Son Seals has settled into the kind of hard-working career the blues offers at its best--lots of hard work and no chance of the big payoffs. Seals took the stage at Desperado's last night and lost no time establishing the sources of his own intense blues style.

He paid homage to Albert King's version of the Chicago classic, "Don't Lie To Me," and ran through two of Elmore James' rocking blues tunes, "The Sky Is Crying" and "Talk To Me Baby." Throughout the set, the crowd was galvanized by Seals' trademarks--his dirty, thick-toned guitar runs and gruff, shouted vocals.

At the same time, the hard-rocking ferocity of Seals' guitar-playing and unrestrained urgency of his vocals--the very things that have won him an audience of young blues fans--created a somewhat monotonous set.

While his four-piece band was direct and driving, there was little of the distinguished ensemble interchange or embellishment found in the classic Chicago blues. And Seals' angry singing and guitar finally wore thin on B.B. King's "Why I Sing the Blues," a song demanding an expressive subtlety far beyond the range of Seals' hard-nosed and aggressive playing.