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on August 11, 2001
I've heard quite a bit, but not all of Steve Goodman's work, and I plan to hear more now that the old albums are out on CD and new compilations keep surfacing. Jessie's Jig was the first of his albums I heard (thanks to friends on a Baja camping trip) and it's still my favorite.
This one starts with "Door Number 3," co-written with Jimmy Buffet, about the old "Let's Make a Deal" TV show, with a cameo Bob Dylan lyric, " . . . do you want to make a deal?" This and Goodman's song "This Hotel Room," 3rd on this record, were also recorded by Buffet. These two songs, along with "Moby Book" (the Great American Novel distilled down to its essence, in 12 bar blues, in 3:07) supply the humor.
Lost love is the theme of John Prine's song, "Blue Umbrella," and in Goodman's "I Can't Sleep." Both are nicely delivered ballads, and both will choke you up a little if you look the words over and remember that one (you remember the one) who left you away back when. I'm still "thinking this thing over," but it helps to know that Prine and Goodman understand.
The traditionals aren't really traditionals, because both have songwriter credits. "Spoon River" by Mike Smith, and "Mama Don't Allow" by Charles Davenport. The first is a sad slow ballad, and the second is a foot tappin' romp through a folk band's instruments with little solos from guitar, piano, bass, fiddle, and drums.
And that brings around the musicians . . . the weakest point of this album, in my opinion, is that is really doesn't feature Goodman's supurb guitar to the extent that some of the others do (e.g., Easter Tapes). But the songs all feature wonderful folk instrumentalists, including Vasser Clements on fiddle. These, especially Clements, are featured especially well on the title cut, Jessie's Jig.
Two more songs, "It's a sin to tell a lie" (an old one by Billy Mayhew, "just be sure it's true when you say 'I love you'") and "Looking for trouble" (by Goodman) round out the album. I always remember a year's worth of cribbage games when I listen to the album.
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on September 19, 2006
The first time I saw Steve Goodman was in 1974, on an episode of Soundstage (a great PBS show!) starring Arlo Guthrie with Hoyt Axton. Steve played 3 songs that stood out for me. "Would You Like to Learn to Dance", which is in the running for best song ever IMHO, "Door Number Three", a song written with Jimmy Buffet, which may not be the best song, but displays a wry wit and charm and manages to quote Bob Dylan in a song about a really silly game show, that was popular at the time, called "Let's Make A Deal" (I only explain that, because I've played it for younger people, who don't know the show, and don't get the references to Monty Hall, dressing up in weird costumes with signs that audience members hoped would attracr Monty's attention, Carol Merill, or even Door Number Three), and "It's a Sin To Tell a Lie", which is a song "I wrote when I was working under the name, Fats Waller" and emphasized Steve's wonderfully manic guitar playing.

The Album "Jessie's Jig & Other Favorites" opens with "Door Number Three" with all its wit and charm intact. "It's a Sin To Tell a Lie" opens side 2 of the vinyl album, sounds alive with its own manic brilliance. This was Steve's first self produced album, I believe, and he took the opportunity to play with some of his boyhood idols, specifically Carl Martin's string band and mandolin virtuoso and one half of the legendary country comedy act Homer and Jethro, Jethro Burns. Just listen to the joy in the title track and "Mama Don't Allow", it's absolutely infectious! There is also an exquisite performance of a song by the writer of "The Dutchman", Michael Smith, called "Spoon River", which has more production than I normally like on Steve's songs, but here everything just works, from the beautiful harmonica to the chorus in the background, surrounding Steve doing what he does best, singing a song that says something in a totally unique way. This is one album I got as soon as it came out on CD. It's the closest, again IMHO, of all his studio albums to the way he was in concert, with just a touch (but not to much) of studio wizardry. I consider myself a true fan, and this is my favorite of Steve's studio albums. Ain't it hard to realize...he's gone.
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on August 20, 1999
Way back when this first came out, Stereo Review selected it as one of their albums of the year. I have an ancient copy on vinyl; now it's thankfully on CD. Beautiful songs, some funny, some not from a talent who's, alas no longer with us. Buy it.
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on April 8, 2014
I originally had this album on vinyl back in the '70s. Over time, it became scratched, water damaged, and warped. My turntable also gave out many years ago and I switched my collection to CDs. In short, I haven't heard this album in its original form in many years. As baseball season opened this year, I thought of my beloved Cubs and the Goodman song that has become associated with every home victory (Go Cubs Go). I also recalled that he died 30 years ago this September. I was delighted to discover that this record was still available. It reminded me what a wonderful talent Goodman was, combining charm, musical ability, energy, and an amazingly clever sense of humor. Great stuff.
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on July 9, 2014
I liked this when I first heard it in the '70's on vinyl. So, when one of the songs popped into my head, I ordered the CD.
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on July 26, 2014
Steve Goodman was simply the best.
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on June 19, 2016
Great fun to listen to.
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on August 19, 2006
Steve died 20+ years ago, I still miss him. Best man to see in concert ever and I've seen alot.
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on December 1, 2011
Ordered this album because it was one of my favorites. rating was "like new". It is slightly warped. Therefore, the sound quality is poor. I don't think I will be ordering again if this is the result.
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