Review: Hot Tuna, Steady As She Goes

They may be past their salad days, but Hot Tuna founders guitarist/vocalist Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady remain a must-catch live and now on their first studio album in 20 years (recorded at Levon Helm’s Woodstock lair).
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Hot Tuna, Steady As She Goes [Red House Records]

They may be past their salad days, but Hot Tuna founders guitarist/vocalist Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady remain a must-catch live and now on their first studio album in 20 years (recorded at Levon Helm’s Woodstock lair). The dozen tracks here are rife with memorable hooks, narrative lyrics, undeniable grooves, aural Americana—via mandolins, fiddles, pedal steel guitars, and pump organs—and an acute understanding of how to make a good ol’ rock & roll record. Casady’s mastery of bass-in-the-big-picture is evident throughout, from his subtle use of pedal tones on “Second Changes” and unmistakable wall of tone on the ballad gem “Things That Might Have Been” to his snaking line on “Easy Now Revisted” and erudite take on two-feel and walking bass lines on “Mama Let Me Lay It on You” and “If This Is Love,” respectively. And then there are his Airplane-like soaring step-outs on “A Little Faster” and “Vicksburg Stomp.”

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