Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b 25 July '48, Chicago; d 20 Sep. '84) Singer-songwriter, guitarist in folk-country vein. Played in NYC '67, returned to U of Illinois but gave up studies '69 for full-time music. Steve Goodman '71 was auspicious debut on Buddah, incl. help from ace Nashville sidemen, fiddler Vassar Clements, etc; also his best-known song 'City Of New Orleans' (covered by Arlo Guthrie for no. 18 hit '72, also by Willie Nelson and Judy Collins). Somebody Else's Troubles '73 assured him of fame when Bob Dylan guested on it (as 'Robert Milkwood Thomas'). Words We Can Dance To '76 was followed by Say It In Private '78, which featured John Prine and Pete Seeger on 'The 20th Century Is Almost Over', later covered by Johnny Cash. Growing following pleased with Jessie's Jig And Other Favorites '76, High And Outside '79, Hot Spot '80; all LPs except first on Asylum but the last prod. for his own Red Pajamas Productions; the rest on Red Pajamas label: Artistic Hair '83, Affordable Art '84 (incl. 'A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request', amusing story-song from life-long baseball fan), Santa Anna Winds. His fine songs, wit and high spirits were stilled when a battle with leukaemia was lost. Two-disc A Tribute To Steve Goodman '85 made live in Chicago: his albums incl. help from David Amram, long-time touring partner Jethro Burns (of Homer and Jethro), David Bromberg, old friend Prine and many others; all those named plus Guthrie, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Richie Havens, John Hartford, Bonnie Raitt and others came to the party, performing mostly Goodman's songs incl. lovely version of 'I Can't Sleep' by Bonnie Koloc. In '85, at the first Newport Folk Festival since '69, Guthrie did 'City Of New Orleans' as a duet with Joan Baez, dedicated to Goodman: he is sorely missed, but he left the world a happier place. Reissues on Red Pajamas CDs incl. Unfinished Business.