"By 1988, Steve Forbert had pretty much been left for dead. His turn-of-the-decade radio hit "Romeo's Tune" seemed in retrospect to have been just a one-shot fluke, and his third and fourth albums hadn't measured up to the promise of his first two. So you could have been forgiven if you overlooked Streets Of This Town, which ended Forbert's six-year absence from the record racks.It's quite clear, though, that Forbert was still writing through that hiatus, because nearly all of the ten songs on Streets Of This Town rank with his career best. From the unapologetically optimistic opener "Running On Love", to the rockin' urgency of "Don't Tell Me (I Know)", to the aching nostalgia of "I Blinked Once", to the bleak border tale of "Mexico", to the midtempo pop drive of "On The Streets Of This Town" and "Perfect Stranger", to the perfectly-placed penultimate cut "Wait A Little Longer", to the unspeakably beautiful closer "Search Your Heart" -- this is Forbert's finest hour, from start to finish. Only "As We Live And Breathe" and "Hope, Faith And Love" don't quite measure up, but only because the quality of the rest of the disc would qualify as a greatest-hits album for any number of worthy artists.The previous reviewer who plucked out lines from a couple of songs and referred to them as examples of this album's "trite lyrics" is quite clearly someone who cannot appreciate the value of a line within the context of a song. His first example was a line that's integrally locked in to the song's structure and works perfectly within its flow; the second was a scene-setting and mood-evoking lyric that moves gracefully in step with the darkness of the music behind it.Sillier still is this guy's contention that Forbert is trying to be some sort of Springsteen ripoff. Yes, the foundation here is basic American roots-based rock 'n' roll -- but to suggest that Springsteen invented that form, or somehow has a corner on that market, is absurd. The style of both artists is fairly simple and straightforward; what ultimately distinguishes them is how they perform within it.Certainly Forbert will never be the live entertainer that The Boss is; nor will anyone else, for that matter. But as a songwriter, Forbert more than holds his own. Streets Of This Town is easily on par with Springsteen's release from the same year, Tunnel Of Love (though they're very different records in mood and tone). The fact that Forbert's album was produced by the E Street Band's Garry Tallent might further invite comparisons between the two in terms of their style; but my guess is that Tallent wanted to work with Forbert simply because he knows an ace songwriter when he hears one."
One of his best
stu | San Francisco | 06/11/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I read an interview with Forbert recently in USA Today (in a collection of articles about people who spend most of the year travelling) and it claimed that some of his albums had sold as little as 5000 copies. That is simply incomprehensible. It's enormous shame that someone as talented as this isn't getting his just rewards. This is one of his best albums and a great place to start with his music. His raspy croon is so delightful he could get away with reciting the phone book. There are some great songs here, in particular I Blinked Once, and the collection is given a great and sympathetic production with an energetic live sound. If you like this, then definitely check out the sublime The American in Me."
Someone should package this and THE AMERICAN IN ME on a
greyhoundude | Corvallis, OR | 07/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"single disc (total running time: "
A Forgotten Masterpiece
Greg Fagan | Charlottesville, VA | 07/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a sterling record that deserves to be on any list of best albums ever made (I would place it in the top 25). Steve Forbert has always been a first-rate songwriter and performer, and remains so to this day. He has never made a bad record, but Streets of This Town is truly his finest piece of work.
With his distinctive singing voice and even more distinctive phrasing - he never writes in cliches - Forbert has never been better, and there's not a weak song to be found. My personal favorite is Hope, Faith, and Love, but the whole record is first-rate.
Even after 20 years, this remains one of my most listened to CDs, and I never tire of it. I don't agree at all with the reviewer who complains of "trite lyrics." One line that he cites from Perfect Stranger, "Lifeline glances and steamboat chances," rather than being trite, is a perfect illustration of Forbert's ability to say a lot (in this case, about the feeling of being in love and having a powerful connection with a woman) with few words and in a very clever and original way. In my opinion, that's a great turn of a phrase.
If you've never heard Forbert, I urge you to buy this record (and others by him). In addition to the terrific songwriting, Forbert is backed by a top-notch band, and Garry Tallent (bass player for the E-Street band) provides excellent production work.
It's a shame that Forbert has never been been given his proper due as an artist. In my opinion, he ranks among the best, along with Springsteen, Tom Petty, James Taylor, John Hiatt, and John Mellencamp."