Technically, Goodbye September is a 20-year retrospective of Charlottesville, VA, power pop heroes the Deal -- but not really. Due to a seemingly impossible -- yet all too common -- run of bad luck, the Deal's music has never been released until now. In 1980, the group began to show off their Big Star-influenced pop sound at gigs around town, after jelling around the lineup of Mark Roebuck, Eric Schwartz, Haines Fullerton, Hugh Patton, and Jim Jones. They caught the ear of Ramones manager Linda Stein, who agreed in turn to manage the Deal. All was well until the band's contract with Bearsville Records was hung out to dry in the aftermath of a feud between Warner Bros. and the label. Their debut EP would sit on a shelf for 20 years. Adversity continued to follow the Deal for the rest of the '80s and '90s. The band broke up, rejoined, lost members, gained followings, and lost its chance so many times, it seemed no one would ever hold a recording by the Deal. In the early '90s, Roebuck and Fullerton developed a relationship with an aspiring singer/songwriter named Dave Matthews. In 1994, a song co-written by Fullerton and Matthews appeared on the latter's Under the Table & Dreaming, the album that would launch the Dave Matthews Band's star sky high. Two years later, Fullerton would commit suicide after a descent into religious idealism. The music of the Deal was doomed. Luckily, two of the band's fans from its Charlottesville days went on a quest to assemble all the recorded output of the band, with the intention of finally releasing the material. Finally, in March of 2003, they were successful. Through the efforts of longtime Deal fans Tim Anderson and Tom Bickel, Not Lame Records released Goodbye September, which compiled 13 tracks from the Deal's Bearsville sessions, as well as many other recordings from every corner of the band's career.
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AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus