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Cheap is my favourite and also perhaps the most contemporary sounding album by Seasick Steve, the rather elderly artist who has finally made it to commercial success in the last couple of years and is backed up by The Level Devils - consisting of two relatively unknown Norwegian artists (Seasick Steve lives in Norway) on what is his debut album.
Seasick Steve was taught the blues by K.C Douglas as an 8 year old and whilst his solo stuff, complete with foot stomping, singing and guitar playing is great, this band has a really wonderful complete sound, the cheap bluesy guitar sound is perhaps one of the best since Hound Dog Taylor and his obsession with Yamaha guitars whilst the bass and drum compliment it wonderfully.
This album is full of superb hits - Cheap, Rockin' Chair, Sorry Mr. Jesus, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, 8 Ball and Levi Song are all upbeat tracks, well written lyrically and musically and are bound to have you dancing and enjoying yourself. Hobo Blues, Love Thang and Xmas Prison Blues are distinctly more calm but still complete with enjoyable guitar playing.
There are two stories on the album, the first about hopping trains and getting food tickets and the latter about spending the winter sleeping rough behind a grocery store, both stories are interesting despite being told a little slowly, the only problem with these two tracks is that you don't want to hear them every single time you listen to the album, so I do find myself skipping them rather often.
Overall this is a great bluesy rocky album with a lot of Seasick Steve's best work and it's a must have if you enjoy the music by the best blues artist to appear this decade (even though he's been playing since for around 50 years!)
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Rockin' Chair
3 Hobo Blues
4 Story 1
5 Sorry Mr Jesus
6 Love Thang
7 Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde
8 Story 2
9 8 Ball
10 Xmas Prison Blues
11 Levi Song
12 Rooster Blues