Since I Saw You Last
Out Of The Past Music
Since I Saw You Last (Out Of The Past Music)
is Texas-born Steve Howell’s third CD, to my
knowledge, and he carries on his love affair with
country blues here. Some of the songs are a little
more country than blues, but don’t take that as a
criticism because they are all good and they are a
mix of old and new. There’s a mix of country blues,
rockabilly, folk and R&B (not the current R&B, but
the traditional sort from the '50s).
I have to admit that a previous CD, My Mind Gets
To Ramblin’, was more to my personal taste,
maybe because I’m a bit of a traditionalist. But
there’s something about this CD that makes me keep
playing it – maybe it’s the mix of different tempos
and influences which makes every track so different
from the one before.
Howell’s treatment of the old John Lee Hooker
standard, “Crawling Kingsnake,” Blind Lemon
Jefferson’s “Easy Rider Blues,” and Taj Mahal’s
“Little Red Hen” really stand out for me – I really
can’t fault the man as far as these three tracks go
(I can’t really fault him on any other tracks
either, but these three stand out for me).
Howell takes songs by the scruff of the neck and
gives them his own particular influence. He changes
them but never loses the essence of the original,
and that’s the way it should be as far as I’m
This CD would make a very good addition to any blues
--- Terry Clear
Steve Howell already has two albums of
exquisite country blues under his belt. Both were
well-received and Howell received much praise for
his outstanding guitar work and expressive vocals.
His latest release, Since I Saw You Last (Out
Of The Past Music), is a more diverse affair, as
Howell effortlessly shifts from country blues to
rockabilly to R&B.
While there’s plenty of good blues to be found here
(including Memphis pre-war legend Frank Stokes’
“Downtown Blues” that kicks the CD off in excellent,
toe-tapping fashion, a gentle interpretation of
Mance Lipscomb’s “Charlie James,” Blind Lemon
Jefferson’s “Easy Rider Blues,” John Lee Hooker’s
“Crawlin’ Kingsnake,” and Taj Mahal’s “Little Red
Hen”), there are also some pleasant surprises.
“Acadian Lullaby” has a lovely Louisiana-meets-Texas
groove, and the old Sun Records rockabilly classic,
“Red Cadillac & A Black Moustache,” gets reworked
into a wistful country tune.
The rock and roller, “Farmer John,” written by Don &
Dewey in the early ’60s, features some nasty slide
guitar by Arnie Cottrell and a killer electric
guitar break from Chris Michaels. The New Orleans
R&B classic, “I Won’t Cry” (originally done by the
Tan Canary, Johnny Adams) features a great vocal
from Howell, as does another oldie, “Since I Fell
For You,” which also puts Howell’s guitar skills
front and center. “Ready for the River,” the ’20s
standard that mixes blues and vaudeville influences
closes the disc out with gentle good humor.
The best thing about the album is its warmth and
intimacy. The production is so good, that it sounds
like Howell is actually playing in your living room
and his rapport with the wonderful accompanying band
(including Cottrell and Michaels, along with Joe
Osborn (bass, 12-string guitar), Darren Osborn
(drums, percussion, keyboards, strings), Dave
Hoffpauir (drums , vocals), and Brian Basco
(keyboards, string) sounds like a bunch of old
friends getting together to play a few tunes.
Fortunately, we have the privilege of listening to
this get-together. Since I Saw You Last is
highly recommended to guitar fans of all genres.
--- Graham Clarke