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Pop/Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | Rolling Tide Music

Steve Forbert's youthful features and boyish voice certainly become misleading once his lyrics are heard. His folk-rock styled songs are usually centered around life's ups and downs and the problems of adulthood, portraying him as an artist who's just trying to get by. Alive on Arrival is an album full of earnest tunes about loneliness, self-worth, aspirations, and disappointments. Forbert's wispy, innocent sounding voice floats gently (and cuts roughly) over his acoustic guitar to homespun ditties with a down-to-earth feel. This album represents Forbert's music perfectly, and even though his latter albums sound less subtle, it is Alive on Arrival that so aptly personifies him. "Going Down to Laurel" has his voice aching about the dirtiness of the city and the beauty of his true love, and "Steve Forbert's Midsummer Night's Toast" is an interesting musical jaunt through the bittersweet world of growing up. Forbert really comes to life on "What Kinda Guy?," humorously explaining what a simplified, easygoing chap he is. The kick-back aura of Alive on Arrival puts the emphasis on the down and out Forbert while feelings of sentiment and adolescence slowly emerge with each passing song. This album makes for a great late-night listen. ~ Mike DeGagne
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Folk/Americana - Released November 7, 2013 | Rolling Tide Music

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Rock - Released February 2, 2014 | Rolling Tide Music

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Pop/Rock - Released May 11, 2004 | eOne Music

Despite popular belief to the contrary, Steve Forbert has more than one worthwhile album to his credit, but even though there are a few neglected gems in his back catalog, there are also a handful of Forbert discs that offer a couple good songs and a whole bunch of unmemorable ones, and unfortunately 2004's Just Like There's Nothin' to It falls into the latter category. Forbert's first collection of new songs since Evergreen Boy in 2000, Just Like There's Nothin' to It for the most part sounds like the work of a guy who didn't have a whole lot to say when he sat down to work up material; "The Change Song" and "The World Is Full of People" in particular both sound like one-line aphorisms that were somehow stretched out into three-verse tunes (and the fact they're back to back doesn't help the effect one bit). While "Wild as the Wind," noted as a tribute to Rick Danko, is an obviously heartfelt tip of the hat to the former Band vocalist and bassist, the odd juxtaposition of tales of his personal warmth and his appetite for cocaine makes for a less-than-engaging portrait of the man. And the bitterness of the lyrics for "I Married a Girl" contrasts jaggedly with the song's spare, folky melody, and the rough edges that have started to appear on Forbert's still boyish voice only add to the tension. Jason Lehning and Marc Muller's production on Just Like There's Nothin' to It is strong and effective without weighing down the melodies, and the well-observed "I Just Work Here" and the buoyant, poppy "Autumn This Year" show that Forbert can still write a fine song when the gears mesh properly. But that doesn't happen nearly often enough to make this disc as strong as its high points, and Just Like There's Nothin' to It isn't likely to appeal to many listeners beyond Forbert's more fervent fan base. ~ Mark Deming
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Folk/Americana - Released January 28, 2014 | Rolling Tide Music

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 3, 2017 | Rolling Tide Music

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Pop/Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | Rolling Tide Music

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Rock - Released January 1, 1998 | Rolling Tide Music

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Pop/Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | Rolling Tide Music

Being called the next Bob Dylan wasn't exactly a good thing for Steve Forbert when he hit the scene in the late '70s, first because who on earth would want that hung around his neck, and second because his approach and style were nothing much like Dylan in the first place. It was a recipe for perceived failure, and although Forbert released four very decent albums for CBS Records between 1978 and 1982 and hit the Top 20 with the infectious "Romeo's Tune" in 1979, he was dropped from his contract with the label. This set packages some of the key tracks from his CBS years and adds four live cuts and a previously unreleased one, the intriguing "Samson and Delilah's Beauty Shop," to make a good introduction to this underappreciated singer and songwriter's early years. ~ Steve Leggett
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Rock - Released January 1, 2001 | Rolling Tide Music

Far from being a collection of second-rate unfinished songs, B-sides, and live tracks that didn't make the cut because they were subpar, Young, Guitar Days is a treasure trove of 20 terrific gems from Steve Forbert's early-'80s years that sounds as fresh and inspired as anything he's released. Not only a treat for established fans, there is also enough great music here to convince even newcomers of his remarkable talents. The singer/songwriter's voice and approach have changed little over the course of his career, so these songs -- all of which originate from the early '80s -- sound like recent recordings. From the good-time pedal steel-driven country & western of "The Weekend" to the appropriately bluesy slide guitar of "No Use Running From the Blues" to the impassioned cover of Terry Stafford's "Suspicion" (complete with '60s-styled backing vocals and an early indication of Forbert's love of AM radio fare that later resulted in his take on "When You Walk in the Room"), the styles are varied but still completely identifiable as emanating from Forbert's uniquely Americana-based approach. The sound is beautifully clear, exuding an airy unforced quality, as the performances brim with the youthful enthusiasm of an artist who has already found his voice and is excited about his future. The music is contagious in its rootsy joy and the songs stand as some of the best in his catalog. Since he wrote the liner notes and chose the tracks, it's clear that Forbert agrees, making this an essential addition to his discography and a wonderful collection of songs -- regardless of why they were left to languish in obscurity for almost 20 years between their recording and 2001 release. ~ Hal Horowitz
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Pop/Rock - Released August 14, 2001 | eOne Music

Three Steve Forbert live albums have been released in only a little over five years, which may seem a little excessive for an artist whose concert performances do not match the reputation of the Grateful Dead or Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. But the earlier two, King Biscuit Flower Hour (1996) and Here's Your Pizza (1997), were archival releases, the former dating from 1982 and adequately summing up Forbert's early career, and the latter from 1987, a quirky set full of covers and less-known originals. Live at the Bottom Line, in contrast, released by Forbert's current label, KOCH, is a current look at the singer/songwriter's stage show, dating from a July 8, 2000, performance at the famed New York showcase club. Fronting his four-piece band, the Rough Squirrels, Forbert draws heavily from his recent studio records, doing six songs from his 2000 release Evergreen Boy and four from 1995's Mission of the Crossroad Palms. (1996's inconsistent Rocking Horse Head rates only one title, though.) Naturally, selected favorites from his first two albums, among them "Goin' Down to Laurel" and the hit "Romeo's Tune," are also included. Whatever period the songs come from, however, the approach is the same. Sometimes Forbert and the band rock a little harder, sometimes they ease up, but for the most part they play melodic, mid-tempo folk-rock that supports Forbert's earnest, wry lyrics, which he sings in a rusty, expressive tenor. The evenness of Forbert's music is both its chief virtue and its chief limitation: he is always pleasant and engaging, but rarely moving. In a live context, where he might be expected to kick up a fuss, he turns in tasteful recreations of his tunes. Thus, Live at the Bottom Line functions largely as a compilation of his music from the last five years. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Folk/Americana - Released November 23, 2018 | Rolling Tide Music

Little Stevie Orbit was seen as a disappointment at the time of its release because it did not generate a hit single on the order of "Romeo's Tune," and thus failed to consolidate the commercial success Steve Forbert had achieved with his second album, Jackrabbit Slim. In retrospect, however, it is a spirited, rollicking collection on which Forbert sounds increasingly comfortable fronting a rock band on a series of lighthearted songs such as "I'm an Automobile" and "If You've Gotta Ask You'll Never Know." It may not have made him a superstar, but Little Stevie Orbit provided some strong additions to Steve Forbert's concert repertoire for years to come. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Rock - Released February 7, 2014 | Rolling Tide

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Rock - Released January 1, 2004 | Rolling Tide Music

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Folk/Americana - Released February 18, 2014 | Rolling Tide Music

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Rock - Released January 1, 2000 | Rolling Tide Music

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Pop - Released May 17, 2009 | Revolution - Paladin

While Mission of the Crossroad Palms marked a rejuvenation of Steve Forbert's talents, Rocking Horse Head captures the songwriter at a bit of a stand-still. Though producer Brad Jones has assembled an excellent alternative country backing band, featuring three core members of Wilco, Forbert's songwriting is a bit inconsistent, which makes the record frustrating. Sonically, it's a tough, committed affair, but there isn't as much substance behind the sound as there should be. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released March 31, 2009 | Savoy

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Folk/Americana - Released January 1, 2009 | 429 Records

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Folk/Americana - Released August 14, 1982 | Cult Legends

While the King Biscuit Flower Hour's decision to market live recordings from its radio series was a welcome one, the company's tendency to license that material out to other companies that then repackage it without alerting customers to potential duplication is deplorable. Dutch reissue label Disky's Steve Forbert title School Girl is an abridged, re-sequenced version of the earlier Forbert release King Biscuit Flower Hour: New York 1982, not that you'd know that from the album cover. The performances are drawn from a show Forbert performed at the night club My Father's Place in Roslyn, New York, on August 14, 1982 (more information not revealed in the packaging). The original album, released in 1996, contained 19 tracks. This one cuts that to 14 by trimming two covers, of the Searchers' "When You Walk in the Room" and the Troggs' "Love Is All Around," and three Forbert originals, among them, unfortunately, two of his best songs, "Goin' Down to Laurel" and "It Isn't Gonna Be That Way." What's left still makes for a stirring performance, as Forbert and his backup band turn in frisky renditions of originals from his first four albums and throw in two Chuck Berry covers ("Too Much Monkey Business" and "Little Queenie," the latter stuck in the middle of [RoviLink="MC"]"You Cannot Win [If You Do Not Play]"[/RoviLink]). But the full-length version is far superior, and there is the added danger that a Forbert fan might spring for this import under the impression that it contains otherwise unavailable material. (By the way, Silverline's Forbert release From the Front Row Live is yet another collection of the same recordings.) ~ William Ruhlmann