Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
This album plays like a personal diary. The songs and stories are so personal and intimate that I feel like I know the characters. Steele has a fantastic ability of turning a three minute song into a full story with a beginning middle and end. These are songs about struggle, heartbreak, addiction, and drinking, as well as other blue collar issues. This is a working man’s album. That is in no means meant as a slight. It is just that Randy understands the actions and emotions of the general populace and is able to articulate those experiences into tangible works of art. Not an easy task, by any means.
These songs are pure country and they are beautiful. After listening to Songs From The Suck in its entirety, I feel like I just read a novel. I have these characters and stories etched in my mind. Randy’s ability to describe raw emotions and hardscrabble experiences is uncanny.
There have been a lot of country songs written about prison and doing time. There is certainly no shortage of those songs. So for Randy Steele to compose a song about Visitation Day (Track 8) and visiting a prison instead of doing time, is original and brilliant. I am sure that this isn’t the first song about visiting someone in prison, but I cannot recall any such songs. The only one that I can think of is the one I just heard by Randy Steele.
If you are a fan of very strong imagery and stories mixed with your country music, then Songs From The Suck is a must have. Every song on this collection not only tells a story, but is a a great listen. If the delivery system isn’t good, it doesn’t matter how good the words are. Luckily, Randy Steele’s delivery system (aka the music) is rock solid and road tested. It will also sound great played between Whitey Morgan and Cody Jinks.