On an album that features very little resembling either ‘soul’ or ‘fire’ we have erstwhile Southside Johnny/Miami Steve – now better regarded for his acting performances (Sopranos/Lillyhammer) and best known – always – as the “Little Steven” that struts and, er, frets for hours on stage next to The Boss, his boss, Mr. Springsteen.
This is bar-room bullshit though, Little Steven’s first album of tunes under his own name in quite some time – and it’s a mixture of covers and revisiting old songs from his own career. It’s best when he attempts to circle the bombast of the E Street Band (I’m Coming Back, Some Things Just Don’t change; the latter a revisit of an old Southside Johnny choon).
For the most part this is turgid and hopeless and lost – Blues Is My Business is thrift-store, Etta James would roll in her grave, then get up and smack Little Steven in the gob, one would hope.
Too often it’s merely a case of E-Street-Bland – as on Love On The Wrong Side of Town. Bruce’s charisma wears thin when his parched-rasp can’t cover for a lack of melodic structure or dynamics and it’s ten times worse with Lil’ Van Zandt’s braying.
But he’s a 50-year veteran and he’s obviously having fun. A bit of gunslinging gat-swinging on Standing In The Line of Fire, the Commitments-styled balladry of I Don’t Want To Go Home, the crooner-cry of The City Weeps Tonight…pffff! I guess these are highlights?!