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Alive On Arrival

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Album Review

Steve Forbert's youthful features and boyish voice certainly become misleading once his lyrics are heard. His folk-rock styled songs are usually centered around life's ups and downs and the problems of adulthood, portraying him as an artist who's just trying to get by. Alive on Arrival is an album full of earnest tunes about loneliness, self-worth, aspirations, and disappointments. Forbert's wispy, innocent sounding voice floats gently (and cuts roughly) over his acoustic guitar to homespun ditties with a down-to-earth feel. This album represents Forbert's music perfectly, and even though his latter albums sound less subtle, it is Alive on Arrival that so aptly personifies him. "Going Down to Laurel" has his voice aching about the dirtiness of the city and the beauty of his true love, and "Steve Forbert's Midsummer Night's Toast" is an interesting musical jaunt through the bittersweet world of growing up. Forbert really comes to life on "What Kinda Guy?," humorously explaining what a simplified, easygoing chap he is. The kick-back aura of Alive on Arrival puts the emphasis on the down and out Forbert while feelings of sentiment and adolescence slowly emerge with each passing song. This album makes for a great late-night listen.

Customer Reviews

A masterpiece!

Still one of the best debut albums ever by a singer/songwriter - beautiful melodies and great lyrics. Alas, I feel he never surpassed this, although Jackrabbit Slim was close. Should have had more recognition than he got really. I bought the original vinyl version of this in '78 and it wasn't off my turntable for years until the vinyl gave up - I've owned it in every format since, cassette, CD and now digital. Still listen to it at least half a doxen times a year as it just puts me in a relaxed and happy mood as I singalong to the tunes


An old friend taught me to play the guitar and introduced me to "Alive On Arrival" way back in the early eighties. It is beautiful, honest, poignant, fun and tremendously performed. If you only ever happen upon one album in your life, you will not go wrong with this. Exquisite. Some say Steve Forbert never made it to the fame he deserved. Whatever! He touched many hearts and that's what it's about.


Born: 13 December 1954 in Meridian, MS

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Anointed "the new Dylan" upon his recording debut, folk-rock singer/songwriter Steve Forbert was born in Meridian, MS, in 1954. After learning guitar at age 11, he spent his high school years playing in a variety of local bands before quitting his job as a truck driver and moving to New York City at the age of 21. There, he performed for spare change in Grand Central Station before working his way up to the Manhattan club circuit. After signing to Nemperor, Forbert debuted in 1978 with Alive on Arrival,...
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