Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Steve Forbert

  • Alive on Arrival [Nemporer, 1978] B
  • Jackrabbit Slim [Nemporer, 1979] B-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Alive on Arrival [Nemporer, 1978]
I thought this kid's folk songs were promising the first time I saw him--which was before I knew he was destined to share management with the Ramones--and I still do. B

Jackrabbit Slim [Nemporer, 1979]
John Simon's settings go every which way--from Muscle Shoals to Kingston, from country to folk to r&b--but always seem to come up pop. Then again, what else do you do with Forbert? He's as all-American as the Band, but beyond that catchy young heartland-soulful voice he has no musical identity: his lyrics are omniverously observant, but beyond an attractive all-purpose compassion they never reveal a point of view either. Steve Forbert Reporting, that's all. Which means you have to care about him as much as he does--"Make It All So Real" is as shameless as the suffering-artist theme gets--to care about his songs. And the voice doesn't do that for me. B-