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Live Wire

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Album Review

Recorded during a circa 1980 tour on which Goodman was accompanied by a fine four-piece band and two background singers, Live Wire nicely overcomes a hazard often resulting from such circumstances: While the band is clearly there, they're mixed low enough most of the way through that they don't interfere with Goodman's own voice and guitar. And in some cases, like Jim Rothermel's sax solo on a magnificent reading of "You're the Girl I Love" and a long workout on "What Have You Done for Me Lately," the presence of additional musicians adds a lot. The repertoire will be familiar to most Goodman fans, even casual ones, with its blend of his own intelligent (and often witty) compositions, a couple of tunes by fellow Chicagoan Michael Smith, and a few off-the-wall oldies. He takes "City of New Orleans" at a faster clip (and closer melodically to Arlo Guthrie's version) than you might expect; "Hand It to You" rocks, with Goodman on electric guitar and the whole band in high gear; a breakneck It's a Sin to Tell a Lie" featuring fingerbusting fretwork; and a segue from the tender "&Old Smoothies" to country singer Leroy VanDyke's tongue-twisting 1957 hit "Auctioneer." The album package includes complete lyrics and a brief note by Goodman's co-manager, Al Bunetta.

Biography

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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Live Wire, Steve Goodman
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