Sunday, 3 June 2018

Little Steven & The Disciples Of Soul - Men Without Women (1983); Voice Of America (1984)

  

Released in 1982

Recorded at The Power Station, New York City

  

Released in May 1984

Two great 1980s albums from Little Steven Van Zandt (of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band fame). Released in 1983 and 1984, the first - “Men Without Women” is a masterpiece of Asbury Park meets Motown and Stax. Long in need of a remastering, but what the heck. Supposedly remastered here, but I can’t detect any obvious change from the original recordings.

Anyway, to the music. From the first powerful notes of those horns on “Lyin’ In A Bed Of Fire” I was hooked. It continues through the soully “Inside Of Me” to the marvellous slab of Stax-y beauty that is “After The Good Is Gone”. Steven’s voice is not the best, as I am sure he would admit, but it cooks on this great track.

“Under The Gun” is a “Start Me Up” riffy rocker, and “Angel Eyes” also has a killer, Southside Johnny-esque riff. “Forever” could be off Springsteen’s “The River”. “Princess Of Little Italy” could be Mink De Ville. “I’ve Been Waiting” is a soulful heartbreaker to end on. Just great stuff. I caught them live doing this album in 1983 at the old Hammersmith Palais and they were great.

“Voice Of America” is heavier, with no horns or Asbury Parkism. Just rock guitar, bass and drums and a bit of keyboards. Some good stuff though - the anthemic “Out Of The Darkness” and “Undefeated”. The protest songs “Los Desaparecidos” and “Checkpoint Charlie”. The appealing cod-reggae of “I Am A Patriot”. The tub-thumping “Among The Believers”. I saw him tour this too.

If you like Southside Johnny, Bruce Springsteen and Mink De Ville you will love this excellent double header.

B-

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