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Steve Goodman

Growing up in what he called "a Midwestern middle-class Jewish family," Steve Goodman began playing the guitar as a teenager. He was influenced by the folk revival of the early '60s and by country performers such as Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams. After attending college in the mid-'60s, he turned to playing in Chicago clubs by night and writing commercial jingles by day. In 1971, he opened for Kris Kristofferson and was seen by Paul Anka, who financed demo recordings that led to a contract with Buddah Records and the release of Steve Goodman, which featured his train song "The City of New Orleans," a Top 40 hit for Arlo Guthrie in 1972 and now a folk standard. Goodman made a second album for Buddah, Somebody Else's Troubles (1973), then broke with the label, which went on to issue an outtakes record, The Essential Steve Goodman (1975). Goodman moved to the singer/songwriter-oriented West Coast label Asylum for his first charting album Jessie's Jig & Other Favorites in 1975, the same year that outlaw country singer David Allen Coe made the Top Ten of the country charts with a cover of his "You Never Even Called Me by My Name" from the Steve Goodman album. Goodman's subsequent Asylum albums were Words We Can Dance To (April 1976) (featuring "Banana Republics," popularized by Jimmy Buffett), Say It in Private (October 1977), High and Outside (February 1979), and Hot Spot (1980). None became a major commercial success, but Goodman established himself on the national club and festival circuits, frequently appearing with mandolin player Jethro Burns, formerly of the country duo Homer & Jethro. Goodman turned record producer for his friend and fellow Chicagoan John Prine on Prine's 1978 album Bruised Orange. In 1983, Goodman followed Prine in establishing his own independent label, Red Pajamas, which released the live Artistic Hair and Affordable Art (1984). Goodman died of leukemia after battling the disease for many years. Red Pajamas released Santa Ana Winds (1984) posthumously, as well as a double-disc LP drawn from a concert in his memory, A Tribute to Steve Goodman, which featured John Prine, Bonnie Raitt, and others. After a second posthumous release, Unfinished Business, Red Pajamas licensed the Asylum material and put out two Best of the Asylum Years compilations. ~ William Ruhlmann
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Live At The Earl Of Old Town

1. Intro

2. Lincoln Park Pirates (Live)

3. Red, Red Robin (Live)

4. Three-Legged Man (Live)

5. I'll Fly Away (Live)

6. Grand Canyon Song (Live)

7. Men Who Love Women Who Love Men (Live)

8. What Have You Done For Me Lately? (Live)

9. Hand It To You (Live)

10. The Family Tree (Live)

11. Truck Driving Man (Live)

12. The Auctioneer (Live)

13. Lost Highway (Live)

14. City Of New Orleans (Live)

15. Let's Give A Party (Live)

16. Rockin' Robin (Live)

17. When The Cubs Go Marching In (Live)

18. Old Smoothies (Live)


Track List: The Easter Tapes

1. Introduction

2. Red Red Robin

3. The I Don't Know Where I'm Goin', But I'm Goin' Nowhere In A Hurry Blues

4. Blue Skies (live)

5. This Hotel Room

6. I Can't Sleep (live)

7. Banana Republic

8. City Of New Orleans

9. Chicken Cordon Bleus

10. It's A Sin To Tell A Lie (live)

11. Easter Parade

12. Video Tape

13. Big Iron

14. Somebody Else's Troubles

15. Don't Fence Me In

16. 18 Yellow Roses

17. Splish Splash (live)

18. Rudolph The Red-Nosed (Easter) Reindeer

19. Runaway


Track List: Anthology: No Big Surprise

Disc 1

1. Between the Lines

2. Take Me out to the Ballgame

3. Go Cubs Go

4. City of New Orleans

5. Would You Like to Learn to Dance?

6. Souvenirs

7. Red Ball Jets

8. The One That Got Away

9. Talk Backwards

10. If She Were You

11. Danger

13. Yellow Coat

14. Banana Republics

15. California Promises

16. Bobby Don't Stop

17. My Old Man

18. This Hotel Room

19. Where's the Party?

20. I Just Keep Falling in Love

21. Watchin' Joey Glow

22. The Dutchman

23. In Real Life

Disc 2

1. Chicken Cordon Bleus

4. Turnpike Tom

6. Lincoln Park Pirates

7. Wonderful World of Sex

8. Vegematic

9. A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request

11. The Auctioneer

12. The Broken String Song

13. Just Lucky I Guess

14. I'll Fly Away

15. It's a Sin to Tell a Lie

17. You Never Even Call Me by My Name

18. Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes

19. As Time Goes By


Track List: The Best Of The Asylum Years, Volume Two

1. This Hotel Room

2. Bobby Don't Stop

3. Men Who Love Women Who Love Men

4. That's What Friends Are For

5. Just Lucky I Guess

6. My Old Man

7. Video Tape

8. Danger

9. Door Number Three

10. I Can't Sleep

11. You Can Turn To Me

12. Spoon River


Track List: The Best Of The Asylum Years, Volume One

1. Between The Lines

3. Hand It To You

4. Death Of A Salesman

5. Still Trying To Care

6. The Twentieth Century Is Almost Over

7. Banana Republics

8. Two Lovers

9. I'm Attracted To You

10. One Bite Of The Apple

11. The One That Got Away


Track List: Unfinished Business

1. Whispering Man

2. Mind Over Matter

3. God Bless Our Mobile Home

4. Millie Make Some Chili

5. In Real Life

6. (Now And Then There's) A Fool Such As I

7. Don't Get Sand In It

8. The Dutchman

9. Colorado Christmas

10. My Funny Valentine


Track List: Santa Ana Winds

1. Face On The Cutting Room Floor

2. Telephone Answering Tape

3. The One That Got Away

4. Queen Of The Road

5. Fourteen Days

6. Hot Tub Refugee

7. I Just Keep Falling In Love

8. The Big Rock Candy Mountain

9. Santa Ana Winds

10. You Better Get It While You Can (The Ballad Of Carl Martin)


Track List: Affordable Art

1. If Jethro Were Here

2. Vegematic (Live)

3. Old Smoothies

4. Talk Backwards

5. How Much Tequila

6. When My Rowboat Comes In

7. Souvenirs

8. Take Me Out To The Ballgame

9. A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request

10. California Promises

11. Watchin' Joey Glow

12. Grand Canyon Song


Track List: Hot Spot

1. Danger

2. Bobby Don't Stop

3. Sometimes Love Forgets

4. Still Trying To Care

5. Hit And Run Lover

6. Trust Me

7. Part Of Your Life

8. Can't Find My Heart

9. Sdrawkcab Klat (Talk Backwards)


Track List: High And Outside

1. Just Lucky I Guess

2. You Can Turn To Me

3. The One That Got Away

4. Hand It To You

5. Luxury's Lap

6. That's Why (I Love You So)

7. One Bite Of The Apple

8. It Would Be (You And Me)

9. Men Who Love Women Who Love Men

10. What Have You Done For Me Lately (live)


Track List: Say It In Private

1. I'm Attracted To You

2. You're The Girl I Love

3. Video Tape

4. There's A Girl In The Heart Of Maryland

5. Two Lovers

6. Is It True What They Say About Dixie?

7. Weary Blues From Waitin'

8. Daley's Gone

9. My Old Man

10. The Twentieth Century Is Almost Over


Track List: Words We Can Dance To

1. Roving Cowboy

2. Tossin' And Turnin'

3. Unemployed

4. BetweenThe Lines

5. Old Fashioned

6. Can't Go Back

7. Banana Republics

8. Death Of A Salesman

9. Thats What Friends Are For

10. The Glory Of Love


Track List: Jessie's Jig & Other Favorites

1. Door Number Three

2. Blue Umbrella

3. This Hotel Room

4. Spoon River

5. Jessie's Jig

6. It's A Sin To Tell A Lie

7. I Can't Sleep

8. Moby Book

9. Lookin' For Trouble

10. Mama Don't Allow It


Track List: Somebody Else's Troubles

1. The Dutchman

2. Six Hours Ahead Of The Sun

3. Song For David

4. Chicken Cordon Bleus

5. Somebody Else's Troubles

6. The Loving Of The Game

7. I Ain't Heard You Play No Blues

8. Don't Do Me Any Favors Anymore

9. The Vegetable Song

10. Lincoln Park Pirates

11. Ballad Of Penny Evans

12. I'm My Own Grandpa

13. The Auctioneer


Track List: Steve Goodman

1. The I Don't Know Where I'm Goin', But I'm Goin' Nowhere In A Hurry Blues

2. Rainbow Road

3. Donald & Lydia

4. You Never Even Call Me By My Name

5. Mind Your Own Business

6. Eight Ball Blues

7. City Of New Orleans

8. Turnpike Tom

9. Yellow Coat

10. So Fine

11. Jazzman

12. Would You Like To Learn To Dance?

13. Election Year Rag

14. Georgia Rag


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Go Cubs Go
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I have some land in central Texas, when I retire it's gonna be the Blue Umbrella Ranch...Alre a d y have the gate designed. Steve and John P. great mid west writers....
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I'm really moved every time I hear 'The Dutchman.' A brilliant piece of songwriting; Steve Goodman performs it well but I don't think anyone could mess it up. Didn't know Michael Smith wrote it--or anything about him for that matter--I'll have to check him out.
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John Prine & Steve Goodman! Anybody remember the Amazing Grace? There's more, but only players or people of the Chicahagah of late 60's & 70's, and so many other folkies
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I went through Junior High School and High School with Steve. We did the sweet 16 parties and the bar mitzvahs! Such fun...and when playing with him he was modest, yet bigger than life. ... you knew you were in the presence of someone special. I miss you, Steve.
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I think csobotka56 was referring to the Earl of Old Town bar on Wells St. which was across the street from Second City in what used to be called Piper's Alley. Earl Pionki owned the bar. The sculpture storefront where the cover photo for Affordable Art was taken was just around the corner.
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Saw him and Bonnie Kolac at the Earliest if Old Town. Loved that show
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Saw Goodman and Prine with my wife in Mobile Al in the mid 70's. During the encore, Steve broke a couple of strings, then got on one knee and started blasting out ' Mammy'.
Turned out that Al Jolsen had played that old theater 50 years earlier. Steve learned that before the show, then used it when his encore was about ruined by the strings breaking.
Best concert moment of my life - my hair still tingles.
Wish Steve could have seen his beloved Cubs run for the pennant this year. He's buried
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could make you laugh one minute, cry the next. Musicians like him come around once every century. Creativity like a comet, zoomed though our lives if you had an keen enough eye to see the streak. Words can't describe him, only his words could. A true Illuminata
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Died too soon... he was so special..
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Steve was a genius, never to be duplicated
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Trudi Goodman nailed it in comments below: Steve Goodman's songs were heartfelt and infectious. You couldn't describe it any better than those two words.
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Steve wrote some great songs with his good friend John Prine, and always credited John. The Dutchman, (an absolutely beautiful song), was written by Michael Smith-also from the Chicago area and still performing.
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John Prine wrote this song don Simms
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Best Steve Goodman song ever!!!
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Cracking up right now hearing this! I'd forgotten!!! Been in CA too long :-/
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Saw Steve Goodman in Milwaukee in Sept. 1971 where he opened for, then stole the show from, Kristofferso n . Then saw him with my wife 3 years later - two Milwaukee guys opened for him; while they were playing, our month-old son got hungry, so my wife took him to the hallway to nurse. As she told the story, a small, jolly guy with a big guitar strolled along strumming a tune, and said she looked too young to be a mom; promised to play one for the kid! Have loved & missed him for many years!
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Wayne Brady's favorite song
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I know he is singing for the Angels. But I can't help but wish he was here singing for us and the Cubs.
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I saw Steve and John Prine together in Ft Collins CO many years ago what a treat.
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I was fortunate enough to see Steve in concert several times, mostly in very small venues. Best live performer I've ever seen--terrif i c charisma and presence. Artistic Hair my favorite album/cd.
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if you love steve goodman check out his is so full of energy.... . . i never saw him live....bu t the vibe from this dvd is unbelievab l e . . . . s u c h a gift to us all.....
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Let me explain.... my last name is Goodman. Some of my people were from the Ukraine too. Jewish too. : ) T
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I love his music. I wish I was related to him. His music is so heartfelt and so infectious. When I was a college dj, I used to play The Dutchman. By the way, it's about a man and his wife. I have several of his albums, mostly found in second hand record stores with my ex. My ex left, but I kept the records. Those and Phil Ochs and John Prine. To listen to John Prine sing with Steve Goodman is amazing. You just hear the love that they had for each other. Mr. Goodman was a mensch!!!!!!
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The shooting star of his generation. Long live the memory of Cool Hand Leuk
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Great singer songwriter and one hell of a guitar picker!!
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Often this of his tribute to the Cub fan who was buried at Wrigley field! Loved this guy!!
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Steve was my cousin. I never go to see him perform wish I could have. My Mom and him were first cousins and she taught me all about him. She said he sang me Go Cubs Go when I was little! hahahahahhaa
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I had the opportunity to meet Steve a couple of times, interview him once and see him play live a bunch of times. One of the greatest live performers you will ever see. I miss him a lot. If I had one musical wish it would be to see Steve Goodman on stage one more time.
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I feel absolutely blessed to have seen him perform at the Earl of Oldtown in Chicago about 35 years ago or so. Amazing....
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I came across Steve due to The City of New Orleans, one of my favorite tunes. But then I started listening to his other stuff and was totally entranced. I can't even imagine being able to see him in person. I too fought a form of leukemia in 2007, and listening to his music helped get me through. Souvenirs is my all time favorite song. Most of the versions have Steve and John Prine singing together. Cool Hand Luek, Gone Way Too Soon!
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My favorite by Steve was Spoon River. I saw him and John Prine perform several times at the Philadelphia Folk Festival. Steve has always had a special place in my heart and was taken from us too soon. I miss him also. Bunny
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Just want to mention that is was Michael Smith who wrote The Dutchman.
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I miss this guy to the max. Ah, just a wonderful songwriter and a very courageous cat to boot. T
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Coe may have recorded it, but Goodman delivered it better than anyone.
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You Never Even Called Me By My Name, David Allen Coe made it a hit.
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What is the title of the perfect country song I believe Steve Goodman sang? It had a dog, beer, a pickup truck, a broken heart, and possibly a train included in its lyrics.
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dan6878: It's The Dutchman that you're thinking of. I get tears in my eyes whenever that one comes to mind. I shared the same feeling of discovery in Urbana and Chicago in the late 70s. Now, I SOAK all of my sons in Steve's music (my 9-year-old asks me to sing him Turnpike Tom at bedtime!). A wonderful mensch!
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I discovered Steve in college in the 70's, and always enjoyed his work. By the Zyder-Zee (I think that's what it was called) is still one of my favorite tunes. He deserves more recognition.
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Still a favorite for so many. Bless him!
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The first time i heard Steve was on Austin City Limits. I knew his music before but someone else was always singing it. A brilliant funny man.
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I had the privilege of shaking Steve's hand backstage at the Troubador in 197-somethin g . He was so drunk he could barely stand up but his show was as energetic and entertaining as any I'd ever seen. John Prine came onstage and joined him on "You Never Even Call Me By My Name". I miss the guy terribly.
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I've been singing Steve's songs in my head since I heard him in University Coffee houses in Urbana. I find his Ukraine connection in my kids adopted from Ukraine. I only met Steve one time as we watched music at the Earl of Old Town. We miss him so.
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(I meant Dave Bromberg - not Brubeck. Sorry)
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The tribute concert is one on of my favorite albums. The artists are totally engaged. Dave Brubeck an Arlo are unreal.
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Sandy: I've been trying to find a copy of his song "I'm Attracted to You" for you know that one?
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My friend Mark C. told me about last night, and I just tried it, and it is, to use my daughter's favorite word, totally awesome.
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one of my all time favorites. no one wrote better songs
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SO LOVE MUSIC....IF GOD & JESUS>.BUDDA . . M O H A M A D . . . a s close to sweet God inspirationa l . . . s o absolutely.. b e a u t i f u l . . t o m m y t. irann texas.
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the man was great. Wahat a loss.
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