Little Steven Van Zandt’s upcoming solo album, Soulfire, will include songs that were written by him throughout his career, but not previously recorded by him. He describes it as “me doing me.”
“I’ve always been very thematic with my work, very conceptual,” he said in a press release. “I need a big picture, I can’t just do a collection of songs … In this case, the concept became me. Who am I? I’m kind of my own genre at this point. So I tried to pick material that when you added it all up, really represented me. So there are a couple of covers, a couple of new songs, and some of what I feel are the best songs I’ve written and co-written over the years.”
Among them will be five songs recorded by Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes: the band’s signature song, “I Don’t Want to Go Home,” plus “Love on the Wrong Side of Town” (co-written with Bruce Springsteen), “I’m Coming Back,” “Some Things Just Don’t Change” and “Ride the Night Away.”
Van Zandt said of “I Don’t Want to Go Home”: “It’s the first song I ever wrote and I wanted to do it the way I’d originally imagined it.”
The album will be released May 19 on Van Zandt’s own Wicked Cool label, with distribution by Big Machine/UMe. To pre-order it, click here.
Van Zandt and the Disciples of Soul will perform twice in Asbury Park as part of the third annual Asbury Park Music and Film Festival. They will be at House of Independents on April 21 and the Paramount Theatre April 22. (For more information about an NJArts.net contest to win two tickets to the Paramount show, click here).
According to the press release, a North American tour will be announced soon. For updates, visit littlesteven.com. “I want to take this band to every place that wants to see us,” Van Zandt said.
Van Zandt and his Disciples of Soul band recorded Soulfire after performing together in London in October. Guitarist Marc Ribler served as music director, and the band includes former Jukes Ed Manion and Stan Harrison on saxophones. The vocal group The Persuasions sings on “I Don’t Want to Go Home” as well as “The City Weeps Tonight.”
“This was the most fun I’ve ever had making a record,” said Van Zandt. “We did it quickly, while we still had the fire and energy from the London show. We just took it into the studio and banged it out, six weeks from start to mix. It’s one of those strange things, it really seems like it was meant to be.”
These are the songs on the album, along with 10 videos of the original versions of the songs (or, in cases where there is no recorded version available, a live version):
“Soulfire” (co-written with Anders Bruus of The Breakers). Original version released on the Breakers’ self-titled 2010 album.
“I’m Coming Back.” Original version on the 1991 Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes album, Better Days.
“The Blues Is My Business.” Written by Kevin Bowe and Todd Cerney and recorded by Etta James on her 2003 album, Let’s Roll.
“I Saw the Light.” New song written by Van Zandt.
“Some Things Just Don’t Change.” Original version on Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes’ 1977 album, This Time It’s for Real.
“Love on the Wrong Side of Town.” Co-written with Bruce Springsteen; original version on This Time It’s for Real.
“The City Weeps Tonight.” New song written by Van Zandt.
“Down and Out in New York City.” Written by Bodie Chandler and Barry De Vorzon and originally recorded on James Brown’s 1973 “Black Caesar” soundtrack album.
“Standing in the Line of Fire.” Co-written with Gary U.S. Bonds and Laurie C. Anderson; original version on Bonds’ 1984 Standing in the Line of Fire album.
“Saint Valentine’s Day.” Original version on The Cocktail Slippers’ 2009 album, Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre.
“I Don’t Want to Go Home.” Original version on Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes’ 1976 album of the same name.
“Ride the Night Away.” Co-written with Steve Jordan; original version on Jimmy Barnes 1985 album For the Working Class Man. Later recorded by Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes for Better Days.