Monday, July 18, 2016


38 years ago, he was shackled with ‘the new Dylan‘ label, and quite frankly, I always thought that Steve Forbert’s debut, Alive On Arrival, was worthy of the hype.

It seemed that every singer/songwriter who played  an acoustic guitar and blew into a harmonica was destined to be labeled as the  next ‘new Dylan’. 

Sadly, Forbert spent the next decade trying to shake off that tag, and while his second album yielded a top 40 (number 11) hit, he was never able to replicate that success. 

For many, he was a one-hit wonder, although he continues to tour and record, on the road as I write this and heading into the studio this fall to record his seventeenth studio album 

He’s also released three live albums and five compilations, as well as more than a dozen exclusive releases directly from his website.  

Safe to say, he moved beyond the Dylan hype and has forged a successful career; his 2015 album Compromised is proof that he hasn’t lost any of his charm. 

Here's a selection of ten songs that I think serve as a decent overview of Forbert's career that I hope might give you a taste to experience more.

Spotify users can find the playlist HERE and can find quite a few of Forbert's records on the site. Or you can purchase physical CD's and digital downloads from Forbert's on-line outlet.

Goin' Down To Laurel" This one still makes my toe tap-it was my introduction to Forbert (big thank you to Ed Sciacky) and it opens the first album. Good choice. 

"Romeo's Tune" opens the second record and was his biggest success, although far from his best song, in my opinion. I hated the vocal arrangement when it came out but have come to appreciate it over the years. 

The third record failed to live up to it's predecessor, and although "Get Well Soon" was the single, I was always partial to "Philadelphia Rain."

With Forbert being such a good songwriter, I struggle a little including a cover song on this list, but his cover of The Searcher's classic was my highlight on his eponymous fourth album.

Forbert had a disagreement with his record label, and his fifth album was never released (Forbert released it himself on his website a couple of decades later). 

This led to a hiatus with Forbert being prevented from recording due to contract issues, and ultimately a label change. "Samson And Delilah's Beauty Shop" was a concert favorite that made it's way onto the What Kinda Guy best-of compilation.

Forbert's first album for Geffen was a great album that sadly did not get heard. It was a struggle to just pick one song for this playlist, as there were so mnay "oughtta be" classics. For me, "I Blinked Once" stood out, as I was approaching thirty and the song was about looking back.

Forbert released a second record for Geffen that was also quite good and came and went mostly unnoticed. As temped as I was to include the cover song on this list, I went with "You Cannot Win 'Em All"

From Geffen, Forbert has label-hopped quite a bit, but has continued to release new music.

From 2012's Over With You, check out "All I Need To Do."

And from 2015's Compromised, check out the title track.

"It Isn't Gonna Be That Way" closes side one of the first record, and I thought it fitting to be the closer for this list. This was the perfect album side to crash to back in the day. I wonder if kids today have discovered this record and figured that out?

Interesting trivia tidbit-in the video for Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want To Have Fun," Forbert plays her boyfriend. That's him on the right in the tux.


  1. I always saw his albums but I never paid any attention this guy. I think he just LOOKED boring to me.

    When I can, I'll listen to a couple and see if they do anything for me. I know and like so many different types of music that something has to REALLY grab me get more than one listen from me these days.

    LC, I think you'll find my next BOTB installment interesting. I believe I know how you will vote, although I could be mistaken on it.

    What I can't guess is who will win the Battle. This one should be real close and it'll be interesting to see who votes for whom.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. Let me know if you are able to use the Spotify playlist link. When I click it, it goes to my account page, but I've seen other people share them.

      I'll check out your BOTB, of course, but now I'll just vote the opposite way of how I'd normally vote so as not to be so predictable.

      Unless it's a video with a green alien girl in it.

    2. LC ~
      Definitely no green alien in my next BOTB, however, it IS about sex in Summer. I s'pose that'll make you come to attention.

      Hey, your SPOTIFY Playlist worked perfectly!

      I listened to 4 or 5 songs. He's definitely NOT as boring as he looks (and I liked the liberal use of electric organ), but he doesn't really do much for me.

      I did NOT dislike anything I heard, so there's a real chance his stuffs could grow on me with repeated listening. But right outta-the-chute, he didn't strike me as doing anything stylistically unique; kind of a run-of-the-mill 1970s singer-songwriter type.

      Of the songs I heard, I liked the last one best: 'It Isn't Gonna Be That Way'. It seemed heartfelt.

      But to be honest, when I hear guys like this, I think of them as second-rate Jim Croces, you know what I mean? Like, why listen to Steve Forbert when you can listen to a better model in the form of Jim Croce?

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Loyal American Underground'

    3. You're right that he was in that 70's mold-he resonated with me, though. I'd encourage you to check him out further-the one thing he has on Jim Croce is that by not dying, he continued to produce music for 40 years so there's a lot to experience.

  2. You can count me as a bit Forbert fan who is saddened by the fact that he never received a wider recognition. I've got an upcoming battle planned using one of his songs (not a cover). Not sure when I'll be doing it though since there are so many other Battles that I also want to present.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    1. I almost helod off on posting this until after you were back from your travels, Lee, as I remembered you liking Forbert.