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.


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.


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