Personnel: Steve Goodman (vocals, guitar); Jethro Burns (mandolin); David Amram (flute, wooden flute, percussion); Jimmy Tittle, Hugh McDonald (electric bass); W.S. Holland (drums).
Audio Remixer: Gary Brandt.
Recording information: Appleton, WI; Austin, TX; Berkeley, CA; Chicago, IL; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Washington D.C.
Editor: John Acoca.
Photographer: Jim Shea.
Arrangers: Frank Hamilton; Pete Seeger .
Steve Goodman's wry sense of humor is nicely summed up by the title of this album. ARTISTIC HAIR, it turns out, refers to the effects of chemotherapy, which Goodman underwent in the early 1980s during treatment for leukemia. Because of his illness, this collection of live recordings would be the last Steve Goodman album released during the singer-songwriter's lifetime.
For those unfamiliar with Goodman, ARTISTIC HAIR is a good place to begin. Unlike his studio efforts, many of which are overproduced, ARTISTIC HAIR features only Goodman's virtuoso guitar playing, with occasional contributions from mandolin great Jethro Burns. Furthermore, the disc includes fine versions of many of Goodman's signature songs, including "Elvis Imitators," "You Never Even Call Me By My Name" (a hilarious send-up of country songs that Goodman co-wrote with buddy John Prine), and of course "City of New Orleans," which was a monster hit for Arlo Guthrie. Goodman's strong suits are his humor and chops, but he acquits himself wonderfully on serious fare as well, turning in a deeply moving "The Water is Wide" midway through the set. But for the absence of the sublime "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request," this would be the perfect Goodman collection.