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Babylon Sisters By Steely Dan. Album: Gaucho Released November 21, 1980

  • Some lyric interpretation:”Babylon Sisters” – Fallen women, fallen and degenerate lifestyles – he realizes he is getting too old for this shallow experiences.”Cotton Candy” – Nose candy, a reference to cocaine.”Tell me I’m the only One” – A delusional reference to relationships with prostitutes, as he wants to believe he’s more than just a client. Babylon is Biblical, about a fallen people. Steely Dan uses it as an analogy to indulgent lifestyles and self-destructive behavior, a theme that also shows up in their song “Kid Charlemagne.” In this case, the narrator is indulging in prostitutes.
  • This is the first track on Steely Dan’s Gaucho album, their last until 2000 when they released Two Against Nature. Steely Dan is a rare group that would sometimes record songs that none of the band members played on. That was the case with Babylon Sisters, which has lead vocals from Donald Fagen, but no instrumental contributions from him or Walter Becker. The group always chose the players that best suited the song, and in this case the lineup included drummer Bernard Purdie, who played his distinctive “Purdie Shuffle,” and bass player Chuck Rainey. The other instruments were:Bass Clarinet: George Marge, Walter Kane
    Fender Rhodes Electric Piano, Clavinet: Don Grolnick
    Guitar: Steve Khan
    Percussion: Crusher Bennett
    Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Clarinet: Tom Scott
    Trumpet, Flugelhorn: Randy Brecker
  • The duo used six talented backup singers on this track: Diva Grey, Gordon Grody, Lani Groves, Leslie Miller, Patti Austin and Toni Wine. Austin would have a #1 hit the following year with “Baby, Come To Me,” her duet with James Ingram.
  • Steely Dan are known for being perfectionists in the studio, a reputation they lived up to on this track. The song was recorded at Village Recorders in Los Angeles, which had a new Neve console, giving them lots of control of various sonic details. Donald Fagen made seemingly endless tweaks to this song, creating one mix after another. Someone in the studio must have been keeping count, because when he hit 250 mixes, the crew gave him a “platinum” disk they created just for him. Fagen kept going, and it was mix number 274 that finally won his approval. He took that mix home to New York, but heard a note in the bass line he didn’t like, so he returned to Los Angeles a week later and reconvened the team to fix it. The engineers won a Grammy for their efforts: Gaucho took the award for Best Engineered Recording – Non-Classical. (This story is told in Johnny Black’s article “Vinyl Icon: Gaucho,” published in Hi-Fi News & Record Review.)

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Dr. Wu By Steely Dan. Album: Katy Lied Released March 1975

  • This song seems to be about a betrayed lover talking to his eccentric shrink, who perhaps has stolen the guy’s girl. It features the signature Steely Dan irony: “All night long, we would sing that stupid song, and every word we sang I knew was true.”As to the identity of Dr. Wu, Steely Dan claims he’s a fictional character, with Donald Fagen explaining, “We change the names to protect the innocent.”
  • Becker told Rolling Stone during their 2009 tour: “It’s about that uneasy relationship between the patient and doctor. People put faith in doctors, yet they abuse their power and become dangerous.”
  • This title of the album comes from a line in this song: “Katy lies, you could see it in her eyes.”
  • If you read a drug connection into this song, you’re on the right track. Donald Fagen describes it as “kind of a love-dope triangle,” adding, “I think usually when we do songs of a romantic nature, one or more of the participants in the alliance will come under the influence of someone else or some other way of life, and that will usually end up in either some sort of compromise or a split. In this song the girl meets somebody who leads another kind of life, and she’s attracted to it. Then she comes under the domination of someone else, and that results in the ending of the relationship or some amending of the relationship. In ‘Dr. Wu’ that someone else is a dope habit. personified as Doctor Wu.”
  • Katy Lied marked the first appearance of singer Michael McDonald on a Steely Dan album, a year before he joined the Doobie Brothers. Mojomagazine asked McDonald if Steely Dan’s perfectionist album sessions were frustrating? He replied: “It it was always a challenge to pull it off; sometimes I did and sometimes I didn’t. They sent me ‘Dr. Wu’ to learn, and right away I realized I needed to sing the part in one breath. I wasn’t able to do it because I smoked way too much at that point.”

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Reelin’ in The Years By Steely Dan. Album: Can’t Buy A Thrill, Released November 1972

This song is about recalling times with a girlfriend and a romantic breakup. It’s one of the most popular Steely Dan songs, but also one of their least favorite. In Rolling Stone, September 17, 2009, Donald Fagan said, “It’s dumb but effective.” Walter Becker added, “It’s no fun.”

Steely Dan are known for their meticulous sound – every note must be perfect. This song is sometimes criticized for bringing on overly polished mainstream ’70s music.

Elliot Randall, who was not a member of Steely Dan, stopped by on an invite from Skunk Baxter while they were recording this and ended up playing the guitar solo. This was one of the first of many times Walter Becker and Donald Fagen would use studio musicians, and by their fourth album, nearly every player was a studio musician. Randall also played on their albums Katy Lied and The Royal Scam.

The quadraphonic mix of this song has extra Elliot Randall guitar fills not heard on the familiar stereo version.

Randall’s guitar solo earned high praise from Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. According to Classic Rock magazine (January 1999), Page has said it is his favorite guitar solo of all time.

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Kid Charlemagne By Steely Dan. Album: Royal Scam Released May 31, 1976

This song was inspired by Owsley Stanley III, the first “underground” chemist to mass produce high-quality LSD in the 1960s in San Francisco. Walter Becker explained: “It was kind of an Owsleyesque figure that existed in our mind’s eye. I think he was based on the idea of the outlaw-acid-chef of the ’60s who had essentially outlived the social context of his specialty but of course he was still an outlaw.”

According to Donal Fagen, the story in this song takes place from 1968-1976. As time goes on, Charlemagne’s services fall out of favor, leading to his demise.

Steely Dan favorite Larry Carlton played guitar on this track. Donald Fagen said: “He’s a real virtuoso. In my opinion he can get around his instrument better than any studio guitarist. He’s also quite a good blues player. He did the solos on ‘Kid Charlemagne.’ The middle solo he did in two takes and we used parts of both. The last solo was straight improvisation.”

In a Rolling Stone interview before during Steely Dan’s 2009 tour, Becker said that this was their most-requested song, with the line, “Is there gas in the car, yes there’s gas in the car” providing a sing-along moment. Said Becker, “A cab driver once told me that that was the stupidest line he’s ever heard.”

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Deacon Blues By Steely Dan. Album: Aja, Released September 23, 1977

This song has the curious chorus line of:

They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
Call me Deacon Blues

At the time, the University Of Alabama was a football powerhouse, winning the National Championship in 1973 and losing just one game in each of their next two seasons under the direction of their famous coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Alabama is known as “The Crimson Tide,” a grandiose name that Steely Dan’s Walter Becker and Donald Fagen found amusing.The “Deacon” is often thought to be the Wake Forest University “Demon Deacons,” whose football team struggled for much of the ’70s, winning just seven games from 1972-1975. According to Fagen, however, that name came from Deacon Jones, a star football player with the Rams and Chargers who got a lot of attention in the media because of his aggressive play and outsized personality. The name fit well into the song, with “Deacon” matching up sonically with “Crimson.”

The song is about a guy who Becker describes as a “Triple-L loser.” In the Classic Albums documentary on Aja, he said: “The protagonist is not a musician, he just sort of imagines that would be one of the mythic forms of loser-dom to which he might aspire. And who’s to say that he’s not right?”Fagen added: “‘Deacon Blues’ is about as close to autobiography as our tunes get. We were both kids who grew up in the suburbs, we both felt fairly alienated. Like a lot of kids in the ’50s, we were looking for some kind of alternative culture, an escape from where we found ourselves.”

When asked about the line, “They call Alabama the Crimson Tide, call me Deacon Blues,” Donald Fagen told Rolling Stone magazine: “Walter and I had been working on that song at a house in Malibu. I played him that line, and he said, ‘You mean it’s like, ‘They call these cracker a–holes this grandiose name like the Crimson Tide, and I’m this loser, so they call me this other grandiose name, Deacon Blues?’ and I said ‘Yeah!’ He said, ‘Cool, let’s finish it.'”

The Scottish rock group Deacon Blue, who enjoyed seven Top 20 UK hits between 1988 and 1994, took their name from this song.

Regarding the opening line, “This is the day of the expanding man,” Donald Fagen cites the 1953 sci-fi novel The Demolished Man, by Alfred Bester, as an influence. The book finds the main character “expanding” his mind and thinking of all the possibilities in his life.

When our hero is “ready to cross that fine line” in this song, that’s the line between being a loser and being a winner, a line that according to Becker he has tried to cross before, but without success.

Musicians on this track are:Lead Vocals, Synthesizer: Donald Fagen
Bass: Walter Becker
Drums: Bernard Purdie
Electric Piano (Fender Rhodes): Victor Feldman
Guitar: Larry Carlton, Lee Ritenour
Tenor Saxophone: Pete Christlieb
Backing Vocals: Clydie King, Sherlie Matthews, Venetta Fields

The 12-second intro on this track is one of the most distinctive openings in rock. It was created by having guitarist Larry Carlton and piano player Victor Feldman play the same chords, which were layered together with drummer Bernard Purdie’s cymbals.

When this song was near completion, Becker and Fagen decided they wanted a sax solo, and they had a very specific sound in mind: the tenor sax that played going to commercial on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. They tracked down the sax player in the Tonight Show band, Pete Christlieb, who recorded his part after a taping of the show. There are many tales of musicians being asked to do take after take during a Steely Dan session, but Christlieb was done in 30 minutes, and it was his second take they used. His part, and the rest of the horns, were arranged by Tom Scott.

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Katy Lied is the fourth studio album by American rock band Steely Dan, released in 1975 by ABC Records. It was certified gold and peaked at No. 13 on the US charts. The single “Black Friday” charted at No. 37.

The Inspiration for Steely Dan’s ‘Black Friday’ Goes Back 150 Years.

Before Americans began rushing to stores the day after Thanksgiving and calling the shopping frenzy “Black Friday,” the term itself was used to describe a dark and devious part of our nation’s history.

One that was mostly forgotten until 1975 when a group named Steely Dan immortalized it in song.  But still to this day. most people don’t know what the song is really about:

“When Black Friday comes
I stand down by the door
And catch the grey men when they
Dive from the fourteenth floor”

Jay Gould

Here’s the story:

The original “Black Friday” begins with a man named Jay Gould.

A leather maker turned New York railroad owner, Gould was the youngest of six children, the only boy, and a scrawny one at that; growing up to be barely five feet tall. What he lacked in size, however, he made up for in ambition.

A financial whiz even as a young man, Gould started surveying and plotting maps for land in rural New York, where he grew up. It was tough work, but not much pay, at least not enough for Gould.  In 1856 he met a successful tanner – good work at the time – who taught Gould how to make leather from animal skins and tree bark. Gould found making money just as easy as fashioning belts and bridles. He found a few rich backers, hired a few men and started his own tanning company by literally building a town from scratch in the middle of a vacant but abundant woodland. When the money started to flow, the backers balked, accusing Gould of deception. Their suspicions led to a takeover.  The workers, who all lived quite comfortably in the new town they built and named Gouldsborough, rallied around Gould and took the plant back by force, in a shootout no less, although no one was seriously hurt.

Gould won the day, but the business was ruined. By sheer luck, another promising venture opened up. A friend and fellow leather partner had some stock in a small upstate New York railroad line. The line was dying and the stock price plummeted. So Gould bought up the stock, all of it in fact, with what little earnings he had left, and began improving the line. Eventually the rusty trail hooked up with a larger line and Gould was back in business. He now owned the quite lucrative Erie Railroad.

Ten years later, in 1869, Gould turned his attentions to gold.

When Black Friday comes
I collect everything I’m owed
And before my friends find out
I’ll be on the road

Gold was being used exclusively by European markets to pay American farmers for exports since the U.S currency, greenbacks, were not legal tender overseas. Since it would take weeks, sometime months for a transaction to occur, the price would fluctuate with the unstable gold/greenback exchange rate. If gold went down or the greenback price went up, merchants would be liable -often at a substantial loss – to cover the cost of the fluctuations. To protect merchants against risk, the New York Stock Exchange was created so gold could be borrowed at current rates and merchants could pay suppliers immediately and make the gold payment when it came due. Since it was gold for gold – exchange rates were irrelevant.

Gould watched the markets closely always looking for a way to trade up. He reasoned that if traders, like himself, bought gold then lent it using cash as collateral, large collections could be acquired without using much cash at all. And if gold bought more greenback, then products shipped overseas would look cheaper and buyers would spend more. He had a plan but needed a partner.

He found that person in “Gentleman Jim Fisk.”

Jim Fisk was a larger than life figure in New York both physically and socially. A farm boy from New England, Fisk worked as a laborer in a circus troupe before becoming a two-bit peddler selling worthless trinkets and tools door to door to struggling farmers. The townsfolk were duped into calling him “Santa Claus” not only for his physical traits but his apparent generosity as well. When the Civil War came, Fisk made a fortune smuggling cotton from southern plantations to northern mills.

So by the time he reached New York, Fisk was a wealthy man. He also spent money as fast as he could make it; openly cavorted with pretty young girls; and lavished those he admired with expensive gifts and nights on the town. Fisk never hid behind his actions even if they were corrupt. He would chortle at his own genius and openly embarrass those he was cheating. He earned the dubious nickname “Gentleman” for being polite and loyal to his friends.

Fisk and Gould were already in the business of slippery finance. Besides manipulating railroad stock (Fisk was on the board of the Erie Railroad), they dabbled in livestock and bought up cattle futures when prices dropped to a penny a head. Convinced they could outsmart, out con and outlast anyone, it was time to go after a bigger prize: gold. There was only $20 million in gold available in New York City and nationally $100 million in reserves. The market was ripe for the taking and both men beamed at the prospects.

When Black Friday falls you know it’s got to be
Don’t let it fall on me

But the government stood in the way. President Grant was trying to figure out a way to unravel the gold mess, increase shipments overseas and pay off war debts. If gold prices suddenly skyrocketed, as Gould and Fisk had intended, Grant might consider a proposed plan for the government to sell its gold reserves and stabilize the markets; a plan that would leave the two clever traders in a quandary.

Through acquaintances, including Grant’s own brother-in-law, Gould and Fisk met with the president.  In June of 1869, they pitched their idea posing as two concerned (a lie) but wealthy (true) citizens who could save the gold markets and raise exports, thus doing the country a favor. They insisted the president let the markets stand and keep the government at bay. Fisk even treated the president to an evening at the opera – in Gould’s private box. The wily general may have been impressed by the opera, but he was also a practical man. He told the two estimable gentlemen that he had no plans to intervene, at least not initially. But Grant really had no idea what the two shysters were up to.

A few months later, when Fisk sent a letter to Grant to confirm the president’s steadfast support, a message arrived back that Grant had received the letter and there would be no reply. The lack of a response was as good as a “yes” for Fisk. Grant was clearly on board, he thought.

He was wrong.

“When Black Friday comes
I’m gonna dig myself a hole
Gonna lay down in it ’til
I satisfy my soul”

On September 20th, a Monday, Fisk’s broker started to buy and the markets subsequently panicked. Gold held steady at first at $130 for every $100 in greenback, but the next day Fisk worked his magic. He showed up in person and went on the offensive. Using threats and lies, including where he thought the president stood on the matter, Fisk spooked the floor.

The Bulls slaughtered the Bears.

Gold was bought, borrowed and sold. And Fisk and Gould, through various brokers, did all the buying. On Wednesday, gold closed slightly over 141, the highest price ever. In his typical showy style, Fisk couldn’t help but rub it in. He brazenly offered bets of 50-thousand dollars that the number would reach 145 by the end of the week. If someone took that sucker proposition, they lost. By Thursday, gold prices hit an astounding 150. The next day it would reach 160.

Then the bottom fell out.

At the White House, Grant was tipped off and furious. On September 24, a Friday, he put the government gold reserve up for sale and Gould and Fisk were effectively out of business. Thanks to the government sell off, almost immediately, gold prices plummeted back to the 130’s. Many investors lost a bundle, but the two schemers got out mostly unscathed.

The whole affair became famously known as “Black Friday.”

When Black Friday comes
I’m gonna stake my claim
I guess I’ll change my name

In 1975, Steely Dan, the rock group consisting of multi-instrumentalist Walter Becker and singer Donald Fagen, wrote a song about it. “Black Friday” was released that same year on their “Katy Lied” album. It was the first single off the album and reached #37 on the Billboard charts.

The song is about the 1869 Gould/Fisk takeover but confuses some listeners due to it’s reference to an Australian town named Muswellbrooke (“Fly down to Muswellbrook”) and the line about kangaroos (“Nothing to do but feed all the kangaroos”).

Fagen later confirmed in an interview the town name was added by chance: “I think we had a map and put our finger down at the place that we thought would be the furthest away from New York or wherever we were at the time. That was it.”

Today the term “Black Friday” is referenced in relation to the Friday after Thanksgiving, traditionally the busiest shopping season of the year and the day retailers go “in the black,” so to speak.

Steely Dan had none of that in mind when they wrote the song.

Steely Dan: Black Friday, Album: Katie Lied. Released March 1975

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They’re named after a dildo from the William Burroughs novel Naked Lunch. Donald Fagen recalled to Mojo magazine: “We had to come up with a name in a hurry and Walter and I were both Burroughs fans, though he was not known at the time. It was an in-joke- who’s going to know what Steely Dan was? And we figured that, like most of our bands in the past, it would fall apart after three months, so we didn’t think much about it.”

“The name had less to do with sex than a rebel spirit, a beat consciousness that we grew up with.”

When they were all attending Bard College in the late ’60s, Chevy Chase was a drummer in one of Fagen and Becker’s early bands, Bad Rock Group.

Becker and Fagen met while they were students at Bard College in upstate New York. You can hear references to these times in their song “My Old School.”

They were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2001, 4 years after they were eligible.

In 1981, they stopped recording. They got back together in 2000 and released Two Against Nature, which won the Grammy for Album Of The Year.

In 2001, they received honorary degrees from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where their music is a large part of the curriculum.

The name of their first album came from their dismay with Los Angeles. Becker once said to Fagen, “You can’t buy a thrill in California.”

Donald Fagen grew up in South Brunswick, NJ – he hated it there. In his time it was all soy bean and potato fields and there was nothing to do. Now it’s very developed and there’s still nothing to do.

Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, who played guitar on many of their records, is a self-taught expert on mobile missile defense systems. He wrote a paper on the topic in the early 1990s which caught the eye of conservative lawmakers on Capitol Hill. He has subsequently testified before Congress and is a consultant to the Pentagon.

Jeff Porcaro was a drummer for Steely Dan, and later left to form Toto. Michael McDonald was a keyboard player and did background vocals, and later he and Skunk Baxter joined the Doobie Brothers. Mark Knopfler, from Dire Straights, plays guitar on “Time Out Of Mind.” Legendary sax player Wayne Shorter even played with them.

Steely Dan released seven studio (non compilation) albums from 1972-1980. Over 100 session musicians contributed to their songs.

Other than Donald Fagan and Walter Becker, the duo that is Steely Dan, the only musician who played on all seven albums was the late Victor Feldman. Feldman was a British Jazz legend who actually played with the Glenn Miller Orchestra when he was 13 years old.

They entered the corporate music world in the Brill Building, where they briefly became members of Jay and The Americans and recorded some songs that group member Kenny Vance produced. Kenny told us: “They were just two guys that had a band that were steeped in jazz and Duke Ellington. Becker always had a book with him, and, you know, drugs were around. They were different. But then as time went by, at some point I discovered the depth that was contained there, and I always believed that they were going to be huge.”

Unlike most songwriting duos, Fagen and Becker worked together on the music and lyrics at the same time.

In 2017, Becker was diagnosed with esophageal cancer during a routine checkup. He fought it with intense chemotherapy, but the cancer proved very aggressive, and four months later it killed him. Only his closest friends and family knew of his condition.

Fagen got to spend one last day with Becker in September 2017 before he passed away. “When I heard he was really ill,” he says, “I was on the road in, I think, Salina, Kansas, and I flew back. I had a day off and he was in his apartment in New York. And I was really glad that I went. I could see he was really struggling. When I put a chair next to the bed, he grabbed my hand. It was something he had never done ever before. And we had a great talk and, you know, he was listening to hard bop – his wife had put on Dexter Gordon records. He was very weak but he was still very funny. I’m really glad I had those hours.”

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Steely Dan, Album: Gold 1982

You know the story: a band goes in the studio to record tracks for an album only to find out they recorded more than what they needed for that album, so they leave one or two tracks off it. You’ve also seen this play out: a major act comes out with a blockbuster album, so the label seeks to cash in by rushing out a “greatest hits” compilation while they wait for the band’s delayed follow-up. And if they find any worthwhile, unreleased tracks still laying around, they’ll put that out, too.

I mention these two common occurences, because they are both at the center of the story for this fine, overlooked odds ‘n’ ends track by Steely Dan, “Here At The Western World.”

This tune was part of the sessions that produced 1976’s The Royal Scam, but for some reason, it got left on the cutting room floor. It stayed on the floor for Steely Dan’s next album, their signature record Aja (1977). When it became evident to their record company ABC Records that there would be no “1978″ Steely Dan record, ABC promptly created their own by putting out a Greatest Hits Album, a compilation that oddly includes “East St. Louis Toodle-Oo” and not “Deacon Blues,” or the current Dan hit at that time, “FM.” But they did find a home for “Here At The Western World.”

The theme of this song is a favorite of Walter Becker and Donald Fagan’s: a darkly sarcastic look at drug-addled depravity they saw in contemporary America, a theme they would visit time and time again (“Babylon Sisters,” “Jack Of Speed”). This time, the object of illicit desire is most likely cocaine (“we’ve got your skinny girl”), as well as prostitution. Once again, Becker and Fagan do a masterful job painting vivid imagery in hip lingo without explicitly explaining what is being sung about, but you certainly get the general idea.

Sonically, I kind of get why this didn’t make it on The Royal Scam; it’s not because the track is a clunker because it actually would have rated as one of the better tracks on that album. No, it just wouldn’t have fit so well on a record that was dominated by either reggae vibes or Larry Carlton’s hard rocking guitar. “Here At The Western World,” with it’s sultry backup female vocals and urbane, note-perfect production in retrospect sure seems like a harbinger of what was coming the following year. It’s so tantalizingly close to that jazz-pop nirvana Aja, it could have been tacked on to that album and probably no one would notice that it came from an earlier session. Fagan supplies the lead vocals, as usual, but the rest of the chores were left to crack session musicians like Dean Parks, Chuck Rainey and Bernard Purdie.

ABC Records, who very shortly afterwards became gobbled up by MCA Records, may have been looking for a way to make a quick buck, but by rescuing “Here At The Western World” from obscurity, they did Steely Dan fans a favor. It may not have been truly a “greatest hit,” but most other bands would kill to have outtakes like that one.

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Written By Braddon S. Williams

Steely Dan: Aja

Music at its best can act as a time machine, transporting us to special moments and places in our past history. Music can link us to places, people and events with a vivid mix of nostalgia and reality.

Steely Dan’s Aja (1977) always delivers me to gatherings that one of my best friends in the world would have back in our high school years.

My friend (brother) would invariably choose music from “The Dan” (particularly Aja) as the soundtrack to his parties, and Aja was perfection for this purpose.

It is almost as if the music that Donald Fagan and Walter Becker created together simply demanded a civilized and elegant gathering of kindred spirits.

Class, elegance, beauty, and a pervasive cool permeated this entire album: every note was in the proper place, and every song was an instant classic.

All these years later, Aja, and indeed Steely Dan’s entire catalog, retains an aura of excellence. I’m not even going to single out any of the 7 glorious songs on this album.

It is a work that demands to be taken in as an entire unit, and whether on vinyl, cassette, compact disc, or streamed, Aja remains a modern masterpiece…a seamless blend of pop, rock, jazz, smooth soul, and dedication to a superior vision.

Aja is timeless, and it is a time machine that always takes me to lovely destinations.

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

On this date in history, 6/24/2018, a dear friend and I attended The Summer Of Living Dangerously Tour featuring Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers at Deer Creek (or Ruoff Music Center if you want to get technical)! In recent years, classic bands have been staging these package tours in the summer months featuring 2 or 3 co-headliners. This is great for the promoters, the fans, and the bands themselves. I was thrilled at this combination, having never seen either band before. One of my best friends would always play music by these two iconic groups at parties he would throw when his parents were away while we were in high school, so there was a high degree of nostalgia permeating this show for me. The Doobie Brothers kicked things off with a stellar set of predominantly hits and fan favorites. Long time members Patrick Simmons and Tom Johnston handled the majority of lead vocals and both played topnotch lead guitar, along with John McFee, who also added some violin work on a couple of tunes. Bill Payne (of Little Feat fame) played keyboards and there was a phenomenal sax player who earned a lot of solo spots and elevated every song he was featured on. Steely Dan took everything to the next level, providing excellence in every facet of their performance. Donald Fagan led his extraordinary live band through a treasure trove of Steely Dan highlights including Kid Charlemagne, Aja, Babylon Sisters, Reeling In The Years, Dirty Work, Black Cow, Peg, Hey Nineteen, Bodhisattva, Green Earrings, and My Old School. Every member of the band was hall of fame worthy on their chosen instrument, and the two women handling backing vocals added a lot of wonderful harmonizing and soulful feeling to the deliciously written songs. Of course, Walter Becker will always be missed, but Fagan seems dedicated to keeping Steely Dan alive and well as long as he can. This was a glorious night of blissful music…perfect weather and wonderful company made this a totally joyous occasion for me, one I will treasure always.

Written By The Concert Critic AKA Braddon S. Williams

On This Day in History