Steve Forbert began his career as auspiciously as any young artist could have possibly hoped -- a recording contract by the time he was 23, a critically acclaimed debut record, and a hit single from its follow-up. On the flip side, in just five years he found himself in record industry limbo when his label wouldn't release what would have been his fifth album, while at the same time refusing to free him from his contract. Following a drawn-out legal battle, Forbert, with the help of E Street Band bassist Garry W. Tallent, returned nearly six years later with 1988's Streets of This Town. As producer, Tallent succeeds in capturing Forbert's folk-rock at its best, with just the right mix of muscle ("Don't Tell Me [I Know]," "Wait a Little Longer"), pop ("Running On Love," "Perfect Stranger"), and insight ("I Blinked Once," "Search Your Heart"). He also brings a cohesiveness to Forbert's sound that had been lacking since his first recording. And while there are understandable bits of frustration and anger throughout, there's also a prevailing feeling of "Hope, Faith and Love" (a song title), as well as a refreshing sense of perspective. Just the fact that he kicks things off with the buoyant "Running on Love" and closes with the beautifully uplifting "Search Your Heart" lets you know that this isn't whiny, singer/songwriter fodder. At 33, Forbert is wise enough to know that what's done is done, and the only way to move beyond it is to look forward. Despite a welcome reception at the time of its release, Streets of This Town never quite fulfilled the commercial hope set for Steve Forbert back in the late '70s. Still, it was a strong comeback, and his best since Alive On Arrival was issued ten years prior.
Streets of This Town Review
by Brett Hartenbach