Hello, Joe

There’s a new book about Steve Goodman, the much-loved, much-missed folk singer from Chicago.

He’s long been one of my favorites, having written the best baseball song ever — “The Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request.”


Clay Eals wrote “Steve Goodman: Facing the Music,” which runs 800 pages, with more than 500 photos and a tribute CD. It costs $29.95. You can read the first chapter online.

After I posted that Steve Goodman tune last month, Clay and I exchanged a few e-mails and I shared my Steve Goodman story with him:

I had a brief but memorable encounter with Steve Goodman years ago. I went to see him play live at the Madison Civic Center in Madison, Wisconsin, in what must have been 1983. I confess I remember nothing about the show.

However, he signed albums after the show, and I bought one. I vividly remember him sitting at the table, looking up and asking my name for the autograph. Either I mumbled, or he misheard me, but he signed mine “Joe — Hello, Steve Goodman.”


I remember being vaguely disappointed at first, but then I decided to enjoy it as just one more light-hearted gift from Goodman. I still have that album, “Joe — Hello,” and all.

Clay e-mailed back:

Jeff (or should I say Joe):

Thanks for your kind message and funny story. The show you attended with 1,200 others had to be Wednesday, April 13, 1983, at the Oscar Mayer Theater of Madison Civic Auditorium, 211 State St. At the 8 p.m. show, Goodman opened for Leo Kottke, who is one of the better (and funnier) sources for my book. You were one of 44 people who bought his “Artistic Hair” LP that night for $6. Goodman stayed at the Best Western Inn at the Park. Strange the details you end up collecting when you do a book like this.

I’ll say. With research like that, no wonder the book runs 800 pages.

So here you go, from the album I paid $6 for that night:


“Elvis Imitators,” Steve Goodman, “Artistic Hair,” 1983.

You may know it as a Jimmy Buffett tune, but Goodman wrote it with Michael Smith. It’s one of his typically light-hearted tunes.

Leave a comment

Filed under May 2007, Sounds

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.