Patti Scialfa: Janette Beckman/Retna Ltd USA
David Browne
June 18, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

23rd Street Lullaby

Current Status
In Season
Patti Scialfa

We gave it a B+

Before she met husband Bruce Springsteen, Patti Scialfa lived, loved, and toiled away in downtown Manhattan, a time she chronicles on 23rd Street Lullaby, a modestly ambitious semi-concept album (a belated follow-up to her 1993 cult disc, ”Rumble Doll”). Like Bruce, she’s fond of noble laborers and wordy songs, loves an occasional ”sha la la” chorus, and makes no attempt to adorn her plainspoken delivery. But there’s an inviting, appealing earnestness to Scialfa’s bruised-soul folk rock. Wistful and nostalgic (but never maudlin) tunes like the title track and ”Yesterday’s Child” are guaranteed to stay with you longer than ”The Ghost of Tom Joad” ever did.

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