Steve Seskin - guitar, vocals; Deirdre de Corsia - vocals; Unknown - piano, bass, vocals; Joe Russo (guest) - piano on "Bigtime"
Steve Seskin was still a local songwriter on the Bay Area coffeehouse and café scene of the '70s, doing gigs at the Drinking Gourd and on street corners, when he secured this slot opening for John Fahey at San Francisco's Great American Music Hall, a prestigious and intimate setting for singer-songwriters and bands to connect with a true listening audience. Hearing Seskin perform his mid-'70s set, as he drops references to long-gone vinyl emporiums like the House of Records, his fellow folksingers, adult movie kings the Mitchell Brothers, and the Orange Julius in Chinatown, is like taking a time trip into San Francisco's past, with melodies to match….
"Come Home to Me, Mama" is one of Seskin's typically upbeat numbers. He follows the opener with a straightforward arrangement of John Prine's "Angel From Montgomery" with vocalist Deirdre De Corsia taking lead on the verses. He throws in an obscure song by Bobby Vee called "Hayes," about fishing. "Wash Away," concerning the story of man who attempts to gain mastery over every muscle in his body and does - except one - is a rarity by songwriter James Lee Stanley. Here, Seskin demonstrates his own mastery of the humorous intro. Even at this early stage in his career, before he became known as a writer of hits for others, Seskin knew how to deliver a song and work the room. "Trainman's Farewell" chugs with locomotive breath, while vocalist De Corsia takes a turn at the blues on Randy Newman's "Guilty."
Seskin describes "Wildman" by Ginny Reilly (of the duo Reilly and Maloney) as a "quiet, pretty song" he's currently in love with, while his own "Shady Lady," which he calls one of his "two famous songs," is introduced with a long story that places him in a scenario between a prostitute and her pimp. Finishing off the set, he invites his friend Joe Russo to sit in on his song "Bigtime" its tale offering yet another slice of San Francisco street life. Little did Seskin know that he was headed for the "Bigtime" as a Nashville songwriter (he would write hits for Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney, among others). Or, then again, maybe he did: there is an undeniable confidence in Seskin who was plucked from the streets of San Francisco to warm up the crowd on this night.