Home Read Classic Album Review: Patti Scialfa | 23rd Street Lullaby

Classic Album Review: Patti Scialfa | 23rd Street Lullaby

The red-headed mama's second solo album takes you to E Street — and beyond.

This came out in 2004 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


They say husbands and wives start to look like each other after a while. Not Patti Scialfa and Bruce Springsteen; they’re apparently starting to write like the other. Or she is, anyway.

The redheaded mama’s nostalgic CD 23rd Street Lullaby — her first since 1993’s Rumble Doll — prowls a familiar neon-soaked world of backstreets, back alleys and backroom bars full of blue-collar Romeos and waitresses who believe in a promised land and in the salvation of love. The presence of E Street Band members like Nils Lofgren ups the deja vu factor, though Marc Ribot’s twangy guitar and producer Steve Jordan’s funky drums help Patti stretch musically, adding a downtown vibe to the Lou Reed-ish You Can’t Go Back, the girl-group soul of Rose and the Chuck Berry blues of City Boys. The best part of 23rd Street, though, is Scialfa’s voice, which melds the wounded yearning of Lucinda Williams, the throaty vibrato of Chrissie Hynde and the brassy power of Bonnie Raitt. Thankfully, Patti doesn’t take after Bruce in that department yet.