CD Review – Hot Tuna "Steady As She Goes"


Written by Bill Whiting

Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, along with Barry Mitterhoff and Skoota Warner return after twenty years as Hot Tuna to deliver the delightful, rollicking recording, Steady As She Goes. Guests Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams pop up on the spiritually humming second track, a reworking of the Reverend Gary Davis’ “Children of Zion.” Kaukonen’s smooth delivery gently infuses his original composition, “Second Changes.”  Casady’s booming bass lines stand out on the opening track, “Angel of Darkness” and the bouncing rave up, “Goodbye to the Blues.” Mitterhoff’s string bending wizardry is the glue to Hot Tuna’s complex cornucopia of blues, rock, gospel, country and jazz. It’s a heady mix as evidenced on the whiz bang slammer, “A Little Faster,” and drummer Skoota Warner anchors Hot Tuna’s shifting rhythms with a natrural sense of powered consistency. Kaukonen’s songs hit the right note throughout, and the boisterous rocker “Mourning Interrupted” along with the wistful memory piece, “Things That Might Have Been” stand out. Hot Tuna’s music has aged well, and Steady As She Goes is a new shining star that sits nicely amongst their vast repertoire. In fact, their take on the Reverend Gary Davis’ “Mama Let May Lay It On You” may be one of Hot Tuna’s best session moments. Expertly produced by Larry Campbell and recorded and mixed at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, NY, Steady As She Goes returns Hot Tuna’s expert musical craftmanship to a new generation, and is sure to top many end of the year best recording lists. Jorma Kaukonen appears at Miami University’s Parrish Auditorium in Hamilton, Ohio on Saturday, April 16.