The electrifying energy, accomplished guitar, and great lyrics of Steve Goodman lit up the musical world all too briefly. Cut down at the age of 36 by leukemia, Goodman left a lasting legacy of memorable music, which can be heard from front-porch gatherings to homages by his friend, John Prine. Best known for penning "The City of New Orleans," which Prine called "the best damned train song ever written," Goodman was a consummate performer and singer/songwriter. His skills are in evidence on this CD, a 1999 release of an album Goodman recorded in 1973. It contains some of the musician's best-loved tunes, including the humorous and often requested "Chicken Cordon Blues" and "The Vegetable Song (The Barnyard Dance)." The recording illustrates the range of Goodman's skills and concerns. His "Song for David" shows just what a great guitar player he was. In fact, he had provided guitar backup for some of the artists who appear on this recording, including Bob Dylan and David Bromberg. Goodman penned the riveting "Ballad of Penny Evans," his a cappella anti-Vietnam War protest song. He touches on the meaning of love and sanity in Michael Smith's poignant "The Dutchman." The native of Chicago sings of the strongarm tactics of an infamous towing company in "The Lincoln Park Pirates." His father was a used car salesman in Chicago. The advice that the senior Goodman gave him was that buying one was just getting somebody else's troubles; it became the inspiration for the title cut on the album. Goodman is joined by Maria Muldaur on vocals. They sing together in beautiful harmony on this piece, as well as "Don't Do Me Any Favors Anymore." "Somebody Else's Troubles" perhaps best sums up Goodman's dryly humorous viewpoint: "As long as Fate is out there busting somebody else's bubble/Everything's gonna be alright." Goodman is still missed on the college concert and folk festival circuit. His loyal friend John Prine continues to acknowledge Goodman's influence at each performance. This recording presents a good overview of the prodigious talent and gifts that Steve Goodman gave the music world.
AllMusic Review by Rose of Sharon Witmer