Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Cynic Is A Disappointed Romantic

I was going to wax lyrical about summer's lease hath all too short a date and the heat peaks before the thunderstorm breaks and how all great summer art celebrates the ripening even as it anticipates the coming decay, those dog days, but I figured I'd just post some Dan instead.

I know I'm on a hiding to nothing here with some of you tight-trousered boys and girls but I really do think Becker and Fagen are up there with the best of Elmore Leonard and Robert Altman's Long Goodbye as sassy, laconic chroniclers of 70s LA/USA and what great music, really.

Gaucho doesn't get nearly enough plaudits either.

'Here come those Santa Ana winds again...'

Steely Dan - 'Babylon Sisters' (1980)
Steely Dan - 'Gaucho' (1980)


  1. I like Steely Dan. Never really investigated deeply, but I like what I've heard; the greatest hits is as far as I've got in owning though.

    What always gets me is how much of the 80s were influenced by them. Early 80s were Bowie, Roxy and Motown; late 80s were all Fleetwood Mac and Steely Dan.

    Although some earlier 80s records were hugely in debt to them...Prefab Sprout anybody?

  2. The Dan were like a guilty pleasure when I first bought The Royal Scam in the early 90s, (I'd just got a mortgage and thought I should be buying serious music) and the sort of outfit I associated with DLT and suchlike. But all that went after a week of playing TRS, I bought all the albums, Gaucho being the final piece of the SD puzzle. It's a gem, (Katie Lied is the ho-hum one for me) Can'tBuy A Thrill is such a cracker too, 'Brooklyn Owes', 'Midnight Cruiser', 'Change of The Guard' etc...

    Have you seen Larry F16 has posted a couple of Dan Covers? Worth grabbing, but why aren't more of their songs covered.

  3. 'Hey Nineteen' ain't half bad, either.

    Big fan of the Dan, I be.

  4. BTW, I don't think the Sprouts owe any debt to Steeley Dan at all.

    Now, China Crisis and Danny Wilson, on the other hand...

  5. i just finished reading the long goodbye yesterday. top class. he's not got a cat in it though.

  6. My dad made me listen to "Aja" on a constant loop in the car when I was a a kid. Never did me any harm. In fact we went to see them last year at the hell hole that is the National Indoor Arena. They're the only band I've ever enjoyed in such an oversized arena. All the hits and more, even though Walter Becker spoilt it by insisting on doing the vocals on "Haitian Divorce"

  7. Well, see, now...no-one else sounds like them to me, they should be in a category of their own at record shops...'Literate/Fusion'...

    Me, I like the 'mature' stuff but the Missus is with Mondo on the Thrill period.

    'The Cuervo Gold, The fine Colombian'- *sigh*...Jon, I was gonna post Hey Nineteen, but something about 'Turn west on Sunset to the sea' called unto me; 'Turn that jungle music down - just until we're outta town'.

    Stoibee's Dad = way cool; and Miss Ally - I could furnish you with Chandler darl, and just might x

  8. Jon, sorry beg to differ on the Prefabs>


    Go there and see an artists choice by Paddy McAloon. The Dan are in there...

    Interesting read actually.

  9. i've read lots of the others but somehow not that one. i think cos i like that eliot gould version so much. in the same way i'm a bit worried about starting the thin man. which i'm just about to.

  10. Well, I don't think the Sprout's sound has anything to do with the Dan any more than it does with Sun Ra or Iggy Pop who also make Paddy's list.

    But, by extrapolation, I see your point...

  11. lol thanks!, I can hear it in their sound though. But I see what you mean about the others though! Although you could argue that King Of Rock N Roll has a certain Sun Ra influence going on....

    Check out Machine Gun Ibiza from Jordan The Comeback for instance, or tracks like Moving The River. To my ears at least I can hear that sound..

  12. Alright you two take it outside or I'm calling the rock police.

  13. Outside already, listening to the Sprout.....

  14. Remedial rock school, for me!

  15. Steely Dan (up to and including Gaucho, I think they sort of lost their inventiveness after that) are one of the greatest bands ever. It's as simple as that. Lots of jazz influences and I agree they are sort of unique and exist in a genre all of their own (and I would argue that Bowie and Roxy exist in their own genres too).

    The 1st three albums do it for me (as I grew up with them I suppose) - Thrill, Ecstasy and Logic.

    I lost Pretzel Logic and finally got round to buying another vinyl copy just last week (in a great little 2nd hand record shop in Falmouth).

    I like to think they played a song just for me - in 1974(I think) I saw them at the Bristol Hippodrome. During the encore they asked the audience what we would like and I shouted out (very loudly!) My Old School and they played it (of course they had played just about everything else by then so it was pretty obvious they were going to play it before the end, but I like to delude myself).


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.