Tom Jones And Seasick Steve Transform You Gotta Move Into A Joyful Blast Of Dirty Blues.

Isn’t it a treat when Tom Jones gets down and dirty? In his heyday, Jones was over-produced and over-styled. His image was as Vegas crooner as a Welshman can be. It took Jones’s 1988 Art-of-Noise-produced cover of Prince’s “Kiss” for him to become cool across generations. He’s always had the Tom Jones voice – a rich, Welsh-lilted baritone. It’s an instrument of wonder, rivaled as a full Welsh voice in popular music only by John Cale (once of Velvet Underground, known for popularizing “Hallelujah”).

Now that he’s a popular music icon, it’s great when Jones sings all stripped down, sometimes with no backing, on his television appearances. This delightful video has an amped electric guitar and Tom Jones shares the vocals. But since it is Seasick Steve who joins Jones (and since Seasick Steve brings his three-string guitar), it’s as down-and-dirty and stripped-down a blues song as you could hope for. Here is You Gotta Move, a traditional spiritual adapted by bluesman Mississippi Fred McDowell:

Chris K comments: “You looking for legends? They’re right here before your eyes; masters at work! Old style – when you’ve got class, nothing else matters!” Tryg Velie writes: “No rendition of any song makes me instantly smile like this one. I love them both. Fantastic.” John Davis quips: “With those two getting me to move, there’s not much the Lord will have to do.” Debbie Comer says, “Tom looks like he’s having fun,” while G Poppa John states, “I think I’ve died and gone to heaven. Superb sound.”

Mississippi Fred McDowell recorded his Hill-Country blues take of “You Gotta Move” in 1965. McDowell’s version influenced the Rolling Stones’ interpretation as featured on “Sticky Fingers” (1971). Two Rolling Stones versions of “You Gotta Move” also appeared on the 40th Anniversary Box of the Stones’ excellent live album, “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!” (originally 1970). Music Man readers, this video of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in their prime is from the “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!” box set. Enjoy.

The Stones’s reading of You Gotta Move is darker than the Tom Jones and Seasick Steve run-through. That is how it should be. The song lyrics remind the listener that when the Lord calls, well child, your time in the earthly realm is up. The wonder is how joyful Tom Jones and Seasick Steve make You Gotta Move sound through the sheer pleasure of playing a great blues song (never mind the fatalistic lyrics).

Seasick Steve gets a fine blast of noise from the guitar he calls The Three-String Trance Wonder (a 1960s Japanese GHI Guitar modified with a 1950s Harmony pickup). The three-string guitar is a bit of a gimmick (Steve says it’s haunted), but, tuned to G G B, it gives a great dirty blues howl. There is also a fair amount of grift in Seasick Steve’s long-lost-hobo persona. Nonetheless, one of Steve’s first music gigs was backing Lightnin’ Hopkins at clubs around San Francisco (around 1969). Steven Gene Wold (Seasick Steve) might not have spent decades living under a bridge, busking on his 3-string guitar for loose change (as his mid-2000s publicity shtick suggested), but he played with Lightnin’ as a teenager! That’s nothing to sneeze at! Seasick Steve first captured public attention on Jools Holland’s televised 2006 New Year’s Hootenanny. I’m sure you’re eager to see Seasick Steve’s breakthrough performance of Dog House. Here it is:

If you enjoyed Seasick Steve’s performance and want to see more, you can subscribe to his YouTube Channel or visit his official website for more incredible music.

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