Until someone stumbles across that missing score to Scott Joplin’s A Guest Of Honor, we have to trust that fate will gift us with unexpected pleasures such as this performance by the late and beloved Steve Goodman. Recorded in the summer of ’78 and then immediately lost and forgotten, this tape preserves a strong sense of time and place: Goodman’s tremulous but inviting vocals, smooth stage pacing, vigorous guitar chops, and hootenanny humor tempt us to remember the days of his life as more innocent than they were. Of course, there is something to be said for a time when Jethro Burns could amble up to the stage and rip mandolin licks through Goodman’s starry-eyed “The Family Tree”, and that optimistic transformation of a gospel favorite into “When The Cubs Go Marching In” does prove that some things never do change after all.
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