Posts Tagged ‘Little Steven’

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Little Steven has opened the doors on his personal archive of recordings to present an in-depth look at his solo career with a brand new boxed set. Rock’N’Roll Rebel – The Early Work (Wicked Cool/UMe) collects the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member solo work from 1973-1999 – including Artists United Against Apartheid’s landmark 1985 LP, “Sun City” – together with 51 bonus tracks spanning previously unreleased demos, B-sides, rehearsals, outtakes, classic concert performances, and a number of never-before-heard Steven Van Zandt compositions.“It’s been a blast going through the archives and finding all these hidden gems,” says Van Zandt. “In addition to demos in various stages of completion, there are entire songs I’d completely forgotten about, and we found some really early things pre-Jukes like Southside Johnny and the Kid (the kid being me!). I’m excited for the fans to hear all of this stuff and to have my albums back on vinyl for the first time in decades!

Limited to just 1,000 copies, the bespoke slipcase multi-format boxed set includes remastered editions of six long-out-of-print classic albums – Men Without Women (1982), Voice Of America (1983), Sun City (1985), Freedom – No Compromise (1987), Revolution (1989) and Born Again Savage (1999) – across seven-colored vinyl LPs alongside four CDs of rarities and bonus tracks.

Little Steven aka Steve Van Zandt still considers the return of his Disciples of Soul band to be “a little bit of a miracle, to be honest.” But he’s not stopping to pinch himself, either, as the troupe prepares for the May 3rd release of a new album, “Summer of Sorcery”, whose “A World of Our Own” first released track.

“To keep this band together for two years has been an extraordinary achievement, and I’m so proud of them and their loyalty for sticking with me,” Van Zandt says. He launched the Disciples of Soul back in 1982 and brought the group back to active duty with 2017’s Soulfire, its first release in 18 years, and last year’s Soulfire Live. “Everybody in the world wants to hire these guys, and they’ve just stayed with me. It really shows that the longer you keep a band together, the better they get. And these cats were great to begin with, so it’s really gotten to a high level at this point.”

Summer of Sorcery, meanwhile, casts a different kind of spell than Van Zandt pursued on the six previous Disciples of Soul studio albums. Comprised of all-new material after Soulfire mined the vaults of existing songs, the Summer of Sorcery features all new material and eschews previous discourses into autobiography or politics.

“I wanted to get away from those things,” Van Zandt explains. “I wanted to fictionalize my work. The politics seemed necessary in the ’80s… but now it just seems too obvious. It’s attacking us 24/7, and I just feel people need a break from it. We’ve never been more divided, so my usefulness is trying to bring people together, on common ground.” And with Summer of Sorcery Van Zandt feels that territory is sunshine and love.

“Basically I just wanted to create 12 different movies,” he says. “The overall concept is this broad idea of summer, of that first summer of consciousness where you are falling in love with life itself. You’re connected to that great sort of ritual of the rite of spring and the earth is blooming and coming to life, and you feel that in your soul, that sort of rebirth and hope and optimism. I want to try to capture that, and use that as the overall scene. It’s a looser theme, but still I need that anchor, a concept to work in. I can’t just do a collection of songs at random. So that’s what worked for me this time.”

Summer of Sorcery’s 12 tracks also explore a variety of motifs, from the brassy soul rock of “Communion” to the funk of “Gravity,” rockabilly on “Superfly Terraplane,” doo-wop on “Love Again,” the Latino flavor of “Party Mambo!,” “Vortex’s” homage to Isaac Hayes’ Shaft soundtrack and the bouncy Gary U.S. Bonds feel of “Soul Power Twist.”

“A World of Our Own,” meanwhile, has a shimmering Phil Spector quality that Van Zandt acknowledges as “the girl group entry of this album.”

Soulfire Live! is an epic and electrifying journey through rock ‘n’ roll history led by one of its most passionate practitioners, showcasing Stevie Van Zandt’s limitless knowledge, talent, and sheer love for the genre in all its many shapes and guises. Among the album’s many highlights is the introduction made by the legendary Mike Stoller, who along with partner Jerry Leiber, are widely considered to be the first successful and the most enduring rock songwriters and producers of all time. Other highlights on the album are the original songs from throughout Little Steven’s illustrious career – including classics like “Standing In The Line Of Fire” and “I Don’t Want To Go Home” alongside a number of favorite cover versions like The Electric Flag’s “Groovin’ Is Easy,” Etta James’ “Blues Is My Business,” and James Brown’s “Down And Out In New York City,” the latter two songs also featured on last year’s critically acclaimed Soulfire. In addition Soulfire Live!, includes Van Zandt’s inimitable introductions, detailing each song’s unique history and singular spot in his life and illustrious career.

Soulfire Live! was produced and arranged by Stevie Van Zandt; the album was mixed by Bob Clearmountain and mastered by Bob Ludwig.

Little Steven (aka Steven Van Zandt) and his powerful 14-piece band The Disciples of Soul performing live around the world! Includes guest appearances from Bruce Springsteen, Richie Sambora, Peter Wolf, and Jerry Miller!

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The E Street Band member and Underground Garage presenter returns with his first solo album in two decades, featuring the lead off single “St. Valentine’s Day” and a revival of Little Steven and Bruce Springsteen’s classic song for Southside Johnny, “Love on the Wrong Side of Town.”  Available now on CD, DD and LP.

Bruce Springsteen’s longtime right hand man/shotgun riding guitarist and occasional actor’s first solo stab in nearly two decades . If, as Steven Van Zandt says in the press notes accompanying the release “This record is me doing me,” .

It’s impossible not to hear the Southside Johnny blueprint of horn-bolstered classic R&B on Soulfire, both in the boisterous, brassy arrangements and Steve Van Zandt’s vocals that are often so similar to Johnny’s . Additionally, Steven recreates five songs he wrote for various Southside albums in arrangements that hew closely to the first versions. Other tunes have already appeared on albums from Gary U.S. Bonds and The Cocktail Slippers, a band on Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool record label.

None of this is a deal breaker though. Little Steven and his Disciple of Souls backing unit attack the material with the fever, fervor and, well, fire of Springsteen at his most soulful. These recordings crackle and explode out of the speakers with a wall of sound approach that brings a widescreen audio ferocity to the hour-long program that never lets up. The cinematic association is particularly relevant on a cover of James Brown’s “Down and Out in New York City” from Brown’s Black Caesar soundtrack where Steven sharply recreates the “blaxploitation” sound — right down to the wah-wah guitar, horns and strings — first popularized with Isaac Hayes’ music for Shaft.

Elsewhere, Steven revisits his doo-wop roots on “The City Weeps Tonight,” a tune he had planned for his 1982 debut but recently finished, and charges head-first into “I Saw the Light” (not the Todd Rundgren hit), that would have fit perfectly on any of the first three Asbury Jukes albums. He takes a rugged Chicago blues rock excursion on “The Blues is My Business,” initially performed by Etta James, and sets the album’s tone on the opening rugged funky/soulful title track with gospel backing female singers. While adding the now classic “I Don’t Want to Go Home” to the track listing brings Steven’s career full circle (it was the first song he wrote), 

Regardless, it’s hard to imagine a more joyous and revelatory contemporary blue-eyed soul recording. The appropriately titled Soulfire is a tough, tight and clearly inspired project as well as a most welcome return from the musical shadows for Steven Van Zandt.

LITTLE STEVEN and the Disciples Of Soul returns to the Classics at the Paramount Theatre,  in Asbury Park on 12th Sept.2015. Check out the songs  “Until the Good Is Gone” and “Love On The Wrong Side of Town”  they are not great quality footage but its still has more soul and passion than most things youll see and hear this week.

The Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park billed as “A Darlene Love CD Release Event Staring Darlene Love & Steven Van Zandt,” Sept. 12th, to promote the new recording and release “Introducing Darlene Love”, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer’s upcoming album. with Van Zandt, who is a huge fan of Love’s for decades, produced the album and will release it on his Wicked Cool record label (with distribution by Columbia).

On the album, Darlene Love will sing songs written by Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Webb, Linda Perry and others.

“Darlene’s legendary status is well deserved but I felt the time was long overdue to show a younger generation Why she has earned that reputation,” Van Zandt said in a statement. “Partnering with Columbia Records is a dream come true because now I know the world will hear her.” The album is planned for a fall release, though the exact date is not known yet.

About 35 years ago, Bruce Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt were in Los Angeles when they heard Darlene Love was playing at the Roxy. Love had been one of Phil Spector‘s go-to singers in the 1960s, powering “He’s a Rebel,” “Today I Met the Boy I’m Gonna Marry” and other Wall of Sound classics. But by the early 1980s, she had been working as a maid and was attempting a comeback. Van Zandt showed up at the Roxy that night and promised to turn Love’s career around. “Steve told me that if I moved to New York, he could get me work,” Love says. “Then he said, ‘I need to record you.’

Steven Van Zandt did get her regular work at the Bottom Line and the Peppermint Lounge, but his life got so hectic in the ensuing years with the E Street Band, his solo career and unlikely emergence as an actor that he kept delaying his promise to cut an album with her. “I finally realized last year there’s never going to be a right time,” he says. “I couldn’t have been busier than I was at the time, but I finally said, ‘Fuck it, I’m pushing this into my schedule.'”

For Introducing Darlene Love (due September 18th), Van Zandt reached out to many of the best songwriters in the world, including Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Jimmy Webb, and Linda Perry. “I said to them, ‘I want big,'” Van Zandt says. “I want horns and strings. Her voice wants that. And I told them we weren’t waiting, so I gave them a month or two.”

He’s hoping the same thing happens for Darlene Love, and on September 12th, he’s going to join her when she plays the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park to celebrate the release of the album. Might a certain songwriter from the record that lives nearby make a guest appearance? “We’d never announce anything like that because that means I still need help to sell tickets,” she says. “This is my show. If anyone shows up, it’ll be a surprise.”

Paramount Theater, Asbury Park NJ, September 12, 2015
Still to Soon to Know duet Steve and Darlene, gift from Elvis Costello/
Just Another Lonely Mile, gift from Bruce Springsteen