AliveOnArrivalJackrabbitSlim35AnniversaryBack in the late ’70s, an extraordinary individual released a stunning debut album that explored the frustrations of the time in a such a way as to draw deserving comparisons to Springsteen, and Dylan.  While the weight of the lyrics were not as politically charged as Dylan’s nor as dark as Springsteen’s , Steve Forbert’s words expressed the thoughts of a young man (and incorporated the women too) to such a degree. that to say he ranks among that revered duo is surely correct.

Without getting too evangelical in the promoting of Steve Forbert and his recorded output, let it be said that Alive On Arrival came with a superlative set of tracks that included “Steve Forbert’s Midsummer Night’s Toast”, a scathing blast at the misfortunes of life even as the tune tips its hat to the more fortunate.  Also notable are “What Kinda Guy”, “Big City Cat”, “Grand Central Station, march 18, 1977”, and “Tonight I Feel So Far Away From Home”.  But these are my highlights.  Any fan could easily rearrange, subtract and add any of the tracks found on the album.

AlliveOnArrivalAlive on Arrival was followed by Jackrabbit Slim, which provided the breakout hit, “Romeo’s Tune”.  Other highlights of the album include songs like “Complications”, “I’m In Love With You”, and “Say Goodbye to Little Jo”.  But again, a fan could create their own playlist.  It would be easy to do.

On March 26, Blue Corn Music crafted a 35th Anniversary ‘two-fer’, 2CD set that features both Alive On Arrival (1978), and Jackrabbit Slim (1979).   What makes this set standout are the inclusions of bonus tracks, five from Alive On Arrival (as outtakes), and seven from the Jackrabbit Slim album that includes a 1979 live version of “Romeo’s Tune” from a performance at The Palladium in NYC.  None of these songs are to be missed.

Added to the additional tracks is an eight-page booklet with the usual credits and track-listings for each album.  A two-page David Wild essay (or liner notes, if you will) fleshes out the booklet, finished by a small splash of pictures.  Put ’em all together, and you get a bit of nostalgic magic with a something new that creates a whole re-experience of the albums.

Steve Forbert said it best on his “January 23-30, 1978” tune (Jackrabbit Slim), “It’s often said that life is strange. Oh yes, but compared to what?”  Steve Forbert said a lot of great things.  A lot of them run through these two classics.  Fortunately, Steve Forbert didn’t stop at Jackrabbit Slim but dropped many albums after it.

I love this reissue for what it is!

By MARowe

One thought on “Review: Alive On Arrival/Jackrabbit Slim – Steve Forbert (35th Anniversary Reissue)”
  1. Hi Matt,
    I picked this up about a week ago and I agree that it is a tremendous package. Continuing our discussion about early Fleetwood Mac records, Bare Trees/ Future Games, Penguin/HHTF, and so on.

    Joe

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