Tonight’s show is entirely devoted to the life and music of the Chicago-born singer-songwriter Steve Goodman. I interviewed Clay Eals, the author of Steve Goodman: Facing the Music, on June 23. He brought along Jim Rothermel, a multi-instrumentalist who recorded and performed with Goodman for many years.
From an earlier post on this blog:
Goodman was well-known and much beloved in the music world I was coming up in in the early â€™70s, and I saw him perform many times. He wrote some very funny songs, including â€œElvis Imitatorsâ€ (which appears on my CD Solo Acoustic), â€œThe Lincoln Park Piratesâ€ (about a renegade towing company in Goodmanâ€™s native Chicago), â€œDoor Number Threeâ€ (made famous by its co-author, Jimmy Buffett), and countless others. Goodman also wrote some of the sweetest, most sentimental songs you could imagine (â€Would You Like to Learn to Dance?â€, â€œOld Fashioned,â€ and â€œMy Old Manâ€) – and of course he is most famous for composing â€œCity of New Orleans,â€ most famously covered by Arlo Guthrie but recorded by many others as well. And of course, he is the composer of â€œA Dying Cub Fanâ€™s Last Requestâ€ and the ultimate country-music sendup, â€œYou Never Even Call Me By My Name.â€
Goodman died of leukemia in September 1984, having survived for 15 years after he was first diagnosed. He was a tiny dynamo onstage, often levitating with the excitement of what he was playing on the guitar. His songwriting and performing styles were a great inspiration to me, and I have several of his songs in my repertoire to this day.
When Eals contacted me in search of materials from my files for his biography, I was delighted to oblige. When the book was published, I interviewed Eals in an author forum called the Inkwell, part of salon.com.
In the interview broadcast tonight, Clay states that the best Steve Goodman album is actually a DVD: Live from Austin City Limits. I agree, but I would also recommend the two-CD release No Big Surprise: The Steve Goodman Anthology – one disc of studio work and one live, including many previously-unreleased tracks.
You can listen to the program live online via kpfa.org – 8-10pm Pacific time.
Clay Eals will read and sign books on Monday, July 28, 7:30 pm at Moe’s Books, 2476 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley. Jim Rothermel and I will be there to play a few of our favorite Godman songs, and other musicians will be with us as well.
City of New Orleans – Arlo Guthrie, from Tribute to Steve Goodman
Door Number Three – Steve Goodman, Jessie’s Jig and Other Favorites
Mama Don’t Allow It – Steve Goodman, Jessie’s Jig and Other Favorites
Banana Republics – Steve Goodman, Words We Can Dance To
Two commercials for the US Navy
Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow) – John Prine, Bruised Orange
Take Me Out to the Ballgame – No Big Surprise: The Steve Goodman Anthology
A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request – Steve Goodman, very rare single
You’d Better Get It While You Can – No Big Surprise: The Steve Goodman Anthology
Old Fashioned – Steve Goodman, Words We Can Dance To