With Mission of the Crossroad Palms
, Steve Forbert turns in an album of craftsmanlike tunes on his seventh album, including story-songs such as "It Sure Was Better Back Then" (a working man's reminiscence) and "The Trouble with Angels" (in which an ex-beauty queen robs the till to pay for her infertility treatments). There is also one of Forbert's philosophical treatises ("It Is What It Is [And That's All]") and the humorously multi-referential "Lay Down Your Weary Tune Again" (risky territory for a former "new Dylan
"). But the best song may be Forbert's ode to infidelity, "Don't Talk to Me." The point, though, is that he has flowered into a distinctive, broad-based songwriter and that, in E Street Band
bassist Garry Tallent
, he has found a sympathetic producer able to showcase his voice and lyrics properly. Now, if he could just reconnect with his audience.