Guy Forsyth Steak (TMG)
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Sept. 29, 2000
Steak (TMG)After the shamanistic singer-songwriter bravado of last year's career-best Can You Live Without, dismissed by most critics and fans based on the cover art alone (get over it), Guy Forsyth has retreated back into more familiar territory: da blooze. Taking up where he left off in 1995 with his Antone's Records debut Needlegun, Forsyth serves up big, beefy blues like it was the Fourth of July, and if his originals aren't as tasty as menu staples from Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, and Willie Dixon, it doesn't mean the meal is any less filling or satisfying. Opening with the dangerously undulating Bo Diddley beat of "Mona," Steak is thick and juicy, beginning with Waters' "Louisiana Blues" and Forsyth's "Good Time Man," which grinds slow and Dusty -- as in Billy, Dusty, and Frank: ZZ Top. The zydecajun romp of "Lovin' Dangerously" breaks the hypnotic blues spell with aplomb, but as sequenced next to the same old "Tricks of the Trade," it highlights the discrepancy in Forsyth's songwriting; he's better at "Stanley traditional saw"-kissed originals like the Tom Waitsian "Thibodaux Furlough" than with more traditional-minded fare such as "Tricks," "Cadillac Man," and "You're Still Here." That said, the Fat Possum blues sneer "Mad" sounds like R.L. Burnside after an ass-pocketful of whiskey (urrrp!). Clocking in just under an hour, this beautifully packaged, designed, and annotated release could easily have been edited down to 45, but in the hands of a top-notch harp blower like Forsyth, a Steak doesn't always have to be lean to hit the spot.