Album Review

Various Artists - My Old Man: A Tribute To Steve Goodman

Various Artists - My Old Man: A Tribute To Steve Goodman

Like his beloved and tragicomic Cubs, Chicago singer-songwriter Steve Goodman has never quite gotten the acclaim he deserves. The reasons certainly differ: The Cubs don't because they've been the doormat of the National League for nearly a century, while Goodman enjoys the much less damning legacy of being known more for winking numbers like "You Never Even Called Me By My Name" and, well, "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request" than for his near-automatic harmonies. But the smartly off-kilter Windy City son -- who was slated to sing at Game 1 of the Cubs' 1984 playoffs but succumbed to leukemia just eleven days beforehand -- has seen his influence remain lively, as this tribute assembled by Goodman's daughter Rosanna attests. Highlights include Matt Keating & Emily Spray swaying through the heartbreakingly pretty "Danger", and Luther Wright & the Wrongs' nutball novelty take on the requisite "City Of New Orleans", now a part eulogy in any context. Also featured are coffeehouse up-and-comers such as Ana Egge ("Old Fashioned"), Chris Brown (the lovely "Yellow Coat") and Kate Fenner ("I Just Keep Falling In Love"); they lend the disc a nicely reverent, low-key tone. Rosanna Goodman contributes -- what else -- "My Old Man", but her greater gift lies in helping keep her dad's music fresh and vital. Even if his baseball team isn't.