Still love Steely Dan. Sad to hear of Walter Becker’s passing.
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Just heard, this is sad. R.I.P
Seriously 2017? NOT cool!
Even though I'm a youngster that was born after most of Steely Dan's output came out, it is the band that I've consistently returned to throughout my twenties and thirties. So many layers of complexity that you're never really "done" with it.
Walter was a great musician, and funny and charming the few times I got to see them in concert.
So long, and thanks for all the music.
Damnit. :::banging head violently against wall:::
My yout' is blowing away.
(YOU can call me Larry)
So very very sad. I've admired and enjoyed Steely Dan since they released their first record all those years ago, and also Walter was far too young to leave us. Donald Fagen and the band intend to carry on, but Walter will still be missed.
Frank E. Lancaster
I've been a fan of Steely Dan, and Walter Becker, for a very long time. I first heard tracks from "Can't Buy A Thrill" on the local "underground" FM and immediately started saving my pennies. I think I purchased every album within weeks of release. I spent some time trying to learn the guitar parts, but eventually accepted that these albums served a different purpose - learning about music, and sometimes just plain enjoying the music.
They wrote and recorded some remarkable stuff, they demonstrated some remarkable excesses in the studio, and they made a point of swimming up stream. I am grateful for all of these things!
Rest In Peace Walter Becker! And thank for everything!
Spent a portion of last night watching this remarkable documentary on the making of AJA.
Highly recommended for those of us grieving the passing of a super talented musician who was a part of the fabric of our lives. RIP Walter.
Nothing to add to all of the above, except still more sadness, and an equally large amount of "Thank you, Mr. Becker"'s.
Walter was a really tasteful player. It takes a certain kind of ego as a writer to step back from your own playing and hire (scads of) other people who will bring something new to the music you write.
(YOU can call me Larry)
In rememberance I listened to Steely Dan most of yesterday, but don't forget Walter's solo output that allowed him to get really trippy with his reggae / dub influences.
Love this song:
Fine musician and songwriter. I admit Steely Dan was one of those bands who weren't quite my cup of tea, even though I always thought they were really good at what they did. (I do like Do it Again. Great song.)
I have a ticket to see Steely Dan in Dublin in December... Thanks for all the great music and great times Walter.
(As I write this, strangely "Third World Man" comes in to my head. Great song).
A wonderful composer, lyricist, musician and humorist. I love the video where he and Fagen are listening down to some of the solos they had guys in to record before jay graydon did his. They listen to one particularly ill fitting solo, there's a pause and Becker says, "speaks for itself, really". Gonna miss this guy a lot. In getting back into guitar playing about 10 years ago I played in a steely dan cover band for a couple of years. Never thought I'd join one of those kinds of bands, but it got my chops back together by finally learning the skunk baxter, larry carlton etc solos and all that wonderful comping on the records. I've always been a fan of theirs, wore out the grooves on countdown to ecstasy, royal scam, aja, loved the nightly... but after playing their music for a while I became even more hardcore. Morph The Cat, on one of fagen's solo records is just such a badass song. Fagen remarked about it, "why can't the apocalypse be sexy"?
Recently hooked up with a fantastic guitarist in a cover band that does 2 x 90 minute shows.
Last rehearsal was last night and the last 6 songs were added.
Reeling in the Years was one of them.
I practiced my ass off being able to play piano + double leads by Skunk as I assumed I could impress the guys b6 learning all parts.
We got to the Solo part and I called up my split but to my surprise this kid used his Pedalboard Harmonizer presets like a master.
Must say I don’t get impressed often as I work with excellent performers all of the time, but it was a perfect match of talent and technology.
So nice just to get to play Piano only on a song, been a while.
Another song where this kid shocked me was Yours is no disgrace by Yes.
Never played Steele’s Dan before.
Really love this music.
Their harmonies and grooves are awesome to learn. Try "Josie" sometime and listen to how they bend a blues into something fresh, or "Aja" for amazing harmonies and arranging.
(YOU can call me Larry)
Yes, amazing music & amazing performers. "Green Earrings" is another favourite of mine... those chords & chord progressions... the groove...
Went to Steely Dan last night at the 3Arena in Dublin - Doobie Brothers were supporting and the sound was awful (and the songs were pretty bland / same-y as well, apart from the great harmonies and the two big hits) and I thought, oh no this is going to be a repeat of when I saw Steely Dan 15 years or so ago in the same place, when the sound was so awful it ruined it - and I was thinking oh no I've shelled out €100 for nothing... We were up in 'the gods' looking down.
BUT the Dan were bloody wonderful - their guy must have got on the desk and fixed the sound - he/she turned the volume down for starters, took most of the bass rumble mud out - and wow what a gig - what a sound and performance - the trademark line-up - 4 horn section, and the 3 "Dannettes", Jon Herrington on guitar - he was stellar, don't know the rest of the line-up, the drummer was awesome, created such a groove all night, and Donald's vocal was spot on and he was in great form. Their live rendition of Black Cow and Aja was unbelievable. But the best part for me was the combination of the band and the audience reaction - you could just about hear the crowd sing every bloody word of every song (and in tune and in time).
I didn't realise till then how many of their songs actually have tremendously catchy and singable melodies (even though the chords can be as complex as bedamned).
The crowd were especially vocal on "Well I'm never goin' back to my old school"
Rediscovered this beauty recently from Messrs Becker and Fagan. Some incredible crackin' tunes on this (turn it up!), not to mention the fabulous sound production, arrangements and mix (even on youtube), and of course the quirky lyrics.
Jack of Speed (what a riff), Cousin Dupree (a rockin' country tune!), Almost Gothic, and Negative Girl my favourites.
Oh man. Love that album to bits. Listened to it just this morning actually. Honorable mention should also go to West of Hollywood. An incredible pop tune with some really creative harmonic progressions - and that 4+ minute Chris Potter tenor solo closing the track is outstanding.
Also just realized that it's Vinnie Colaiuta drumming on Negative Girl. Not surprising that he's worked with Steely Dan - but curious that it's the only song in their catalogue he's playing on.
Yeah when I got the CD a few years back I really liked it and played it to death, but generally afterwards I had the impression that it was a little bit same-y and blues-y/pop-y for them. But then came back to it recently and thought (while still not 100% convinced by that snare and bass sound!) yes this is just fantastic.
Yeah they've used many great drummers, and you know it always comes down to the drummer in the end. Even though all of the drumming, and most of the playing, on this album is very simple and sparse (and some might say the drumming is more like a drum machine), I actually think there is such a latent energy and groove in the tunes, its hard to define it, it's not so much what they're playing, but the way they're playing it, the rhythm. Same when I saw them live a few weeks ago, as well as the incredible musicianship and iconic vocals, a defining thing about it for me was the way they just got that groove / sitting-in-the-pocket thing, that is so hard to get, no small thanks to the drummer again for sure.
I love the sound textures on most Dan productions, and this one is really fab in this respect as well. You have the contrast and symbiosis of the smooth Rhodes with the crunchy guitar on top, the brass and backing vocal arrangements, lovely.
It's amazing what you can turn that famous Hitler clip to. Here Adolf bemoans what Steely Dan became post the Gaucho album.
My God, following a small bit of accidental youtube surfing, I had no idea how many Steely Dan tribute bands are out there!
Incredibly difficult to pull off, especially the lead vocal, which is so iconic. Anything not really close to the feel of it just sounds wrong. And timing-wise, most of the cover bands despite technical brilliance can sound a little rushed and just don't have that elusive laid-back groove. This one is really good, a different vocal of course, but soft and pleasing, and fairly accent-less, and every member of the band is tight (especially the drummer, most importantly), and overall it's a really good sound for a live performance. Love the sax solo near the start (beginning to realise the value of playing slightly behind the beat emotionally like he does). And the singer is also a fine sax player too.
Sorry for all the Dan posts, I"ll take a break - but I only just discovered this - if you fancy a good old rocking blues this is great! (played loud).
No, don't take a break. It's great to get to wallow in nerdy appreciation of a band that none of my friends "gets" :)
The dutch cover band is really good! Vocal is about as good as it can be - but I still have the same problem I have with the SD songs David Palmer sings on. There's just a thing about Donald's snarky, nasal delivery that just elevates the whole thing to uniqueness. Back in the day I happened to hear the well circulated early bootleg demo of "Brooklyn" many times before I head the album version. I was horrified :) A studio version of that song in the lower tempo, with Donald singing would be glorious.
And yes: Confide in Me is great. An instant mood-booster on a bleak day.
Yep you're right - Fagan's iconic delivery and personality makes them a completely different thing, makes it what it is.
And yup the slower version of Brooklyn is definitely better. The studio version is more Carly Simon-y or something.
What I realised the other day for the first time - when I came across some of the really old out-takes and demos on youtube, e.g. just Fagan and a piano - some of them are awful !- clunky piano / bad arrangement, poor singing, even out-of-tune - and even on the songs that we know so well which became the 'greatest hits' classic cracking tunes later.
Just goes to show you - try not to judge 'em when you write 'em? - if he judged the songs by the initial quality there were produced in, they would never have gotten created in the first place.
Really getting in to Everything Must Go and Sunken Condo at the mo...
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