Monday, October 29, 2012

Steve Forbert - Jackrabbit Slim. Turns out he was not Bob Dylan

Steve Forbert.  Monday morning is so perfect for a Steve Forbert record.  Born Samuel Stephen Forbert, December 13, 1954, he is an American pop music singer-songwriter.  Best known for his song "Romeo's Tune," - which by just it's name - you likely would not know it - but upon hearing it, you would certainly know it.  That tune reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1980.  I read that "even though the sleeve of the album Jackrabbit Slim (1979) [my copy shown above] states that "Romeo's Tune" is "dedicated to the memory of Florence Ballard," the song is not really about the Supremes singer who died in 1976.  The song was actually written about a girl from Forbert's home town of Meridian, Mississippi, but was dedicated to Ballard because, as Forbert explains, "That seemed like such bad news to me and such sad news.  She wasn't really taken care of by the music business, which is not a new story."   Some critics back then had hailed him at the time as the "new Bob Dylan," given his similar vocal timbre and thoughtful songwriting.  The front cover of his second album, Jackrabbit Slim, encourages such comparisons with its simplicity: a black-and-white photo of Forbert playing a well-worn Martin acoustic guitar with a capo on it, his shirt tinted green.  The record was recorded in Nashville, produced by John Simon, who had worked with The Band.  Forbert has a cameo appearance in Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" video, playing her boyfriend.  He appears at 3:44 in the official Sony video.  And I recently saw Lauper's Kinky Boots musical in the limited pre-Broadway run in Chicago - it's terrific!

1 comment:

  1. I'm not so sure I've heard "Romeo's Tune", but after listening to it I can hear the Dylan comparison, but perhaps moreso I hear it as "indie rock" long before it was invented!


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