It’s now more than six years since a surprise appearance on Jools Holland’s Hootenanny gave “Seasick” Steve Wold a belated taste of fame.
Once a hobo in the US, where he picked fruit and slept rough as a young man, at 71 he’s still a bum there but has one platinum and three gold albums over here. You wouldn’t know it from his scraggly beard and his guitar made from hubcaps but in the week he releases his sixth album, he has star power.
Robert Plant was in the audience and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones joined Steve on bass. The pair harmonised on a cute version of The Everly Brothers’ Cathy’s Clown, and Steve also unveiled two gospel singers for a mournful take on Amazing Grace, but he was at his best when stomping on his box and growling the likes of Self-Sufficient Man and Keep on Keepin’ on.
A horn section and organ was added for Coast is Clear, suggesting ambition beyond basic back porch blues, but he may be too long in the tooth to get all fancypants on us now. “This next song is about dirt and tractors,” he said, and everything was as it should be.