Ever since his performance on Jools Holland’s Hootenanny nearly five years ago, Seasick Steve has experienced a meteoric rise in popularity and fame, and he has gained a huge following now and is the only musician currently to play the blues in such a way that the mainstream loves it. You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks is his fourth album since his breakthrough into success.
Opener Treasures begins the album with a very sombre feeling, as Steve plays an acoustic guitar with other instruments accompanying it later on. What I love most about the song is Steve’s vocals, they’re deep, emotional and have a touch of Mark Lanegan to them, making the track have a bigger sense of depth to it.
Fortunately, the familiar sound of Steve’s slide enhanced blues returns in following album track. As expected, the song is full of energy and power which we as fans of Steve are far too aware of by now, and this song proves once again that Seasick Steve is fantastic in lifting the atmosphere; he has a humble aura about him which always makes me enjoy his songs even more. This song bares a huge contrast to Treasures as it is the complete opposite, Steve’s vocals are full of vigour and the way he just forces his voice into a raw growl just raises the energy levels to many more beyond.
My favourite song would probably be Back In The Doghouse, the way it kicks off instantly with a brilliant guitar riff, followed by the pounding drums from the very underrated Dan Magnusson. The song never fails at bursting a new lease of life into the album and with former Led Zeppelin and Them Crooked Vultures member John Paul Jones on bass, what’s not to like?
This album has the perfect mix of Steve’s more accessible, up-tempo blues songs and his more original, rooted blues songs. Obviously the success he has gained in the past few years is because of the upbeat material such as Don’t Know Why She Love Me But She Do and Doghouse Boogie, but what I love most is that Steve still has time for his records to bring down the atmosphere, and slow it down for a few minutes with his more emotional tracks, and it’s great. It allows for the huge youthful following he’s gained in his popularity to know that there’s more to Seasick Steve than the one/three stringed guitars.