Steve Goodman - vocals, guitar
Although this brilliant singer/songwriter was killed by leukemia at the age of 36, he made a lasting impact on the American music scene during his few short years as a professional musician. This show, originally recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour at the legendary Bottom Line club in New York, features Steve Goodman at the top of his game, when his singing, guitar work, and onstage comic antics kept his audiences mesmerized.
Opening with his own take on the Depression-era pop song, "Red Red Robin," Goodman does memorable takes on most of the songs he became known for. "Daley's Gone" is a scathing but comical attack against former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. "Flotilla (If You Want It Done Right, You've Got To Do It Yourself)" talks about the Watergate scandal, and "The Dutchman," a rare non-original, is a classic folk song that Goodman nails. In between his comical folk tunes ("This Hotel Room") and introspective ballads (such as "Eight Ball"), Goodman takes time to joke around with the audience, who are so quiet during this show you can hear a pin drop.
He waits until the end of the set to do his most beloved song, "City Of New Orleans." The song once caught the attention of Kris Kristofferson, who saw Goodman perform it in a Chicago folk club. That led to an introduction to Paul Anka, who secured a label deal with Buddah Records for Goodman. Shortly after the encounter with Kristofferson, Goodman ran into Arlo Guthrie in a bar. He asked Guthrie if he could play a song for him, and Guthrie agreed only if Goodman bought him a beer first. He did, and performed "City Of New Orleans," which Guthrie promptly recorded. It would be Guthrie's biggest hit single, going gold in 1972.
Goodman fought cancer nearly the whole time he was a national performer, but in his final years it prevented him from doing road gigs. He passed away in 1984. In this show, he sings a song called "Video Tape," which contains the lines "When the Grim Reaper comes, we could all pretend we are out of town. It would be the Great Escape. You could put it on video tape."