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The Easter Tapes

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Album Review

Steve Goodman made four guest appearances on disc jockey Vin Scelsa's radio show on WNEW-FM in New York in the mid-'70s, three of them broadcast on successive Easter Sundays in 1976, 1977, and 1978. These airchecks are the source for The Easter Tapes, and they present a charmingly offhand Goodman, whose acoustic performances stand in contrast to the more polished and produced albums he was making for Asylum Records during the same period. Encouraged by Scelsa, Goodman turns in versions of songs from some of those albums — "This Hotel Room," "I Can't Sleep," "Banana Republics," "Video Tape" — along with some of his older songs, among them the standard "City of New Orleans," and a bunch of one-off numbers including Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies," Marty Robbins' "Big Iron," and Cole Porter's "Don't Fence Me In." After he performs "Eighteen Yellow Roses" and points out that it was written by Bobby Darin, Scelsa requests Darin's hit "Splish Splash," which Goodman surprises himself by remembering in full. With bits of casual conversation and even a few announcements of upcoming concerts (one of them featuring Goodman, of course), the sessions have a friendly, thrown-together feel that gets even more spontaneous in the hidden track, a medley of "Mama Don't Allow" and "The Saints Go Marching In" that serves as a showcase for multi-instrumentalist sideman David Amram and even gives Scelsa a chance to blow on a saxophone. Those more accustomed to hearing Goodman on his regular albums, which usually feature much more elaborate arrangements, will be impressed with his expert guitar playing .


Born: 25 July 1948 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

Growing up in what he called "a Midwestern middle-class Jewish family," Steve Goodman began playing the guitar as a teenager. He was influenced by the folk revival of the early '60s and by country performers such as Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams. After attending college in the mid-'60s, he turned to playing in Chicago clubs by night and writing commercial jingles by day. In 1971, he opened for Kris Kristofferson and was seen by Paul Anka, who financed demo recordings that led to a contract with...
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The Easter Tapes, Steve Goodman
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