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Sunday, 4 June 2017

Soulfire - Little Steven (May 2017)

 πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ
Soulfire - Little Steven
Wicked Cool Records/Universal Music Enterprises
Produced by Steven Van Zandt
Released 19th May 2017


 Tracklisting and Songwriting Credits
1 Soulfire 4:34 - Written By – Anders Bruus, Steve Van Zandt
2 I'm Coming Back 4:17 - Written By – Steve Van Zandt
3 Blues Is My Business 6:23 - Written By – Kevin Bowe, Todd Cerney
4 I Saw The Light 4:25 - Written By – Steve Van Zandt
5 Some Things Just Don't Change 4:03 - Written By – Steve Van Zandt
6 Love On The Wrong Side Of Town 3:52 - Written By –Bruce Springsteen, Steve Van Zandt
7 The City Weeps Tonight 3:30 - Written By – Steve Van Zandt
8 Down And Out In New York City 6:27 - Written By – Barry De Vorzon, Bodie Chandler
9 Standing In The Line Of Fire 4:33 - Written By – Gary Anderson (Gary U.S. Bonds), L. Anderson, Steve Van Zandt
10 Saint Valentine's Day     5:20 - Written By – Steve Van Zandt
11 I Don't Want To Go Home 4:20 - Written By – Steve Van Zandt
12 Ride The Night Away 5:20 - Written By – Steve Jordan, Steve Van Zandt

Playlist Includes
Soulfire (Official Audio)
I'm Coming Back (Live Paramount Theater, Asbury Park 22nd May 2017)
Blues Is My Business (Official Audio)
Some Things Just Don't Change (Live O2 London 29/10/16)
Love On The Wrong Side Of Town (Official Audio)
The City Weeps Tonight  (Live Count Basie Theater, Red Bank NJ 27/05/17)
Down And Out In NYC (Live O2 London 29/10/16)
Saint Valentine's Day (Official Audio) 
I Don't Want To Go Home (Live Paramount Theater, Asbury Park 22nd May 2017) 
Ride The Night Away (Live Paramount Theater, Asbury Park 22nd May 2017) 

Personnel
Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar – Stevie Van Zandt  
  Backing Vocals – Audrey Martells, Cindy Mizelle, Elaine Caswell, Lajuan Carter, Martha Redbone, Tawatha Agee, The Persuasions (tracks: 7, 11)
    Baritone Saxophone – Ed Manion
    Bass – Jack Daley
 Drums – Rich Mercurio
    Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar,    
       Organ, Piano, Strings – Andy Burton
    Percussion – Daniel Sadownick
    Piano – Clifford Carter
    Tenor Saxophone – Steven Salcedo
    Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Stan Harrison
    Trombone – Ian Gray (track 8), Michael Davis
    Trumpet – Don Nissenbaum, John Martin, Kent Smith, Steve Jankowski
    Violin, Viola – Jonathan Dinklage

Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul
Count Basie Theater, Red Bank NJ
May 27, 2017
FM Broadcast
Setlist
“Soulfire”
“I’m Coming Back”
“Among the Believers”
“The Blues Is My Business”
“Love on the Wrong Side of Town”
“Until the Good Is Gone”
“Standing in the Line of Fire”
“I Saw the Light”
“Some Things Just Don’t Change”
“Saint Valentine’s Day”
“Salvation”
“The City Weeps Tonight”
“Down and Out in New York City”
“Princess of Little Italy”
“The Time of Your Life”
“Solidarity”
“Leonard Peltier”
“I Am a Patriot”
“Ride the Night Away”
“Bitter Fruit”
“Forever”
“It’s Been a Long Time” (with Bruce Springsteen)
“Tenth Avenue Freeze-out” (with Bruce Springsteen)
“I Don’t Want to Go Home” (with Bruce Springsteen)

Encore:
“Can I Get a Witness” (with Bruce Springsteen)

**************

It's been 18 years since the last album from Little Steven (Born Again Savage 1999) but you could forgive him for that as he has been just a wee bit busy with other projects such as his acting career on Lilyhammer; his production work for the likes of Darlene Love's Introducing Album; his work as a Radio Host and Program Director for Little Steven's Underground Garage;  running his own Record Label Wicked Cool Records; being Musical Director for a Music Selection Commitee for the Video Game Rock Band; being the founder of the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation that provides musical education with a chronological anthology tracing the history of Rock and Roll from its roots to present day, highlighting the cultural impact and significance of each era of the genre as it relates to the events and changes that took place in the history of the country and of the world. This program provides an entire rock n roll curriculum appropriate for middle and high schools (you can find out more about that here); oh, and on top of that he has been quite busy the past 18 years touring as a member of The E Street Band!

Now, I will say this quietly so as not to upset the masses who refuse to speak anything critical relating to Steve Van Zandt (or toward Bruce Springsteen and other members of The E Street Band), I was never a huge fan of Little Steven as a vocalist with The E Street Band but, and it's a BIG BUT, when it comes to arranging and producing he's crazy good at what he does. That voice, which I didn't care so much for, really does shine though on his new album Soulfire.

The album has so many deft touches to it that I scarcely know where to begin. It Rocks, it has Soul, it has a spot of Doo Wop, it has guitar sounds that remind you of sixties Garage Rock and it's all arranged by the man himself as he draws together some fine musicians to bring to life his vision. There's wee glimpses of The E Street Band, as well as that of the Phil Spector Wall of Sound. Half of the tracks come from the pen of Van Zandt himself with the standouts being the title track Soulfire, I'm Coming Back, The City Weeps Tonight and Saint Valentine's Day. Standing In The Line of Fire, a co-write with Gary U.S. Bonds (whom Little Steven has produced for in the past) is real quality and Love On The Wrong Side of Town, a co-write with Springsteen shines sweetly.

The one thing that stood out overall for me though was that there is not (to my mind) a track that I would wish to skip over. The whole album is a brilliant listening experience and where I might have been a bit overly critical in the past regarding his vocal abilities he has arranged the music in such a manner that those deficiences all but disappear.

The album gets a bigπŸ‘from me and is one of my favourite releases so far this year!

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