Mudcat Café message #2260896 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #107389   Message #2260896
Posted By: PoppaGator
12-Feb-08 - 07:36 PM
Thread Name: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
Subject: RE: Seasick Steve - how big in the US?
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.