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Steve Forbert remains Alive on Arrival

By Brian Baker, April 2013

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The centerpiece of "Jackrabbit Slim" was its enduring opening track, Romeo's Tune. The single just missed making Billboard's Top 10 in 1979, but the song helped to define Forbert's career; 28 years after its debut, Keith Urban had a hit with Romeo's Tune and both it and Goin' Down to Laurel were featured in the soundtrack to the film "Margot at the Wedding."

"We worked hard to make that a hit," says Forbert. "I had already had a record that had been well received. It wasn't like I'd been recording for some small label on the West Coast, like The Kingsmen when Louie Louie took off like a bat out of hell. It wasn't a shock, it was what we wanted. It's had a good life. I'm sure there are records that were in the Top 5 for a couple of months that people don't remember."

After "Jackrabbit Slim" and the cross-genre radio success of Romeo's Tune, Forbert continued his seemingly endless string of gigs, but at a slightly elevated level that reflected the success of the album and single.

"The offers got better, but it got a little stranger," says Forbert. "People would put me on things that might not have seemed perfect, but were good exposure, like opening for Kenny Loggins. We did several dates with him, and those were big places. We went as far as Japan and back to England."

Whatever their intention, Blue Corn has clearly proven the timelessness of "Alive on Arrival" and "Jackrabbit Slim" with their dual reissue, and in the same stroke reaffirmed Forbert's consistent relevance over the course of his 35-year career. Lyrical honesty, melodic integrity and passionate performance will always win the day, and Steve Forbert remains the poster child for that trifecta.

"I'm still doing the same kind of thing," says Forbert. "I'm just interested in keeping the quality of these songs up and hopefully making good records that represent the songs well, which I think 'Over With You' does. But these were the first two records, and they happened to be with the right people at the right time, they got me started really well and they're a huge part of why I'm playing tomorrow in Phoenixville and Saturday in Vienna, Va."

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