VIDEO: Steve Goodman’s 70th Birthday Tribute

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With Clay Eals, author of `Steve Goodman, Facing The Music

Steve Goodman

On July 25, 2018, the author Clay Eals joined Russ Locke and a host of L.A. musicians to celebrate the life and music of the late great Steve Goodman on what would have been his 70th birthday at the Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena. It was the ideal location for this show, as Goodman’s songs (those he wrote and those he didn’t but performed, such as the classic “The Dutchman” by Michael Smith) have been performed at this venue many times over the years. In fact, when Smith came to L.A. to perform, this is the place he’d play. 

Folk Legends Michael Smith & Bob Stane at Coffee Gallery Backstage, Altadena, California. Photo by Paul Zollo/American Songwriter

To devoted Steve Goodman fans, Eals is a champion for writing this book about this beloved musician who left us so young. Clay’s book Steve Goodman, Facing The Music is as substantial,  compelling and expansive as Goodman’s gregarious spirit. Goodman’s best pal John Prine was so impressed by the breadth of the book, which is as serious and large as a biography of Dickens, that he just laughed with disbelief when discussing it

“The amount of people he interviewed for that book,” Prine said, “was amazing.”  

He even bragged about reading all of it. John, as many know, preferred Archie comics to big books.

He told a story about Goodman, and then said, “And I should know, because I read the entire Clay Eals book!”

Clay is both a serious and diligent historian but also a serious song-lover, a perfect combination of attributes to write this book. He brought that love and knowledge of his subject to this concert, working with Russ Locke, who brought together all the musicians. The film was shot by Aaron Torres.

We’re grateful to Clay for his work celebrating the legacy and history of this singular songwriting spirit. Anyone ever writing a great biography of a songwriter deserves acclaim. But to do it at this level for this songwriter, so beloved and yet still a secret hero to many, is exceptional. A book so great that John Prine bragged about reading all of it.

Clay Eals, author of `Steve Goodman: Facing the Music

CLAY EALS: It was an honor to take part in the Steve Goodman 70th birthday tribute. The L.A. area has so many talented musicians, and those who gathered on July 25, 2018, to put on this show were clearly wearing their hearts and souls on their collective sleeve.

I’ve done more than seventy music events all over the country related to my Steve Goodman biography since it was first published 13 years ago, and I’ve found musicians in every town who carry on Goodman’s legacy and eager to be associated with him by playing his songs in public, purely out of the goodness of their heart. And that’s what happened at this tribute show.

Russ Locke superbly organized the show, even fitting in a NYC-based friend of Steve’s, Perry Barber, to supply intense performances of two of his best songs along with heartfelt memories. 

Bob Stane, the venerable venue owner, provided his Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena, echoing the generous spirit of Steve himself. And the range of songs — including covers of Michael Smith and Shel Silverstein tunes that Steve himself popularized — was astounding.

I was grateful to be able to provide the background and context for the inevitable evolution of Steve’s “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request” to “Go, Cubs, Go,” and I was buoyed by the durability of all ten musicians who came on stage at the finale to help me perform the longest version of “City of New Orleans” you’ve ever heard.

As Goodman exemplified, yes, it’s about the music, and at an even deeper level, it’s about the relationships. I feel fortunate to have built friendships with those who contributed their time, talent and heart to pull off this show. It’s a safe bet to say that this won’t be the last one.

Ten musicians collaborated to present a concert tribute to Goodman on what would have been his 70th birthday, on July 25, 2018, at the Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena, California.

This video, from July 25, 2018 at the Coffee Gallery Backstage  runs two hours and 23 minutes, and features many of Goodman’s most famous songs, along with personal stories from the musicians.

The musicians were locals Russ and Bob Locke, Robert Morgan Fisher, Paul Zollo, Tom Hubbard, Ed Tree, Ray Sabo, Dennis Van Dyck and Tracy McMahon, along with Perry Barber of New York. We had a lot of fun putting on this show, and we hope you enjoy the video.

Special thanks to videographer Aaron Torres, to organizer Russ Locke and to Bob Stane, the venerable and generous owner of the Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena. 

If you watch this video, you will absorb the impact of a peerless entertainer who could make us all laugh, cry, think and laugh all over again at this thing called life — and you will become part of the legion who prove that Goodman people are everywhere!

Steve Goodman 70th Birthday Celebration. July 25, 2018.

FIRST HALF

1. “East St. Louis Tweedle-Dee” (Steve Goodman)
Starts at 01:08 (total: 2:17)
Russ Locke, vocal/guitar
Bob Locke, vocal/guitar
Ray Sabo, guitar
Ed Tree, guitar
Dennis Van Dyck, bass guitar
Tracy McMahon, percussion

2. “In Real Life”
(Steve Goodman & Bill LaBounty)

Starts at 05:16 (total: 3:09)

Russ Locke, vocals/guitar
Bob Locke, vocals/harmonica
Ray Sabo, guitar
Ed Tree, guitar
Dennis Van Dyck, bass guitar
Tracy McMahon, percussion

3. “You Never Even Call Me by My Name”
(Steve Goodman & John Prine)

Starts at 9:09 (total: 3:58)
Ed Tree, vocal/guitar
Russ Locke, vocal/mandolin
Bob Locke, vocal/percussion
Dennis Van Dyck, bass guitar
Tracy McMahon, percussion

4. “Chicken Cordon Bleus”
(Steve Goodman, Paula Ballan & Toni Mandel)
Starts at 13:38 (total: 2:19)
Russ Locke, vocals/guitar
Bob Locke, vocals/harmonica
Ed Tree, guitar
Dennis Van Dyck, bass guitar
Tracy McMahon, percussion

5. “I Can’t Sleep”
(Steve Goodman)
Starts at 16:55 (total: 2:53)

Tom Hubbard, vocal

6. “The I Don’t Know Where I’m Goin’ but I’m Goin’ Nowhere in a Hurry Blues”
(Steve Goodman)

Starts at 20:26 (total: 3:48)
Tom Hubbard, vocal
Robert Morgan Fisher, guitar

7. “Lookin’ for Trouble”
(Steve Goodman)
Starts at 28:18 (total: 5:56)
Perry Barber, vocal/guitar
Ed Tree, guitar

8. “The Ballad of Penny Evans”|
(Steve Goodman)
Starts at 36:11 (total: 3:22)

Perry Barber, vocal

9. “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request”
(Steve Goodman)
Starts at 50:24 (total: 7:03)
Clay Eals, vocal
Russ Locke, guitar

10. ”Go Cubs Go”
(Steve Goodman)

Starts at 1:02:03 (total: 2:07)
Clay Eals, vocal
Russ Locke, guitar

11. “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request”
(new chorus Howard Fields)
Starts at 1:07:55 (total: 0:44)
Clay Eals, vocal
Russ Locke, guitar

INTERMISSION:

12. “Happy Birthday”
(Patty & Mildred J. Hill)
Starts at 1:09:24 (total: 0:20)

All, vocal

SECOND HALF

13. “The Last Day of Pompeii”
(Michael Smith)
Starts at 1:11:00 (total: 3:03)
Russ Locke, vocal/mandolin
Bob Locke, vocal/percussion
Ed Tree, guitar
Dennis Van Dyck, bass guitar
Tracy McMahon, percussion

14. “Three-Legged Man”
(Shel Silverstein)
Starts at 1:15:02 (total: 3:36)
Russ Locke, vocal/guitar
Bob Locke, vocal/percussion
Ed Tree, guitar
Dennis Van Dyck, bass guitar
Tracy McMahon, percussion

15. “Spoon River”
(Michael Smith)

Starts at 1:20:22 (total: 5:29)
Paul Zollo, vocal/guitar
Russ Locke, mandolin
Bob Locke, harmonica

16. “Moby Book”
(Steve Goodman)

Starts at 1:28:42 (total: 4:33)
Paul Zollo, vocal/guitar
Ed Tree, guitar
Bob Locke, harmonica
Dennis Van Dyck, bass guitar
Tracy McMahon, percussion

17. “Goodman” screenplay story
Starts at 1:34:34 (total: 4:38)
Robert Morgan Fisher

18. “My Old Man”
(Steve Goodman)
Starts at 1:40:01 (total: 3:19
Robert Morgan Fisher, vocal/guitar

19. “Turnpike Tom”
(Steve Goodman)
Starts at 1:43:30 (total: 4:41)
Robert Morgan Fisher, vocal/guitar

20. Arlo Guthrie story and book intro
Starts at 1:50:27 (total: 9:06)
Clay Eals

FINALE

21. “City of New Orleans”
(Steve Goodman)
Starts at 1:59:56 (total: 22:06)

Clay Eals, vocal
Russ Locke, vocal/mandolin
Robert Morgan Fisher, vocal/guitar
Bob Locke, vocal
Tom Hubbard, vocal
Perry Barber, vocal/guitar
Paul Zollo, vocal/guitar
Ray Sabo, vocal/guitar
Ed Tree, vocal/guitar
Dennis Van Dyck, bass guitar
Tracy McMahon, percussion

One more thing to share with you. This 20-minute podcast about Steve Goodman from WBEZ-FM Chicago also was released. It is irresistible: The Man Behind The Baseball Ballad.

For more on Clay Eals and his book: Steve Goodman: Facing The Music

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