Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Little Steven - Voice Of America (1984)

  

Released May 1984

After a marvellous, horn-powered, Asbury Park-ish debut solo album with The Disciples Of Soul in 1983, Little Steven Van Zandt unfortunately dispensed with the horn section and went back to rock basics with a guitar, bass, drum and synthesiser backing for this less soulful, more rocking album. the synthesiser backing was a unfortunate by-product of the fact that it was 1984. The album was also far more political than the full on Mink De Ville-style street romance of its predecessor, and this gave a sign as to Van Zandt's future direction.

TRACK LISTING

1. Voice Of America
2. Justice
3. Checkpoint Charlie
4. Solidarity
5. Out Of The Darkness
6. Los Desaparecidos
7. Fear
8. I Am A Patriot
9. Among The Believers
10. Undefeated                                                  

As I said, this album is far heavier than "Men Without Women", with no horns or Asbury Parkism. Just rock guitar, bass and drums and quite a bit of synthesised keyboards. There is some rousing, good stuff on here though - particularly the anthemic “Out Of The Darkness” and “Undefeated”. "Justice" and "Among The Believers" and the title track are also big, fist-pumping rocking numbers with catchy hooks.

"Fear" has a suitably paranoid feel to it and "Los Desaparecidos" is an excellent riffy rocker of a protest song. Cod reggae makes an appearance in "I Am A Patriot" and "Solidarity" also has a staccato beat. "Checkpoint Charlie" is a soulful but cynical song about East Berlin. Van Zandt makes solid political points in pretty much every song. In that respect it is a bleak, sombre album, message-wise, but musically it is lively and rocking. Well worth a listen.

 I saw him tour this too, in September 1984. Great gig.

B-

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