Steve Goodman - Affordable Art

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Despite his success as a beloved singer and songwriter, Steve Goodman was an unassuming sort of guy. His songs shared simple truths while relating songs about everyday individuals who were content to celebrate the essence of life and living. His best-known song, "City Of New Orleans, " earned him mainstream success when it became a Top 20 hit by Arlo Guthrie in 1972. Included in the long list of artists who have covered the now, modern day standard are Steve Earle, Johnny Cash, Judy Collins, Allen Toussaint, Joan Baez, John Denver, and Willie Nelson whose version won the 1985 Grammy for Best Country Song and went to #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles Chart. Besides "City Of New Orleans" and his oft recalled paean to his beloved Chicago Cubs, appropriately titled "Go Cubs Go, " his devotion came from faithful fans who relished his intelligence, insights and humor. After stints with Buddah and Asylum Records, Goodman and his manager, Al Bunetta, started their own label, Red Pajamas Records. Affordable Art was the fi rst new studio album offering from the fl edgling, artist-owned independent label. Ultimately, Red Pajamas became one of the fi rst artist-owned record labels, and among the fi rst to achieve major distribution. It also served as a template when John Prine, another of Bunetta's clients, launched his own label, Oh Boy Records. Sadly, Affordable Art would be the last studio album released while Goodman was still alive. He succumbed to leukemia a year later, on September 20, 1984 at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. He was only 36. Nevertheless, he kept his self-effacing attitude intact until the very end. He even gave himself a nickname, "Cool Hand Leuk, " a measure of his determination not to let his illness get the better of him. This new edition of the album boasts eight bonus tracks, seven of which are previously unissued and are drawn from sessions in 1983. Among them are solo acoustic takes of "Vegematic, " "Old Smoothies" and a cover of Ralph McTell's, "Streets Of London." Affordable Art also contains three baseball themed tracks reflecting Goodman's lifelong love of the Chicago Cubs. The main album features his take on "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" and the hilarious "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request." The baseball theme trifecta is completed by the bonus track "Go Cubs Go, " originally released as a single for WGN Radio in 1984 and previously compiled on the No Big Surprise anthology. The reissue has been produced with the approval of the estate and is the first in a series of forthcoming reissues and projects that will delight long-time fans and offer new audiences entry points to discover the remarkable work of Steve Goodman.