Picks and Pans Review: Streets of This Town

updated 09/12/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/12/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Steve Forbert

Sure, you remember the name. Right. That's Romeo's Tune, his 1979 hit, you're probably singing to yourself, "Meet me in the middle of the day/ Let me hear you say everything's okay/ Bring me Southern kisses from your room." Well, Little Steven—no, wait, Forbert must be Medium-size Steven—hit on some hard times after his initial success and then faded into the background in 1984. Streets of This Town doesn't possess the freshness or romantic flavor of his 1978 debut, Alive on Arrival, but his acoustic guitar work is that of a dedicated craftsman. Garry Tallent from the E Street Band produced this neatly arranged group of 10 songs, from the nostalgic grace of I Blinked Once to the roots-rock feel of Wait a Little Longer. Forbert is still very much the Dylan-esque troubadour, and those years since 1984—back to playing dives after his late-'70s glory—seem to have been sobering for him. Listen to him on Hope, Faith and Love:" I need hope to hold up my head in this town/ I need faith to get out of bed when I'm down/ When my dreams are falling and all that I've tried has gone wrong/ I need love to move on ahead and be strong." Musically he has ventured beyond his folkie boundaries a bit, and thanks to Tallent's influence, Forbert can sound like a member of the Boss's famous band or a Mellencamp clone. In/ Blinked Once he sings, perhaps about his own career, "It kicked off madly with a New Year's cheer/ I blinked once and it was gone." With this strong effort, he's back on track. (Geffen)

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