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Steve Van Zandt contributed much to the drama of Springsteen's early albums before departing from the E Street Band in 1984, and his writing and production for Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes helped elevate them to something more than merely the best bar band in the country. Absolutely committed to classic rock & roll in the Rolling Stones tradition, Little Steven, with his gypsy head-rag and flamboyant stage presence, then came on convincingly as a frontman - Men Without Women was a scorching debut, and it seemed, for a short while, that the Disciples of Soul might stand as a Great Last Hope for rock undiluted either by postpunk irony or revivalist over-reverence.
But neither Men nor its two capable, now-deleted '80s successors, Voice of America and Freedom - No Compromise, found much of an audience. America lost its chance to embrace a kind of homegrown Clash, but Steven continued his admirable apostolic work in the late '80s as one of the guiding lights behind Artists United Against Apartheid. In 1999 Little Steven came roaring back with Born Again Savage - a guitar showcase that featured him turning in pyrotechnics in the style of Hendrix and prime Yardbirds.
From 2004's The New Rolling Stone Album Guide
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