This is one of my favorite holiday recordings. It's a very well-known song, "Winter Wonderland," but a rare version. It's from Steve Goodman, and not only is a joy, but gives a great idea why he was so incredibly wonderful in concert.
I've written a lot here about Steve Goodman, whose work I love. But wonderful as his songs and recordings are, they still don't give a great sense of how tremendous he was in concert with an audience. I've told the story about being at the concert where he won over the 3,000 maniacal fans of Steve Martin at the Universal Amphitheatre. He just was a joy -- a cherubic, short, enthusiastic bundle of energy and personality.
This comes during one of his concerts -- I think it may have been when he was on Austin City Limits, though for understandable (but wrong-headed) reasons this particular selection didn't make it to air. Someone yelled out a song request, which for whatever odd reason was "Winter Wonderland." Not a song that Steve Goodman was known for. In fact, he didn't even know exactly how it went -- yet, being Steve Goodman, he dove in and tried. And the result is utterly joyous.
What I maybe most love about this recording is that comes as close to giving a sense of Steve Goodman in concert as any, even though it's just audio. A rich connection with the audience, lively, great musicianship, funny and smart. And what he ends up with is not just one of my favorite Steve Goodman recordings, but perhaps my favorite rendition of "Winter Wonderland."
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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