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Unfinished Business

Steve Goodman

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Album Review

Although Steve Goodman's album Santa Ana Winds was, technically, a posthumous release, it was so polished an effort and appeared so soon after his death in September 1984 that it seemingly must have been in the can before his final illness. Unfinished Business, however, appearing three years later, clearly was a collection of previously unreleased archival recordings that had been assembled as an LP. Yet it was not all that different from most Goodman albums. During his lifetime, Goodman liked to put together collections that traced the range of his musical tastes, from folk to country to rock and beyond, with his own original songs, some of them sincere, some humorous, and also covers of various songs, some of them from Tin Pan Alley. And that's what one hears again on Unfinished Business. The leadoff track, "Whispering Man," and "In Real Life" (both of which sound like they may have benefited from after-the-fact overdubbing) are adult contemporary ballads; "Mind Over Matter" and "Millie Make Some Chili" have country arrangements; "Don't Get Sand in It" is a good-natured pop/rock tune; and "God Bless Our Mobile Home" and "(Now and Then) There's a Fool Such as I" are duets between Goodman and his mandolin-playing touring partner, Jethro Burns (formerly of Homer & Jethro), recorded at a radio station. Toward the end, more solo Goodman is heard, with a new version of "The Dutchman," the Michael Smith song Goodman first recorded on his second album, Somebody Else's Troubles, and a concluding performance of "My Funny Valentine," which bookend an original seasonal song, "Colorado Christmas" (another song that sounds like it might have some new overdubs). It sounds like a miscellany, but Goodman's reedy voice holds it all together, and it is no more diverse than one of the albums he concocted himself.

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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Unfinished Business, Steve Goodman
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