Review: Steve Howell – Since I Saw You Last
Posted on: Friday, May 21, 2010
STEVE HOWELL – Since I Saw You Last
Out of the Past – OOTP5
Texas born Steve Howell has been gaining some very good reviews from this latest release on the Out of the Past Music label over in the USA and it can be fully understood for what is a very good cd.
Howell was born in Texas but is now located in Louisiana and has been playing guitar since inspired after listening to Mississippi John Hurt as a 13 year old. Now 44 years later after a varied musical career which even saw him based in South Wales when he played with British guitrist and mandolinist Arnie Cottrell in the early 70s, he has produced a lovely cd which is an eclectic mix of country blues, folk and rockabilly.
The opening track Downtown Blues by Frank Stokes features a catchy jug band style featuring lovely guitar and mandolin with Steve’s good- time vocals and this is followed by a full band on the track Acadian Lullaby written by Jim Mize. A country song in true Americana style it again features fine mandolin by Arnie Cottrell.
Red Cadillac and Black Moustache is take on the 1957 recording by Warren Smith and is a catchy tune with great 50s lyrics and 50s twangy guitar – a lovely version.
The early 60s is revisited with Don and Dewey’s bouncy rock’n’roll song Farmer John which was covered by The Searchers over here in 1963. A great take which features some great guitar.
The acoustic blues is returned to on the next track when Mance Lipscomb’s Charlie James is performed beautifully fully featuring Steve’s lovely finger-picking guitar and gentle mandolin backing from Cottrell. Also the song features the line “Since I saw you Last” which inspired the cd title.
The next track I Won’t Cry from Johny Adams was also recorded by Doug Sahm and is a again an older style of tune with echoes of Doo-Wop and a lovely melodic swing to it. The country blues again features on the Traditional Wild About My Lovin’ which features lovely acoustic guitar from Steve backed by slide resonator from Cottrell and a deep twanging bass line.
An interesting choice follows with Buddy Johnson’s pre war Since I Fell For You. Essentially a crooning song with a soft backing it would have gone down well in a smoky old jazz bar and Steve certainly maintains that lovely essence of the song.
Easy Rider Blues by Blind Lemon Jefferson is handled sympathetically with a jug band feel again and lovely acoustic guitar and this leads into Hooker’s Crawling King Snake with great bottleneck guitar from Steve backed by a rhythm section.
The penultimate track is Taj Mahal’s Little Red Hen given the band treatment again before the final cut Ready for the River from the 20’s by Gus Kahn completes a fine cd. It features beautiful soft acoustic guitar and vocals.
All in all, this cd is a very enjoyable recording with Steve Howell backed up by some fine musicians. Some of the tracks are unusual in their choice but all are delivered professionally and differently and help make it a success.