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Joining Elliott Murphy and countless others in line to be deemed "The Next Dylan," Steve Forbert's debut Alive on Arrival is as close to perfect as albums get.  I have the fantastic music blog Sixeyes to thank for exposing me to my first Forbert tune, early last summer.  One listen to Going Down to Laurel, and I was hooked, like Vincent D'Onofrio in The Cell.  (Don't try too hard to remember - there's a reason your brain wants you to forget)

Coincidentally, my friend Bob from Dodger-town (unless I'm mistaken and they refer to it as Clipper-ville) became obsessed with Forbert as well.  When I visited LA that summer, in between multiple playings of Weezer's The Greatest Man That Ever Lived, we pumped the Steve Forbert.  Thirty years after it was released, it was again the song of the summer. 

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Naturally, when I was home one weekend (probably to watch some Philadelphia-based sports event) I searched through my dad's records for any sign of Steve Forbert.  I found three records under F, Alive on Arrival, Jackrabbit Slim, and Little Stevie Orbit (his collection is painstakenly organized.  Top to bottom, left to right.  There is a separate section for compilations.  Once a record is removed and listened to, it is cleaned and immediately returned to the shelves.)

When I asked my dad about him, he admitted he had not played that record very often.  When I slipped the vinyl out of its cardboard prophylactic, it looked like it had just been pressed.  This thing might as well been shrink wrapped.  It was PRISTINE.

As soon as Going Down to Laurel began, it was clear this album sounds best on vinyl.  All the warmth and brightness of the guitar and harmonica are sweetened perfectly.  Just enough to offset Forbert's lyrics, which seem benign at first, but several listenings reveal a muted melancholy.

    going down to laurel, it's a dirty stinking town, but me i know exactly what i'm going to find.
    little girl, i'm going to see, she's a fool for loving me.  but she's in love, and love's a funny state of mind.


Like Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces, Forbert's that quietly talented, world-wearied troubadour stuck in an industrial American landscape.  There's a sense that he's above it all, laughing at the triviality; but knowing at the same time that Laurel and this girl is all he's got.  As Bonnie Prince Billy would say, "There I see a darkness."

Give it a shot.  Let me know what you think in the comments.  For me, this album is timeless.  It's Alive no matter where or when it Arrives.


Try it HERE.
Buy it HERE.
bob
10/14/2009 02:53:28 pm

Is the T silent? That's all I want to know.

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Admin
10/27/2009 07:04:55 am

Bob. The T is not silent. I just did a little compulsory internet research...

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Dacascos
8/17/2012 06:47:48 pm

thank U so much

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Dacascos
8/17/2012 06:50:44 pm

ps: number 5 seems to be broken...
ps-bis: do U (and your father, of course...) have the Steve Forbert album released in 1982 (the one with the ya ya song)?
Thanks again, mate, cheers from an Italian Steve Forbert fan ;-)

Reply
Dacascos
8/17/2012 06:50:49 pm

ps: number 5 seems to be broken...
ps-bis: do U (and your father, of course...) have the Steve Forbert album released in 1982 (the one with the ya ya song)?
Thanks again, mate, cheers from an Italian Steve Forbert fan ;-)

Reply
Dacascos
8/17/2012 06:51:05 pm

ps: number 5 seems to be broken...
ps-bis: do U (and your father, of course...) have the Steve Forbert album released in 1982 (the one with the ya ya song)?
Thanks again, mate, cheers from an Italian Steve Forbert fan ;-)

Reply
Dacascos
8/17/2012 06:51:28 pm

ps: number 5 seems to be broken...
ps-bis: do U (and your father, of course...) have the Steve Forbert album released in 1982 (the one with the ya ya song)?
Thanks again, mate, cheers from an Italian Steve Forbert fan ;-)

Reply



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