Steve Goodman biography pays homage to writer

Posted: Friday, August 03, 2007

LOS ANGELES - Clay Eals wanted to write a biography on star-crossed folk singer Steve Goodman that people wouldn't be able to put down.

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Instead, he produced a book that, at 778 pages, is so huge that it's hard to pick up.

"I think Goodman would have liked that," Eals says, laughing at a comment one early reader of the book made to him. After all, he points out, the subject of "Steve Goodman: Facing the Music" barely stood 5 feet tall and might have struggled to juggle a telephone book.

"Facing the Music" holds a lot of words for a guy who lived only 36 years and had but one hit song, albeit a modern American classic, "City of New Orleans."

But then the diminutive Goodman, who captivated audiences by doing everything from slapping out the instrumental "Dueling Banjos" on his face in uncanny detail to donning a cowboy hat nearly as big as he was to sing the ultimate country music parody, "You Never Even Call Me by My Name," packed a lot of living into those years.

"Many people say he lived more life in his 36 years than most of us will in twice that if we get there," says Eals, who interviewed 1,050 people for the book.

"He used his talents to make people really happy, make them laugh," Eals' quotes Hillary Rodham Clinton, who performed in a high school musical with Goodman, as saying in the book. "You were always glad to see Steve comin' down the hall."

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