Little Steven

Little Steven Van Zandt, on stage with Mr. & Mrs. Springsteen (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Post-[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Springsteen[/lastfm], pre-Sopranos, [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Steven Van Zandt[/lastfm] put out a series of solo albums that rocked the house. “Lyin’ in a Bed of Fire,” a favorite that had fallen off my radar, was the first track on the first of those records.

Best known as the do-rag-capped guitarist in Springsteen’s E-Street Band (and, alternately, as Silvio Dante in The Sopranos),  Steven Van Zandt was also a solo artist, producing four of the five records in his catalog during the 1980s.

The first, Men Without Women, named after a series of stories by Ernest Hemingway, was inspired by Van Zandt’s production work on [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Gary “U.S.” Bonds[/lastfm]’ comeback album, Dedication. Taking the name “Little Steven,” so as to distance himself from Springsteen and also pay tribute to his hero, Little Richard, Van Zandt went about producing the record in 1982 with a stable of musicians he called “The Disciples of Soul.”

A close cousin to the sound of Springsteen and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Southside Johnny[/lastfm], “Lyin’ in a Bed Fire” rocks just the same, pulling out every rock and soul trick in the books: a driving groove, big time horns, background singers and Van Zandt’s adenoid-pinched vocals. True rock and roll at a time in history when that was sometimes hard to find.

Sounds just as good 30 years later…


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