Music Review: Steve Forbert's raggedly fresh 'Compromised'

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Posted: Nov 06, 2015 3:43 PM
Music Review: Steve Forbert's raggedly fresh 'Compromised'

Steve Forbert, "Compromised" (Ridge Rock Music/ADA)

Steve Forbert is rolling with the punches on "Compromised," his 16th studio album since 1978, and he's not letting it get him down.

Once one of many burdened with the "new Dylan" tag — Forbert's harmonica is still hauntingly Bob-like — it's now the Beatles and the Stones who get mentions in fresh, clever takes on familiar tales.

"Welcome the Rolling Stones" describes a boy's unknowing optimism as he looks forward to taking his date to the band's infamous 1969 Altamont gig, which violently ended the "peace and love" era. Hopefully Lee and Trish are still together.

In "You'd See the Things That I See," John Lennon raves about his first meeting with "most amazing cat" Paul McCartney, begrudgingly admitting that "he could be as good as me, so think about how far we could go."

Other highlights include "When I Get to California," with a spooky keyboard that's a slight return to his "Cellophane City," the wise but amusing account of life's everyday drudgery on "Whatever, Man," and "A Big Comeuppance," its Latin tint reminiscent of Santana's take on The Zombies' "She's Not There."

Forbert's distinct, slightly squeezed voice is increasingly ragged but its expressiveness is intact and the songs are as sharp as ever. His rootsy version of Stephen Sondheim's classic breakup song, "Send In the Clowns," is also notable.

Wonderfully backed by great musicians like former NRBQ bassist Joey Spampinato, Kami Lyle and Robbie Kondor, "Compromised" is a worthy follow-up to 2012's excellent "Over With You."