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: NormanD
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 07:15 AM

Jools Holland is the presenter, not the commissioning editor who books the acts. Mark Cooper (I think that's his name) has his ear to the ground and, for most editions, has one non-mainstream performer - visiting World Music artists, non-pop folk players from the UK, etc. It's not much and it's not perfect but it's better than anything else being broadcast on TV.

Seasick Steve has a genuinely interesting biog and has been round the block a few times as a player over the years (including, would you believe, a stint as guitarist with The Beach Boys). He's worth looking up on the interweb for his CV. The joy of his music is its simplicity. It's all been done before, and probably by better performers, that I don't deny. The big difference is that he's around, right now, and some other genius like Hound Dog Taylor, isn't. No doubt there are also a load of Fat Possum label blues people who could knock him for six, but it's SSS who's getting the break rather than them. I'm not defending this, it's just the way showbiz works.

I'm glad that he's getting a high profile break, rather than some other over-hyped and over-played performers we see too much of as it is.

Norman


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: NormanD
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 07:19 AM

I forgot to add - SSS has lived in Scandinavia for a number of years, so it's most unlikely that he'll be known widely in the USA. He's probably been able to make a better living in Scandinavia where blues performers seem to be cherished more.

Norman


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: The Villan
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 07:21 AM

Have a chat with my daughters Linda. They will tell you who Mika is. I really like what he does. I really like his CD.

Les


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 08:32 AM

Les in Chorlton - yes, I did.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: The Villan
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 09:05 AM

And I did.
I said to my missus. Here comes the next one for Paul LOL


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: artbrooks
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 09:09 AM

Dean Reed comes to mind...


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 10:04 AM

Don't know anything about "Seasick Steve".   But "caricatures rather than characters".? Anybody who puts Utah Phillips in that category needs to do some research---and listen to Utah. Too bad we can't see him in concert these days.

But he is a giant talent, has written immortal songs, and is a true character, definitely not a caricature.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Mrs.Duck
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 11:00 AM

Linda, Mika has been my hero since he released a single claiming' Big Girls you are beautiful' lol


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 11:04 AM

oh -its a bloke then!


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,Jeff
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 01:17 PM

To Ron Davies:

Don't have to do the research. I'm aware of his many accolades and am familiar w/his catalog which is great. As a performer I found him a complete sham. You want 'character as opposed to caricature' check out Greg Brown, Dave Mackenzie, Tom Dundee(RIP),Thom Bishop, Dougie Maclean, Andy M. Stewart, Kate Wolf(RIP), Robbie O'Connell, etc.

Jeff Jones


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Fliss
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 04:07 PM

My daughter & son in law like Mika. They had his CD in the car while we were out for a day... and I survived. Thought on the high notes he sounded like Leo Sayer!!

Paul McCartney was always my fav Beetle. Hes worn well and I enjoyed his performance. So he dyes his hair.... so do a lot of other people and others wear rugs! (Hairpieces to those across the pond). I noticed his attention to Kylie.

Madness were great... all the old favourites.

Where was Robbie Coltrane? In the paper Telly page it said he was doing a Sinatra impersonation.

I enjoyed Seasick Steve... three strings good rhythm.

Kaiser Chiefs were very professional, good sound. Not as impressed with Kate Nash.

Lulu is a year older than me and has far more vitality... boo hoo, so does Ruby Turner.

I enjoyed the mix of styles. Nice end to 2007 and start to 2008.

fliss


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Mikefule
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 04:18 PM

I watched the programme and found it all a bit "flat". Seasick Steve struck me as the blues equivalent of what country and western people sometimes call a "hat act".

People like Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf were aspirational and dressed smartly to perform. Many white blues players do the opposite and dress as poor workmen. It is patronising. Seasick Steve looked like he was in "am dram" costume, and it jarred horribly.

But he was a good blues guitarist, if a little "busy" for my taste.

I thought it was "demonstration blues" for the masses: three minutes, an easy visual reference, a stereotype, and soon forgotten.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: artbrooks
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 07:11 PM

Truth to tell, I enjoy listening to Bruce Phillips when something of his comes on a station I'm tuned to, but I am somehow prevented from being as appreciative as I perhaps could be by my vivid memory of his promotion of himself as "U. Utah Phillips, the Golden Voice of the Golden West". (I was a student at U. Utah at the time.)


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: kendall
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 07:28 PM

I'd never heard of him until now, and checking the performance I just watched some of, I have to say I'm not surprised that I haven't heard of him.
Give me Utah Phillips any day, and not just because he is a friend.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 09:29 PM

Someone here above compared him to Jonathan Winters!   Is he really that off the wall? The guy must be pretty funny though!

Art


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 04:39 AM

Art. I suspect your tongue may be firmly in your cheek, but Jonathan Winters is not the same as Johnny Winter.

He's much fatter, for one thing ...


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Stu
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 05:01 AM

People do take all this rather seriously - Seasick Steve was good entertainment and who's to say his music is any more or less heartfelt or legitimate than anyone else's (including your own)?


Not liking it is one thing, but if it's played from the heart, so what? My problem is with the corporate music acts who have got where they are largely by marketing rather than their passion for music.

They record the Jools Holland New year Show (I can't be arsed to type Hootenanny) in early December, so Sir Paul and his amazing dyed barnet has plenty of time to sober up buy now.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: The Villan
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 06:14 AM

Seasick Steve


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 06:36 AM

According to an interview I read he was a 'hobo' from the age of 14 (late fifties) till the late sixties. Wound up as a record producer in the Pacific North West in the 90s. Dunno what he did in between.

I'm not sure it matters. A lot of entertainers either dress up or dress down to perform and I'm not sure that anyone should take someone else's stage costume as an insult to themselves or anyone else. I'm also not convinced that the question of authenticity is all that important either - I'm more interested in 'are they any good at what they do'?

Now, I'm no expert when it comes to the blues. I have a few CDs on Yazoo etc of ancient recordings, which are fantastic - but I know very little about the genre. So I couldn't tell you if Seasick Steve is technically good at what he does or not. What I will say though is that compared to most of the bland, tired, dreary music on Jools' new year show, to me - and the people I was with - Steve was like a breath of fresh air.

Having said that, I'm sure people in the US are in a totally different situation and, for them, performers like Steve - and better than him -are ten-a-penny.

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,Jim Clark aka vidlad at youtube
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 07:23 AM

Like so much on the mostly vacuous mediocre Jules Hollands shows i'm afraid SS is a classic case of "The kings new clothes" i'm sorry to say that impersonating a tramp with a beaten up 3 string guitar can get you a long way if you happen to have an American accent and a bit of gaul in Scandinavia,but it doesnt make you a bluesman i'm afraid.Giving this tuneless pretentious guitar thrasher airtime on national television when their is an an ocean of superb acoustic acts out there who would sell their mother to the gypsies to be given just one spot in their careers on primetime television is in this day and age where you can research a wealth of fine musical talent without leaving the house these days via youtube etc is either lazy,misguided,corrupt,or just plain incompetant. You only need to take a look at my vidlad channel at youtube to know that there are better acts than a pretender like SS to fill 10 minutes of television time with inbetween the trash rock served up on this abysmal show,alas most of his audience who no doubt think the X Factor is a talent show are never likely to notice the difference between pretence and talent.

Videolocaly yours

Jim Clark aka vidlad at youtube

acoustic musicians and poets living and reincarnated digitaly at youtube


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: matt milton
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 07:33 AM

I saw Seasick Steve live at the Green Man festival and also once live on his own. He has a nice sound - he does that kind of "one-bar-blues" thing, and it's properly ramshackle and crude and doesn't sound complacent like boring mainstream contemporary so-called bluesmen. But he gets a bit of an easy ride from critics and doesn't push himself. Too self-indulgent ? loads of his songs go on too long. He does have something though, and if he upped his game a bit he could probably make a great album... maybe if he worked with some challenging sidemen or something. I'd recommend pretty much anything on the Fat Possum label over a Seasick Steve album ? but then again, rather Steve than any of those boring bluesmen like Corey Harris or Alvin Youngblood Hart or Keb Mo or Otis Taylor. I'd rather hear Steve on Jools than the majority of the turgid, uncritical careerists Holland regularly champions.

"listen to a few CDs from Mudcatters, esp. that Max. That kid is The Blues personified"

Sounds intriguing. Who is Max?

And hey, don't knock Ramblin Jack Elliott: his last album is really surprisingly good. Like Johnny Cash, age seems to do his music a lifetime's worth of good.

Here are my recommendations for recent, contemporary blues:

Duke Garwood
www.myspace.com/dukegarwood
Mr O'Muck
www.myspace.com/mromuck
Serious Sam Barrett
www.myspace.com/sambarrett
Boycott Coca Cola Experience
www.myspace.com/bcce
The Fuji
www.gramophone-records.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: ranger1
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 08:16 AM

Max is the guy who started Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,GUEST 21st Century Bluesman
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 08:54 AM

In response to Jim Clark's bilious, ill-informed and borderline paranoid, rant.

"impersonating a tramp with a beaten up 3 string guitar can get you a long way if you happen to have an American accent and a bit of gaul in Scandinavia,"

Erm, please do a wee bit of research. Seasick Steve was a tramp for many years.

"this tuneless pretentious guitar thrasher"

Tuneless? You really can't having watching the same clip.

"ocean of superb acoustic acts"

Please point to them specifically. I found George Hutchinson. Fairly competent, but horribly uncharismatic. And Bottleneck Bill. Again OK, but dreary, and actually not tuned correctly. Ironic, given your comment above.

"corrupt".

What? You reckon Seasick or his tiny independent record label paid to be on the Hootenanny?! I've seen Steve several times over the last two or three years and he has always put on a magnificent, engaging show. He also can play very subtly, something which hasn't been shown off on Jools or many of the Youtube videos of him. Try searching 'walking man' on Youtube. Or listen to Salem Blues, Shirly Lou, or I'm Gone from Dog House Music.

In fact I'd advise quite a few of the people who've dismissed Steve peremptorily on this thread to actually attend a gig and listen to his albums before sounding off. I really wish I could find slide-players at "ten-a-penny" who are as good as Steve, I really do. I go to lots of gigs and listen to lots and lots of blues music out there. There aren't that many, and when I do find them, technical ability is just about all they've got.

I agree with Matt Milton about Duke Garwood (someone Steve has had support him on several occasions) and The Fuji. Will check out those others.

By the way Jim, your videos are out of synch, and are not very well-executed anyway. It all seems a rather dry and slightly pointless exercise, though it did seem interesting in concept at first.

And yes Jim, aren't the plebs who are buying Steve's records in their thousands silly and inferior. You want to preserve the blues as a museum piece it seems to me, not a living breathing entity. At the very least you ought to be thankful that Steve (just like The White Stripes, who I suspect you don't rate - correct me if I'm wrong) is introducing youngsters to the likes of Son House, Mississippi Fred McDowell and Charley Patton.

I held off submitting this until I saw Mr Clark's contribution, but the earlier comments from people who'd obviously made no attempt to look up Steve's background or his music (other than his Jools appearance) really wound me up too.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 09:28 AM

21st Century Bluesman.

Good, passionate post there. Nice corrective to the rather bitter rant from Mr Clarke.

Just to clarify - my comment about being sure performers like Steve were ten-a-penny in the States was laced with an irony that it seems didn't work on the page. Having said that, when its waking up time in the USA someone may post a list of fantastic stuff for us to check out. I'm tempted by the 'Fat Possum' stuff Matt talks about, though I'm jealous that he got to attend the Green Man Festival whilst I had to waste my ticket.

I enjoyed Steve's performance and will try to get to see him live next time he's in Manchester. Makes a nice occasional change from the trad(dish) folk I usually listen to...

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,21st Century Bluesman
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 09:44 AM

It was Tunesmith's 'ten-a-penny' remark I was reacting to, Nigel, not yours! Thanks for your comments. Some Fat Possum stuff is great, others not so. To paraphrase Mr Milton "the critics are bit easy on them"... Steve is better than a lot of it in my opinion; though the George Mitchell collection issues on FP are often very good, especially RL Burnside's early acoustic album.

In response, to Matt Milton's recommendations - I like some of Boycott Coca Cola, the other two I hadn't heard are good, but are too 'copyist' for me. Matt, you might like (and some others here might too!)

myspace.com/thebobmeyer
myspace.com/markarend


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 10:02 AM

I liked him.

There a nice irony to the fact that people are getting into a high dudgeon about SSS's credibility and authenticity at the same time that there's an active thread about the ol' Comissioner of the Folk Police himself, Ewan MacColl, and the veracity of some of his claims about his life and history...

Re-invention as part of the folk process: discuss.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: john f weldon
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 10:25 AM

Whooeee, it's too easy for to take things too seriously around here.
I'd never seen this guy before. Corny but fun. I did enjoy the guitar style.
Somehow made me think of a guy I saw many times in the 60s and then saw live a couple of years ago, Spider John Koerner. Probably still going strong.
Big boots, big voice, uncomplicated but ideosyncratic guitar style, and great audience rapport.
And undeniably lots of fun.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Giant Folk Eyeball (inactive)
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 10:51 AM

And to follow up John FW's post:

SPIDER JOHN KOERNER Official Website

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 10:53 AM

There's another SSS performance on the Jools Holland/Later website which was obviously filmed in a different part of BBC TV Centre. Might give some doubters food for thought, or it might entrench opinions the other way. De gustibus non est disputandum, as the jolly old Romans used to say.

Go to bbc.co.uk/later and click on the small photo of Steve.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: The Villan
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 11:07 AM

Yep I liked that song


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: matt milton
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 11:23 AM

Ah yes I'd heard Bob Meyer before. Been meaning to get in touch with him actually, cos he's a South Londoner and I'm trying to organise some local gigs...

Couple more for you:

www.myspace.com/lennymolotov
www.myspace.com/davidbroad


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 11:36 AM

I fel sure someone on the Mudcat alerted me to SS, but it may have been a CD Baby recommendation. Anyhow, I bought his CD a year or more ago and enjoy it. I haven't seen him on tv. Of course, I have a taste for the primitive in blues/folk.

RtS
(but what do I know!)


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Mikefule
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 01:24 PM

I reread this thread and went and checked some Seasick Steve videos on YouTube. There's some great music on You Tube if you make the effort to find it. There are also several Seasick Steve videos.

Setting aside the question of "authenticity" and just listening to the music on its merits... well, if I want raw back to basics guitar and simple percussion, the White Stripes will do it better. If I want simplicity, driving rhythm and excitement, then Muddy Waters, or Bo Diddley will do it better. If I want a rabble rousing entertainer, Chuck Berry. If I want quality modern electric blues (not a fair comparison) then there are people like Gary Moore. Seasick Steve just rang none of my bells at all. He comes across to me as a caricature of a bluesman, certainly not an archetype.

Or, another comparison, perhaps: Sid Vicious playing Eddie Cochran songs. Frantic, exciting: it grabs you by the throat in a way that Eddie Cochran doesn't... but after about 2 tracks you realise that although the king may not actually be stark b*ll*ck naked, he is seriously underdressed for the occasion.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 01:46 PM

I'm in the US, reasonably up-to-date on blues in general, and this is the first I've heard of Seasick Steve.

There have always been and still are plenty of players, amateur and pro, who can do a credible job playing the most basic kinds of blues music in a "primitive" style. How "good" a given performer might actually be is generally moot ~ it's simply a question of whether you enjoy and/or are impressed by the performer's personality, which always comes through any musical performance, and especially so when said performance is so very simple and unadorned that there is very little to hear and to notice except the human feeling embodied in the artist's delivery.

Of course, the critical question is how many listeners come away with a strong positive impression. Performers capable of eliciting a good response from most of their listeners stand a decent chance of making a mark ~ and, with luck, maybe even a living ~ with their music.

Since I'm at work, with no speakers, I haven't witnessed any of the performances submitted to this discussion by Steve's admirers. I have a strong hunch that my reaction would very likely be "Nice enough, but I could do the same or better."

I very strongly suspect that Steve's greatest talent lay not in his musicianship but in a rare knack for self-promotion. I have no doubt that he's "got something," but so do countless others of us, stuck slaving away at boring day jobs and singing the blues only because we just plain can't not do it.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: katlaughing
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 02:10 PM

Trust me, Poppagator, I've listened to him and YES, you can do better, lots better, as can Max - the Wonderkid, dwditty and several other Mudcatters.

I am sorry I cannot link to any files of Max at the moment. He founded Mudcat and keeps it running. He used to do a weekly Mudcat radio show with video and many of us loved hearing him sing and play the blues. It wouldn't hurt to let him know you'd like to hear him, again, if you feel so inclined. I know they can't do the radio show, but he has some sound files that'd go really well on a CD, imo.:-)


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 02:21 PM

Mudcat's founder, Max, can be heard in a couple of combinations at the following links:-

WoodPussy & WhistlePig
The Kazoo and Tambourine Repair Company

Quack!
Geoff the Duck.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 02:31 PM

And here :-
http://other99.com/

Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: katlaughing
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 02:50 PM

Ah! Thanks, Geoff, my head must've been off somewhere else!


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST, 21st Century Bluesman
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 03:11 PM

Well, we're just gonna have to agree to disagree. In response to Mikefule - Gary Moore, and ilk, are, to my mind, one of the reasons why the blues became a musical pariah. All that'Going down to Louisiana, crap' when he's from Belfast. For me, he's a bull in a china shop with dreadful tone, and it surprises me especially that you can call Steve "busy" and then adduce Moore as a good quality modern bluesman... dear old Gazza scratches around nineteen to the dozen. I could write more, especially about some of the idiotic statements made concerning 'authenticity' here, but I'll let it lie. Go to bluesinlondon.com and read their interview with Steve before his current fame, and that might help explain some things.

Max is technically good and pleasant to listen to, but the oomph just isn't quite there for me - it's all a bit reverential - and his voice (or whoever's singing) is just not in the same league as Steve's. Would like to hear Poppagator if anyone's got a link.

By Poppagator's yardstick Steve has made a 'strong positive impression' on literally tens of thousands of people in the last year or so. Make of that what you will: - people are gullible or Steve's 'got something', or a mixture of the two.

For me Steve's got something in spades...

Happy New Year.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Greg B
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 03:19 PM

Seems to me that he'll appeal to the same crowd that enjoys
ZZ Top. Which includes meself, in limited doses.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 03:27 PM

"Trust me, Poppagator, I've listened to him and YES, you can do better, lots better..."

Gee whiz, Kat, thanks for the vote of confidence, but I'm pretty sure you've never actually caught my act!

Well, I suppose you may have drawn your own conclusions based on the implicit endoresement I recently received from our mutual acquaintance Spencer Bohren, when he invited me to join him (along with about 20 other "guest artists") at his annual sold-out Christmas show. I'm very glad to report that our little two-song duet performance was an absolute success. Since my frozen-in-time 1968-72 repertoire is about half Mississippi John Hurt songs and the other half Dylan covers, we did one of each: an MJH medley (what I call the "Ain't" medley ~ Ain't Nobody's Business and Ain't No Tellin') followed by When I Paint My Masterpiece. It was a rare and very pleasant experience to occupy the spotlight, so to speak, singing solo before such a large and discerning audience with the support of a really terrific intrumental accompanyist.

Incidentally, I'm sure you could add Bobert to the list of blues-playing Mudcatters who'd compare favorably to Seasick Steve, or for that matter pretty much anyone. He's one of the very few 'catters I've met in person and with whom I've swapped songs, and he is indeed the real deal.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: M.Ted
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 08:01 PM

If Seasick Steve was big in the US, he would be in the US.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Mikefule
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 02:36 AM

<>

I did say it wasn't a fair comparison. I just chose Gary Moore as one of countless examples of people who can play blues based music in a modern style. I'm not particularly a fan (I have only one Gary Moore album) but he does what he does well.

He sings about Louisiana when he's from Belfast - unforgivable! I for one would never sing a sea shanty, what with me being a clerical worker, and I certainly wouldn't dance the traditional dances of Oxfordshire when I live in Nottinghamshire. Whatever next: folkies in the early 21st century singing songs about the Napoleonic war?


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 03:15 AM

I just checked out a couple of those Seasick Steve videos and ~ I like him! I think that he's an exceptional blues vocalist, especially for a white guy, and a pretty serious student of the John Lee Hooker school of hypnotic boogie.

Sure, he's a minimalist ~ but that's a really deep groove he lays down, and it's no easy task to command so much attention with so little technique (and so few strings). He is putting a lot of personality and emotional content into play without the distraction of any musical frills ~ almost like storytelling (regardless of whether you are clearly hearing any of the lyrics). If this kind of artistry isn't "folk," I wouldn't know what is.

I find his sound to be less monotonous than, say, Johnny Winters', despite Mr. Winters' far greater technical virtuosity. Steve's performance includes a lot of variety in tone and intensity, whereas Johnny is pretty much full-bore high-energy at a constant high pitch, which (to me) gets old fast.

That's just my opinion, of course, and some of you are going to think I'm nuts, maybe even think less of me, but there it is. I am certainly well aware that not everyone understands the blues; hell, none of us understand anything in exactly the same manner as another. If you don't dig John Lee Hooker or Otis Taylor, you certainly won't "get" this guy, either.

Caveat: I enjoy this music, but can't imagine it as a steady diet, not as a listener and certainly not as a player. I play almost exclusively to amuse myself, and to stay amused, I require a much wider variety of riffs and sounds. Playing basic slide guitar on six strings can get too boring for me to keep at it long enough to ever get that good; I'm much happier listening to myself run through chord changes and learning to play tricky little figures here and there. But I certainly enjoy a much wider variety of music than what I play ~ including the deeply simple kind of rauncy blues/rock that this fellow does pretty dang well.

The gimmickry (Mississippi license plate on the kick-box, the three-string deal) is irrelevant to the music, but I suspect that it's the key to Steve's success. Gives the entertainment-biz "suits" a mnemnomic way to keep him in mind, and something for them to talk about and agree upon. More power to him!


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Betsy
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 04:14 AM

Dipstick Steve would be more appropriate - I've seen hundreds over the years like him - they even give bona fide buskers a bad name .


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: matt milton
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 05:45 AM

"He sings about Louisiana when he's from Belfast - unforgivable! I for one would never sing a sea shanty, what with me being a clerical worker, and I certainly wouldn't dance the traditional dances of Oxfordshire when I live in Nottinghamshire. Whatever next: folkies in the early 21st century singing songs about the Napoleonic war?"

Those aren't good analogies. The point is not that Gary Moore is singing songs from an entirely different place and culture, it's that he's doing so in an accent and timbre that is a caricature (the oaken "honky bellow" that so many white people adopt when singing the blues ? you wonder quite who they think they sound like. As if all black men had James Earl Jones baritones and smoked 50 a day...) The equivalent would be an Englishman singing Oh Danny Boy in a thick Oirish accent, or calypso in a cod-West Indian one. Ugh. It's not what he's doing, it's how he's doing it.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,21st Century Bluesman
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 05:55 AM

Dipstick Steve! I see what you did there... Hilarious...

And again with the countless millions of blues-players that folks on this list have seen who are better than Steve. Names and web-links please! Beyond Max, who I did like, I haven't had any names other than some international superstars I wouldn't disagree with, and some ridiculously inappropriate and very well-known figures such as Gary 'Clunkhand' Moore, George Thorogood (a storyteller I'm told - funny, I always thought he was a good bar-room slide guitarist who plays an awful lot of covers) and Johnny Winter.

Betsy, you are either very knowledgeable in the field and very lucky too; or are exaggerating wildly to make an unsubstantiated and barely believeable point. I know which one my money's on.

Thanks to Poppagator for his, I reckon, pretty accurate summation of Steve's qualities. Though, again I stress, there are subtleties and a variety to his playing you won't get on a first look and listen. Did you see his diddley bo work? Search that on Youtube if you get a chance.

Mikefule, I need to answer your points separately in a longer post which I don't have time for at the mo'. Suffice to say in the interim, if Gary Moore isn't a fair comparison, why bring him up?


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST, 21st Century Bluesman
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 05:57 AM

Actually, while I was writing my last post Matt M has made at least one of the points I was going to make in response to Mikefule... There are others though!


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,Jonny Sunshine
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 06:11 AM

I quite enjoyed Seasick Steve, I'd heard of him before (think he was touring the UK not so long ago). Though as far as I could tell he had 6 strings on his guitar that night, and that's the sort of thing I'd notice..

Is he authentic? (whatever that means) Do I care? You don't get on Jools Holland because you're "authentic", you get on Jools Holland because you reach a certain level of profile, you fit the brief, and your management hassles the producers.

If you want to knock anyone who was on the Hootennany show for being over-rated and under-talented I think the most deserving targets would be Kate Nash (Lily Allen without the tunes) and Mika, who looks like a model from a home shopping catalogue who's picked up a microphone by mistake.

My personal highlight was seeing Sir Paul accompanying Kylie Minogue on the mandolin.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: matt milton
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 07:08 AM

Actually, just having had a quick listen to SS's myspace page for a reminder (it was a fair old while ago that I saw him live), it's pretty damn good music. There's a lot of detail in that playing ? I'm not sure what anyone's referring to in talking about "limited technique" etc. Some of the claims and comparisons being made here simply aren't convincing in any degree.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 07:10 AM

Yup, Steve played six-string on this number for the Hootenanny - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtY8wED_FMA. He plays six-string far more often than 3-string, which he started playing a couple of years ago as a joke to josh a friend he bought it off. It only had 3 strings on it when he bought it, his friend over-charged him and Steve vowed never to add another string and to tell audiences who ripped him off...

To prove that Steve's not all noise and grunge, he was featured on Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie's Best Sessions of 2007 programme on BBC Radio 2 last night. You can listen to this gentle acoustic song at:-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/mainframe.shtml?http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/radio2_aod.shtml?radio2/r2_radmac_wed

it starts at about 18 minutes into the prog if you want to fast forward to it.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Grab
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 07:32 AM

SS certainly got a good groove. Not something you'd put on your stereo at home, but fun party music. As they say, it's got a beat and you can dance to it...

But Jonny S, Mika undertalented?! Didn't see his performance on Hootenanny, but check out some of his other performances on YouTube and you might change your mind. Mika and Scissor Sisters are the only people doing pop that's as lyrically and musically interesting as Queen used to put out. (If you didn't like Queen though, this might be where things fall apart. :-) I'd agree on Kate Nash though.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Mikefule
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 11:16 AM

<>

I thought we were having a general conversation, not a formal debate. Sorry. I'll think more carefully and avoid making comments that aren't absolutely relevant again.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 12:05 PM

Spent New Years's Day at the Station, Loftus, Saltburn-on-Sea for the acoustic "Hiring Fair" set up by Tony Leonard. Between performances someone said "beats the **** out of Jools Holland's show last night" - including the scintillating mandolin playing of Sir Paul and the stunning vocals from Kyle.......... Ahemmm...pardon me while I burp..

The Station had some great talent on show for free (better than that - included great free food from the Landlord n' lady) - inc Dargan & Gill; Ian Swinburne; Ruth & Gary Wells: Maggie Camp; Alchemist Brothers (aka Fairly Liquid); Mar'tin Nesbitt and Roger Sutcliffe etc

Now I quite enjoyed 'Seasick Steve' but have to agree with '12 string George'. For real talent with the slide guitar we were treated on Tuesday to Roger Sutcliffe + resonator. Folks really should get out more.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 12:10 PM

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=pNoPNC3ebYQ


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 01:00 PM

Mikefule said

"I thought we were having a general conversation, not a formal debate. Sorry. I'll think more carefully and avoid making comments that aren't absolutely relevant again."

Erm. I just don't get this? Are you saying you were making sloppy, irrelevant remarks because you thought it was a general conversation? Why not up it to a 'formal debate' then, and see if you can make some decent points, eh?

You know nothing about Steve's background and yet making sweeping, and I have to say quarter-baked, judgments about his authenticity. Make straw-man comments about Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry being better than him. Yup, no quibbles. Vaguely talk about 'countless examples' on the scene who are as good as, or superior Steve and then give me Gary Moore, and more straw-man crap about sea-shanties. And now you throw a little rhetorical huff. Pur-lease...


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 01:46 PM

Picked up on something w-a-a-a-a-y back in this thread:-

"I do wish he'd allow himself to age more gracefully."

What, you mean like us, George? I'm so-o-o-o-o glad we both do something better than Macca! Just wish I could have had the malt on New Year's Eve! :-)

All the best for the New Year mate,
John


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 02:17 PM

Hi John - thanks, same to you too!
Yes, I meant "why doesn't he let himself go like all self-respective 50- or 60-somethings"!

I obviously unleashed something with this thread. Interesting posts from many, as indeed I was hoping, given the blues background of the Cat.

And I'm learning. Clearly, gimmicks are a good thing - SSS is praised for using them - so that gives me an idea. Perhaps the Greek pleated skirt and bobble shoes for my next gig! But I don't like the white tights, they make me appear fat (clearly just an optical illusion).


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Effsee
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 03:10 PM

I think the old Demis Roussos kaftan "look" might suit you better George!


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 03:31 PM

8-)


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 07:49 AM

.........& now the one & only http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=rsJtqc7jaPM !!


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: M.Ted
Date: 04 Jan 08 - 08:09 AM

I haven't been able to get any of the youtube bits to work, unfortunately. If PG likes him, though, that's a good sign. And my sympathies are always going to be with the blues musician, especially a homeboy--


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: NormanD
Date: 05 Jan 08 - 08:53 AM

In today's The Guardian UK newspaper, there's a feature by Seasick Steve on living in Oslo, which is now his home town
Read it here


Thanks for all the links to other current blues players.

Norman


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Santa
Date: 05 Jan 08 - 11:28 AM

I came to this thread after reading his piece in the Guardian. I thought it was so hokey as to be unbelieveable.   Nothing wrong with that attitude as a Guardian columnist, but as a "for real" musician? Not impressed.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 05 Jan 08 - 02:49 PM

Personally I find Mr. Seasick sings with a lot of soul, which is about nine tenths of the battle, isn't it?


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,21st Century Bluesman
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 03:24 PM

Please explain what you mean, Santa? I thought it was a rather charming and informative piece.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST, 21st Century Bluesman
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 08:47 AM

Steve is in session with and being interviewed by Colin Murray on BBC Radio 1 tonight. Tune in!


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,d at seasicksteve.com
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 08:07 AM

Hi there!
I stumbled across this page by accident and thought I'd clear up a few things. I'll leave my personal opinions out of it, but I have a unique position with regards to the *facts* about Steve.

Responses to questions/criticisms/scepticisms:

Those clothes are what Steve wears all the time, and pretty much has as long as I've known him. Long before he was well known in any way, or even playing live performances or anything.

The three string guitar, as mentioned by somebody else, started as a joke and kind of snowballed from there. People love it, and it has a great sound, so he wrote some songs for it. He doesn't much like playing it (hurts!) but people get disapointed at the gigs if he doesn't.

The mississippi drum machine came into existence because Steve has habit of stomping his foot *really* hard while he plays, just to keep the beat. Now I'm just talking about around the house, playing for fun. I remember visiting him sometimes and you'd actually hear the whole house shaking, windows rattling, etc, from outside. So when he recorded Doghous Music, in the kitchen, he wanted a way to record the stomp sound, which resulted in putting a mic in a wooden box, bit o' carpet, license plate from a Harley he used to have for decoration.

The stories are true.

Most of the hobo stuff happened a long time ago. 60's etc. 70's he was in a number of bands, including Shanti, as well as playing as a studio musician, writing songs for some other singers/bands, and generally doing the 'starving artist' thing, playing on the streets in Paris, etc etc. 80's, met norwegian wife, moved all over the states doing music stuff, having a family, working as a paramedic, amongst other things, ran a guitar store, then started Moon Music recording studio in Olympia, WA (http://moon.deified.net/). After that (2001) wife wanted to move back to Norway. Started Juke Joint Studios (http://www.jukejointstudio.com/takeatour.htm) and had a heart attack. After that stopped work at the studio, and focussed on the music again, making an album with some friends (the level devils) and just releasing it cheap in Scandinavia, with limited success. I believe it was Joe Cushley (radio dj in London, resonance fm) got a hold of one of the cds and lined up a few small gigs, at the 12 bar club, etc, people just freaked out. The album is one thing, not to everybody's tastes, but people just LOVE the live shows, it's astonishing. After that, randomly got asked to do a track on Jools Holland, then played nearly every festival in the UK last summer, and the rest you know.

He is totally authentic, though there is more to him than JUST the 'hobo' thing. I'm an illustrator, so when I write my CV, I don't put down the other random jobs I've had, I focus on the relevant things. That's what anybody would do. So Steve chooses to write songs about, and focus on a period in his life that is relevant. I think that's fair.

I understand that some people may be bitter, or think him undeserving of the limited success he's now had (after 40 years as a professional musician, mind you) but please understand that he has worked extremely hard for this, and has managed some form of success *without* compromising himself in any way. He's honest, authentic, and plays because it's what he loves. He's always played, and always will, whether the success lasts or not.

If you can't respect that then your respect isn't worth a damn anyways...


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 06:54 AM

If you DO like SS you'll also enjoy Rev Payton's Big Damn Band (trio of steel guitar, washboard & bass drum).

RtS


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,Frug
Date: 26 Jan 08 - 06:49 PM

Well seeing all these comments and having the opportunity for a freebie!! went to Seasick this evening at Birmingham Academy. Great show The man has charisma. Sure he's not the greatest guitarist but he's as good as a lot and overall competent. He does have great stage presence which probably only comes over live. he went down a storm to a packed house of nearly 3000....................let the people speak !!

Frank


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,Rich
Date: 26 Jan 08 - 08:26 PM

Sorry about this George, not wanting to be negative, but you got me thinking. When I look at your original question, I find myself in a bit of a quandry. What does any of what your asking matter. You have a doubt as to whether you think the guy is any good, but then want to know whether he is big in the states. Whether he is or not should be irrelevant, if you are coming to him cold, just decide whether you like him or not, don't worry about whether a load of other people do or don't. If you think he's not so good, then what difference does it make if a load of people do, that's your opinion and that's cool.

Decide for yourself whether he is the real thing or not, and stick with your own decision, whatever anybody else thinks.

Sorry George, I hope this doesn't sound negative or harsh, I just don't think what anybody else thinks matters when you are deciding whether someone is the real thing or not.

Cheers, Rich.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 26 Jan 08 - 09:52 PM

Rich,

what you say is perfectly proper and I agree. I did enjoy SSS very much the first time I saw him, though the novelty had worn off a bit a year later. My query was not in order to help me make up my mind about SSS, but rather to help me understand the motivation of Jools Holland in having him on for the second time, and the truthfulness of his (JH) adulation.

I have no problem with SSS. I see him as a solid performer with perhaps a bit too much emphasis on the novelty aspects; anyone who entertains a theatre of 3,000 people can't be all that bad after all. But I couldn't see him cutting it back home - and JH's claims were therefore somewhat suspect. SSS came out shining out of this discussion - JH did not, IMHO.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,Rich
Date: 27 Jan 08 - 04:48 AM

Fair play George, I think I understand now what you were getting at.

Cheers,
Rich


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 27 Jan 08 - 06:24 AM

Oh, goody, now you can explain it to me! :-) Seriously though, and I know I have not explained myself 100% clearly, I think this is to do with my hating being "talked down to" by the media generally. Even BBC News is dumbed down ridiculously nowadays. And when TV presenters tell me that I should like something because they know best, I get into my Victor Meldrew mode, as Vanessa calls it.

I don't think much of JH as a musician, but for years I have grudgingly accepted that he does put on his show some very good and eclectic acts, both new and from the past. His is one of the few programmes I know on UK's TV that somehow tries to be mature and does not resort to Pop Idol or X Factor-type tricks to whip up an audience's frenzy or promote unthinking adoration of the latest musical celebrity. I guess I am more demanding of JH's programme than of the rest of the trash they serve us, and more critical because of it too. His intro to the second appearance of SSS(which I now sadly don't remember) riled me therefore, and I wanted to get to the bottom of it.

I am pleased that I unwittingly unleashed an opportunity for some excellent and informative posts. It's been a good thread to monitor.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,Rich
Date: 27 Jan 08 - 06:59 AM

Hi George, yes I think you are right, we do become more demanding of the things we know are usually very good. I always wondered why not much fuss was made of Bob Dylan's 'John Wesley Harding'; which I think is a cracking little album. However, if you consider that before that album he had released 'Bringing it all Back Home', 'Highway 61 Revisited' and 'Blonde on Blonde' in quick succession, maybe people's expectations meant they jusdged the album against the standard of the previous three, as opposed to on its own merits.

We have a young family and have therefore stayed in over the last few new years eve's and watched JH's Hootenanny, and have always been impressed with the line up. I wasn't very impressed with this year's I have to admit, although SSS was a welcome relief after the debacle that was Paul McCartney and Kylie doing 'Dance Tonight'.

Always good to have some thought provoking discussion, nice one.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: wee tommy
Date: 27 Jan 08 - 02:25 PM

,hi rich totally agree.what was p.mc.thinking,do you think macca can outdo all the good he has achieved?


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,Rich
Date: 28 Jan 08 - 11:11 AM

Hi Tommy,

I don't know, maybe, to be honest I didn't think much of his other (solo) performance that night either - Got to get you into my life - couldn't seem to hit anything. The Kylie thing was an odd one, their voices just didn't work together at all.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: wee tommy
Date: 28 Jan 08 - 04:37 PM

hi rich,methinks there is more to s.s than the tramp chic he peddles at the moment,is he for real?


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 28 Jan 08 - 05:26 PM

OK, let's get back to what I understand to be the original point of the thread.

you have a prime time TV slot available, guaranteed viewing figures of millions, who do you book for the show ?

do you book somebody who is available and cheap, or do you try to book the best?

I hold no animosity whatsoever to Seasick Steve, he has carved himself a niche and good luck to him, but fer Chrissakes, he is fourth
rate as a blues performer, he knows it, and anybody who really knows the blues knows it.

so what happens next New Year ?

is there the remotest chance that Jools Holland's producers could spring for Paul Geremiah's airfare, so that the British public could have a chance to hear what authentic blues sounds like ?

or maybe even Johnny Winter's ...


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: NormanD
Date: 29 Jan 08 - 07:03 AM

Thanks for the intro to Paul Geremia (without an "H" at the end, if you google). I liked and enjoyed the clips I saw. But I really don't see the point in claiming that he has an "authentic blues sound" which is more of an "authentic blues sound" than someone like SSS.

SSS is SSS and Paul Geremia is Paul Geremia. They are both authentic, in their own way and their own styles. One is not first rate, one is not fourth rate. They are both good musicians and may not, for all I know, have even heard of each other. We're dissing one at the expense of the other - I bet these two guys would be more than happy making great music together.

I guess the resentment around these parts is that one is getting some recognition and the other isn't. OK, that's not fair, but that's entertainment.

As I said above, I'm sure there are some Fat Possum players who could knock the spots off of both SSS and Paul Geremia. They're not getting the breaks either.

norman


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 29 Jan 08 - 01:56 PM

I stand by my opinion that Steve is a solid, expressive, and thoroughly "authentic" blues vocalist, and that his instrumental skills, while deceptively simple, enable him to incorporate a lot of tonal variation.

I find his performances to be much more interesting ~ less monotonous ~ that that of many better-known and highly-regarded blues/rock types, inlcuding a few performers others here have cited as superior to Steve. Just my opinion, and not naming names...

Would he have been as successful if he had never left the US? Maybe not.

Here in the states, there is a lot more competition, and simply being white is probably a greater hurdle to overcome here than it is in Europe ~ at least, for a "roots/folk" blues type as opposed to an out-and-out rocker.

By taking his act on the road, so to speak, he put himself in a position where he'd be much less likely to be lost in the shuffle, and perhaps he was able to grow and develop further than he otherwised would have had occasion to do.

I'm sure that many members of the general public (folks who'd never participate in our forum here) enjoyed Steve's first New Year's Eve TV performance, and some of them must have responded to the program's producers. I doubt that he would have been invited back for a second year in a row had there not been some kind of positive reponse. Unless, of course, he made such a big hit with the producers and/or the on-air host that he was brought back on the strength of their opinion alone, without the additional support of public opinion.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,Mick "the one and only"
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 09:37 AM

Hello ALL,
I went to see Seasick Steve at the Newcastle Academy lastnight with a bunch of mates. We are all lovers of lots of different kinds of music. I have been in the music business 25 years (professionally too) The guy loved Seasick Steve and I just got pissed off as the guy can't play in time and was really really sloppy. I had to leave, even the doorman were amazed! Not as much as me I hoped he'd be great. But I being a musician I can play in time and hold a groove, lastnight even his drummer was having to speed up with him. It freaked me out. Stevie Ray Vaughan is turning in his early grave!!
Sorry but Seasick Steve is very overated!!!


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 31 Jan 08 - 03:04 PM

Excuse me Norman, but there are no acoustic blues players on the planet who could "knock spots off" Paul Geremia.

The clips you may have seen on Youtube do not do justice to the man's virtuosity.

The first time I saw (or even heard of) Paul Geremia was at Cambridge Folk Festival, at the Guitar Workshop, where he more than held his own on stage with such luminaries as Dave Bromberg, Dick Fegy, Stefan Grossman, and the late and much lamented Isaac Guillory. Trust me , these guitar workshops in the 70's were cutting contests of the highest order, and Geremia came out on top every time.

Since then I have seen him several times in concert in the States, and he has never ceased to amaze me.

I reiterate my statement that a first-rate (sic) player like Geremia is far more deserving of a prime time New Year audience than a well intentioned fourth-rate (sic) performer like SS.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: 21st Century Bluesman
Date: 12 Feb 08 - 10:13 AM

Well, Paul Geremia is a very good player, but rather uncharismatic to my mind, and Steve's voice is a lot better than his. Calling Steve fourth-rate is both rude and ignorant.

And talking of missing the point, Mick 'the one and only'... Steve is one of the very 'grooviest' players I've ever heard. He does make a lot of deliberate use of accelerandos. Perhaps that's what you're hearing Mick. Or perhaps you haven't been paying attention during those 25 years. Some of them professional...


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: 21st Century Bluesman
Date: 12 Feb 08 - 10:29 AM

I forgot to comment on this tripe. Murray, how you can begin to make statements like this one below and hope to be taken seriously I really don't know...

"I hold no animosity whatsoever to Seasick Steve, he has carved himself a niche and good luck to him, but fer Chrissakes, he is fourth
rate as a blues performer, he knows it, and anybody who really knows the blues knows it".


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: matt milton
Date: 12 Feb 08 - 11:28 AM

Reckon a lot of this discussion comes down to a very real schism: some listeners value certain things about blues that others consider mistakes. For me, it's all about dissonance and grit and liberties taken with notes and guitars that sound slightly out of tune. (Maybe not every single one of those with every singles blues musician I like...)

So I've got no time for Eric Clapton or Stevie Ray Vaughn. You can call them what you like, but I can't detect anything bar a formality of genre that they have with, say, Sleepy John Estes or Robert Johnson or Mississippi Fred MacDowell (to name three of my favourite blues musicians). Come to think of it, you could lay all the accusations laid at Seasick Steve here at Sleepy John Estes. A lot of the criticisms made here about Seasick Steve are precisely why I like him and why he is blues.

Thanks for the heads up on Paul Geremia. I'd never heard of him before. But y'know, it's not an either/or... I'd be happy to watch him on Jools Holland. Or Robert Belfour. Or CeDell Davis (is CeDell Davis still alive?)


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Gene Burton
Date: 12 Feb 08 - 07:02 PM

Hmmm, interesting...


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Gene Burton
Date: 12 Feb 08 - 07:03 PM

...100!


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 12 Feb 08 - 07:36 PM

I certainly agree with matt milton about that "schism."

Without naming names, there are guitar players who are absolute virtuosos at every variety of fingerpicking, including the most impressive of ragtime and blues selections ~ but who can't sing a lick, not with any blues feeling or soul, anyway. I may very well admire such an artist and enjoy most if not all of his work, but I would not consider him a "blues artist."

The worst offenders, to my mind, are the guys who slavishly duplicate every lick of a given "classic blues" recording, including the original artist's occasional dropping of a beat or two ~ something not all that unusual in the blues.

It's relatively important to be able to free oneself from a too-rigid adherence to four-beats-per-measure/twelve-measures-per-verse ~ it's taken me decades to even begin to play with the freedom of someone like, say, Sleepy John. But the goal is to develop that freedom ~ not to lock oneself into playing the same three-beat measure in the same place in the same chorus of the same song, every time. It's only the blues if it's a little different every time around.

My impression of Seasick Steve, based on just those very few video clips, is that he is the real deal, a very free and expressive blues singer and a plenty-good-enough self-accompanyist on the guitar. I understand those who dismiss him as "fourth-rate," and don't find it necessary to criticize them. Let's just say that their idea of what the blues is difffers considerably from mine.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: stallion
Date: 12 Feb 08 - 07:37 PM

Well, I had seen the thread title and it intrigued me, now, having seen the Jools Holland thing, yea, he was entertaining but then I de constructed what he was doing and thought I could play that and I only play the guitar "in the bath". Having said that I could have laid a pile of bricks in an art gallery for a lot less than the thirty grand that the Tate paid but I didn't think of it, someone beat me to it. Fair play to the guy, business is tough and if someone wants to pay him loads for what he does that's his good luck, as for Georgie P. then I would trade what S.S. has for what you have got cos G.P. will leave a legacy of songs that will still be sung long after you , me and S.S. have gone.
Peter


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: 21st Century Bluesman
Date: 13 Feb 08 - 07:09 AM

Don't any of you folk who slag off, or at the very least, damn Steve with faint praise give a hoot for charisma and presentational skills? This is a man who can literally single-handedly keep an audience of 2,000 in thrall with a mixture ranging from raw, punky blues-rock to gentle, subtle acoustic slide, spiced with great jokes and captivating stories. Go and see him live, please don't simply make banal statements about being able to play as well as him on the back of seeing a couple of Youtube vids. Have you got a myspace site, Stallion, where I can see or hear your skills?

There are many Steve songs which will live on. I hope Georgie P's do too.

Finally, I would wager that when most people see a Paul Geremia they say - 'Yes, nice guitar-playing'. When they see a Seasick Steve a large proportion think - 'Wow!'


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: stallion
Date: 13 Feb 08 - 01:48 PM

wasn't having a pop, he was entertaining and I am no purist I live in a glass house as well! sigh


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Cool Beans
Date: 13 Feb 08 - 04:58 PM

Never heard of Mr. Steve here in Detroit. I actually know Paul Geremia, though. I even have his first LP.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,Jeff
Date: 14 Feb 08 - 02:13 AM

He's not particularly well known here in the states. Doubt he's be a sell out in any clubs. Someone may bring him over as an opening act and he could gain a following that way. Or get picked up by the William Morris Agency and get on some of the late night talk shows. As I said in an earlier post he's entitled to make a living and he's, obviously done his homework. He's being successful and has a machine running on all cylinders. Good for him. The 'three string guitar' thing has gotten him attention, but utimately one has to deliver the goods in a sustained performance. Apparently, from some of the posts he's been doing that. So, is he 'the real deal' ala SRV, Beck, Clapton, Hound Dog Taylor, Muddy Waters, Mississippi John Hurt, Hendrix, Buddy Guy, etc.? If he produces a strong body of work over a period of time...why not?


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Cool Beans
Date: 14 Feb 08 - 11:41 AM

As a blues nickname Seasick lacks the gravitas of, say, Blind or Pegleg. You can't do much about the latter conditions but you could maybe stay away from boats and alleviate the former.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 14 Feb 08 - 06:02 PM

...is he 'the real deal' ala SRV, Beck, Clapton ...


there is only one "real deal" when we are talking about white electric blues players, and that is Johnny Winter.

SRV , Beck , Clapton, supremely talented, but not quite the real deal when lined up against the albino Texan imo.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,Jeff
Date: 14 Feb 08 - 07:22 PM

Agreed, Murray. I stand corrected. Was simply trying to make a correlation in the difference between a 'novelty act' and a respected recording artist. Shouldn't have left him off the list. Haven't heard from him in a while. Had the pleasure of seeing the Johnny Winter And tour w/Rick Derringer. J. Geils Band was the opener. Johnny & Co played for 3 hours w/an acoustic set in the middle...I think I'm still recovering from that show. Also, saw Edgar Winter w/Ronnie Montrose and Dan Hartman...I think the drummer was Mitch Mitchell open for Humble Pie w/Steve Mariott and Peter Framton. OOPS, I digressed, sorry.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Oct 08 - 08:55 PM

Well, I`m just back from a Seasick Steve gig at Rock City Nottingham, UK, and no matter if he`s the real deal or not,it was a stunning gig.

First time I`ve seen him with any backing - drummmer, washboard player, and he doesn`t need backing musicians - except that when they went at fullspeed, he reminded me of Cream - but with a far better guitar player than Mr Clapton.

Novely act? maybe, well sd were the Beatles to me.

Ian


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,toodamnwhite
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 01:44 AM

You Europeans are so starved for "authentic" American anything...in this case authentic recycled swamp gas, that we sent him to you to get him off the goddamn corner so as to keep the space clear for something original..and he's been living fat in Scandinavia and selling that grizzled old hobo rubbish ever since. There are thousands of people here who have ten times the talent and originality as this guy.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,toodamnbad
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 02:15 AM

Ah. But what's in a name . . . ?


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,Gueat : Norman (can't log in)
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 07:37 AM

"There are thousands of people here who have ten times the talent and originality as this guy"

Are we back to this one again? This argument has a beard that's longer than Sea Sick Steven's. I do wish you'd just come to terms with the fact that someone is getting some recognition outside his own homeland.

And you never heard of him first.

But WE did.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Folknacious
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 09:20 AM

Whatever happened to Box Car Willie?


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 12:00 PM

"Whatever happened to Box Car Willie"............

I think they can cure it now.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,21st Century Bluesman
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 02:40 PM

Toodamnwhite. Please name just a couple of dozen of these 'thousands' of artists in the US who are more talented and original than Seasick Steve. I have a blues radio show and want to play them. They must be unbelievably good to be ten times better than Seasick Steve. Actually, there you have it. I don't believe you.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Kampervan
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 03:28 PM

Come on guys, this is a person that you are talking about here.

If he's lived in Scandinavia for a while - so what?.

Is he responsible for every line of PR that's put about?

For every star we all konw someone better but who never got the breaks.

Leave the guy alone, if he does well out of it, be he good or bad, just say well done, and try to up the profile of your own particular hero.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,Nicholas Waller
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 03:41 PM

There was an article about him in The Times today. His Norwegian wife of 25+ years is a chartered accountant, and he has done several jobs, including lounge-bar singer, shoe salesman, construction worker, waiter, paramedic, and owner of a recording studio in Seattle, one that used old tube amps other people were throwing away. He has nothing to do with homeless people, last slept rough 35 years ago and last busked on the streets for money in 1984. According to the article.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Mr Red
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 11:10 AM

The BBC are broadcasting an American night on BBC4 ever so soon. He figures pretty well in the suite of programmes. If it has past - I have it on PVR to view. What I have heard of the man playing and singing doesn't make me rush to see/hear him, but that is a stylistic preferrence rather than a value judgement.

And a man in his 60's! Do we want him to still sleep rough, just for his art?
Let he who is without home cast the first sleeping bag.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Effsee
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 12:07 PM

BBC4, Friday 23rd January....
starts 7.30 pm with the original series of The Transatlantic Sessions,
8.00 pm Seasick Steve documentary,
8.30 SS at Reading 2008, 9.00 Folk America,
10.00 Folk America at the Barbican,
11.00- 11.55 Desperate Man Blues, profile of Joe Bussard.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 08:08 AM

Ta

refresh


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: matt milton
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 09:08 AM

Anyone here got love for Samuel James?

As in:
http://www.myspace.com/sugarsmallhouse


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 03:59 PM

Not that I follow the blues much anymore but I do still keep an ear tuned for what's out there & I can say ever since this thread started 2 yrs ago the name Seasick Steve would've grabbed my ear. I have never heard of him outside of this thread & I've followed the blues since I was 15 that more than an impressive 40 yrs that I haven't heard of Steve & from what I have listened to on U-tube I wouldn't care if it was another 40 yrs more that I don't hear from him.
By this thread you are giving free PR to a guy that has a gimmick rather than a unique talant or ability. Discuss someone who's worth your time & effort & who has given the blues a bit more than just a shine.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Kampervan
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 05:59 PM

I think that you maybe over-estimate the effect that this thread might have on someone's career Barry.

Anyway, it's an interesting talking point, and the question of the triumph of opportunity over talent (or not) has always been relevant.

Also, compared to most threads, it's been remarkably well mannered and has kept pretty well on topic!!

Or does that mean that it just got boring?


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: NormanD
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 06:09 PM

I am assuming that most of the people on this thread who have never heard of SSS, or compare him unfavourably with other contemporary players, are American. As far as I know he hasn't played the USA in years, or since he started releasing blues albums. Most of those who seem to like him may have seen him live, probably because they live in the UK or Europe.

I have seen him a few times now, most recently last night at The Barbican in London. He was compering an evening of Americana music - hokum blues, creole, bluegrass,etc - extracts of which will be broadcast on BBC4 tv this Friday evening. He also played, and he was damned good. My one comment is that the image he has may detract from the music, but he is no gimmick. Shave him, put him in a suit and tie, and he'd still be just as powerful and entertaining.

The best thing about this thread so far is the number of recommendations of other good players whom I'd possibly never hear of otherwise.

As for this apparent bitterness about his success, all I can say is: live with it, or get over it. He's good, he's here, and he's encouraging a hell of a lot of younger people to start listening to raw and rocking blues. If he's making other players sweat, or get jealous, well, that's good too. Blues music is all too often pronounced dead, or dying, and then the corpse gets up and starts dancing around and shows that it's still full of life - - and enjoying itself!


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 03:49 PM

Just watching him on TV now - I think he's bloody good.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 04:01 PM

Just watched him on BBC4 - certainly knows how to put it across and get the crowd going. Wouldn't care to see too much of him (a little samey overall) but good luck to the man if he can make it... certainly a lively event.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 04:12 PM

You took the words from me, WF - he had a huge crowd, all clearly enjoying him and having the time of their lives. (Notice how young they were?) I like to see music giving people fun and exuberant joy, even when it's not particularly my thing. You can't argue with that - and he's clearly a success at it.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 06:13 PM

I've just finished watching the BBC4 show. Steve was excellent. I can't imagine why he's being singled out for criticism in this way. He's what you might call a showman and, like it or not, folk music is a part of showbusiness.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,BanjoRay
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 07:27 PM

He did a great bit of entertaining at the Barbican, and can really get on with an audience. I enjoyed his fun but.... I'd never swap a single Blind Willie McTell track for any or all of his stuff.
All down to taste, I suppose.
Ray


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Fortunato
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 07:56 PM

who?


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Alice
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 08:09 PM

Never heard of him.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 08:31 PM

he can handle a guitar - not just bash it. A fabulous rhythmic player.

you don't get expertise/originality like that with much less than 20 years hard work.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Jan 09 - 08:55 PM

Saw the show. Some of the performers were good.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Banjiman
Date: 24 Jan 09 - 06:29 AM

Only seen/ heard bits & peices of him previously. Enjoyed his music and persona on BBC4 last night. Enjoyed a lot of last night on BBC4 actually, plenty of blues and Old Time....excellent.

Should give us all hope that a guy in his 60's can get a break!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 24 Jan 09 - 11:24 AM

What irritates me is the fact that Martin Simpson is so much better at slide guitar than Seasick, and yet I don't see the BBC giving Martin the airtime that they give to Seasick. Ridiculous!


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Jan 09 - 11:33 AM

Often the way, isn't it? However, it's a little like comparing apples and oranges - SS is primarily a showman and entertainer - MS is a guitarist's guitarist. At the moment, apples are the flavour of the month at the BBC...


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 25 Jan 09 - 12:47 PM

Agree 100% with WLD and Banjiman - I'd say he's an outstanding rhythmic blues player - this has become one of my favorite boogies: Cut my wings

If that means "I don't really know the blues" I don't care!

Pete


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Jan 09 - 03:21 PM

'What irritates me is the fact that Martin Simpson is so much better at slide guitar than Seasick, and yet I don't see the BBC giving Martin the airtime that they give to Seasick. Ridiculous!'

Try signing up for one of Kevin Brown's fabulous slide guitar seminars at Bath this summer. Kevin is an astonishing slide player - whilst Martin has a few interesting bits and pieces - Kevin has made slide guitar HIS thing. Not only that - he always has someone with him - who is a revelation as a slide player. invariably someone whose name is fairly unknown but absolutely walks on water as a slide player - Bryn Haworth was the course tutor - the year I went.

Kevin though - what can one say - his choice of instrument, his commitment as a teacher and musician to slide playing are unparalleled in England. awesome!

Try checking out also Scott Ainslie's amazing video about Robert Johnson.

You could add Michael Messer to the list.

however its not really about the nuts and bolts of musicianship. Its about charisma. its about performance ability. About having an act that sweeps away a huge roomful of people, and takes them with you - dancing, whooping, stopmping and hollering, and then being able to take it down, and then accelerate the mood at will.

rather reminiscent of the way that Christy Moore can do.

In short SS's music is vital, original and has thought out strategies and goes places the other guys have never bothered about - and quite frankly its stuff you're unlikely to learn learn in the mainly effete world of english folkmusic.

i have measureless respect for martin Simpson, but lack of tv exposure is not the reason that seasick Steve is a bigger draw.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 06:23 AM

"It's all an act" - there it is in a nutshell!

Barry


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: NormanD
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 09:44 AM

If you go with blues back to its origins, it was there as an entertainment. The acoustic guitar players would have to play damn loud to get the sound across in a crowded, noisy bar, and shout like the devil too, by many accounts. I bet they never sat there being admired for their intricate playing.

As someone says above, you can't compare apples with oranges. Nothing should exclude anything else. If we don't like something or someone, that's fine - but we should stop being so precious!


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,Harry
Date: 27 Jan 09 - 07:17 AM

And therein lies the problem with the English folk scene..yes, it is too damned precious. Technically superior though Martin may be can we quite see him playing to a packed house of young people at Reading festival?


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Jan 09 - 09:09 AM

He rather reminds me of Boxcar Willie:

Boxcar Willie was perhaps the most successful invented character in the history of country music. With his kitschy persona and stage act -- highlighted by his amazingly accurate impersonation of a train whistle -- Willie played into the stereotype of the lovable, good-natured hobo who spent his life riding the rails and singing songs. Since his popularity had more to do with his image than his music, it makes sense that he was massively successful in England, where he personified Americana...


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 27 Jan 09 - 09:54 AM

I saw his show at Reading on BBC4, and thought it looked like a rollicking good time was had by all.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 04:58 PM

Just saw the Reading concert- I thought it was fun. If he is self promoting... so what? I like the music and I liked the show.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,Strummin' Steve
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 04:16 PM

He's a communicator,that's it. It's not about musical ability,it's what you do with the notes you play. Steve but not seasick.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 04:32 PM

I've felt all along that Steve is OK, a winning entertainer if not a virtuoso. The answer to the original question is that he's not at all "big" in the US ~ he's an American expatriate known pretty much only in Europe.

I'm sure that a lot of U.S. 'catters feel ~ like I do ~ that "I could do that." But, we haven't, and he has. More power to him.

Kevin's reference to Boxcar Willie is probably "spot-on."


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: matt milton
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 06:18 AM

The original question is based on a kind of funny premise: the assumption that someone making good, authentic blues would by default be recognized, championed and "big" in the USA, where blues began. If the answer had been "yes, he's huge and all the fans of real, proper blues love him", would it really have made any difference?


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: matt milton
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 06:21 AM

Or, to put it another way...

The music of Brixton-based bluesman Duke Garwood is to my ears much more blues than the majority of blues music being made today in any nation. I doubt more than 40 people in the US have heard of him. So what? His music still sounds like his music.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: NormanD
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 08:59 AM

Or East Dulwich-based Big Joe Louis, I think the same applies (I'm sure you know him, Matt).

Extending it a little, how many Black American jazz and blues players found recognition - and a chance to earn a living - outside the USA? There were plenty who couldn't get a break in their homeland, but got gigs and record deals (and decent royalty payments) on European labels in the 60's.


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 04:27 PM

Little Toby Walker, anyone?

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
From: GUEST,21st Century Bluesman
Date: 03 Mar 09 - 12:58 PM

Matt Milton wrote:-

"The music of Brixton-based bluesman Duke Garwood is to my ears much more blues than the majority of blues music being made today in any nation. I doubt more than 40 people in the US have heard of him. So what? His music still sounds like his music."

No surprise then that Seasick Steve asked Duke to support him on one of his tours in 2008, and to perform the same role on a recent gig in Paris. Steve dubbed him a "deep machine"!


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