There is no denying Steve Goodman’s impact on the world of songwriting. And, while Omnivore Recordings’ reissues of his Red Pajamas label material included a slew of demo recordings, radio sessions, live material, and even a rarities set, there has been no comprehensive collection of his classic songs.
The Best of Steve Goodman, due out November 5, 2021 on CD and Digital from Omnivore, is just that: 19 career-spanning tracks — studio recordings, live tracks, and demos — showcasing not only this cherished artist’s acclaimed songwriting, but also displaying his endearing versatility in front of the microphone as a performer.
Included are such gems as “City of New Orleans,” presented as a previously unissued solo demo; “You Never Even Call Me by My Name,” a John Prine co-write, heard here for the first time since its broadcast on the 1982 HBO special Johnny Cash’s America; the “Go Cubs Go” single recorded for WGN-AM Radio; live versions of fan favorites “Vegematic” and “Banana Republics”; and two nods to Goodman’s hometown of Chicago: “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request” and “Lincoln Park Pirates.”
Beloved songs “The Dutchman,” “Souvenirs,” and “Video Tape” also make their requisite appearances.
Produced for release by Grammy®-winner Cheryl Pawelski, mastered by fellow Grammy®-winner Michael Graves, and with full approval from the Steve Goodman estate, The Best of Steve Goodman features photos and new liner notes from journalist and author Lee Zimmerman.
From Zimmerman’s notes: “It is clear while revisiting this material that Steve Goodman was not only a multi-faceted artist but a man whose music was, like itself, flush with varied perspectives, whether through humor, homily or the unflinching reality that he conveyed through his critical commentary. In a sense he was a musical Everyman — knowing yet nuanced, clever yet never condescending, wistful yet still relating to anyone who finds reason to celebrate success while retaining the wisdom and determination to face all the challenges tossed his way.”
Either as an introduction, or a necessary addition to any Goodman collection, The Best of Steve Goodman tells the story of this incredible performer and songwriter in an entirely new way.
1. City of New Orleans (Solo Demo)
2. Yellow Coat
3. Would You Like to Learn to Dance
4. You Never Even Call Me by My Name (Live on Johnny Cash’s America)
5. The Dutchman (Radio Session)
6. Chicken Cordon Bleus (Live)
7. Lincoln Park Pirates (Live)
8. This Hotel Room (Live)
9. Banana Republics (Live)
10. Video Tape (Radio Session)
11. My Old Man (Live)
12. Men Who Love Women Who Love Men (Live)
13. Talk Backwards
15. Vegematic (Live)
16. A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request (Live)
17. Go Cubs Go (WGN Radio's Cubs Theme) - Goodman with Chicago Cubs Chorus
18. Face on the Cutting Room Floor
19. As Time Goes By