NO BIG SURPRISE is a definitive anthology of Steve Goodman's career. It includes home recordings, rehearsals and various live tracks.
Personnel: Steve Goodman (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, mandola); John Prine (vocals, acoustic guitar); Jethro Burns (vocals, mandolin); Steve Burgh (guitar, electric guitar); Brian Ray (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Billy Rupppert, Bill Ruppert, George Marinelli (electric guitar); Ben Keith (steel guitar, dobro); Steve Fishell (steel guitar); Lew London (dobro); Kenny Kosek, Vassar Clements (fiddle); Bob Rans (strings, piano, Synclavier); Guy Lumia, Alfred Brown , Sanford Allen, Harold Kohon, Selwart Clarke, Kermit Moore (strings); Charlie McCoy (harmonica); Jim Rothermel (recorder, saxophone, horns, ARP synthesizer); Ken Bloom (clarinet, bass clarinet); Mark Colby (saxophone); Jack the Bear (cornet); Jeff Gutcheon, Bill Elliott (piano, Fender Rhodes piano); David Briggs , Red Young (piano); Rick Chudacoff (Fender Rhodes piano); Amy Madigan (organ, background vocals); Peter Bunetta (drums, hand claps, percussion); Joe Pusateri (drums, percussion); Kevin Wells, Sheldon Plotkin, Steve Mosley (drums); Tom Radtke (timbales); Arno Lucas (percussion, background vocals); Alan Estes (percussion); Robert Bowker, Emmylou Harris, Vicki Hubly, Matthew Weiner, Herb Pedersen, Vicki Hubley, Linda Dillard, Kris Kristofferson, Bill LaBounty, Bonnie Herman (background vocals).
Audio Remasterer: Denny Purcell.
Liner Note Authors: Emmylou Harris; Nancy Goodman Tenney; Jimmy Buffett; John Prine; Al Bunetta; Kris Kristofferson; Loudon Wainwright III; Marty Stuart; Arlo Guthrie; Studs Terkel; Bette Midler.
Photographers: Neal Preston; Joe Raymond; William Warren.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Robert Bowker; Bob Bowker; Ken Bloom.
This posthumous compilation, released on Goodman's own Red Pajamas label, spans two discs: the first highlighting his best studio cuts, with the second disc exclusively devoted to live tracks. About half of the songs are previously unreleased material or unreleased live recordings. This is probably overkill for the casual fan who just wants the "hits." Diehard Goodman aficionados, however, are in luck. The live disc especially brings out the artist's witty, versatile songwriting personality, showing how he could work a crowd by not taking the material (or himself) too seriously. Copious liner notes from close friends and family pay tribute to Goodman the man, songwriter, and performer. An essential buy for completists (due to the unreleased material), the compilation takes material from Goodman's Buddah and Asylum albums, making it perhaps the best survey of his career to date. ~ Jim Esch