April 18, 2009
Sunday Music: Brooklyn Owes the Charmer Under Me
Steely Dan has Brooklyn roots and have a proven inability to make bad songs. Here, one of my many favorites. Off to Orlando tomorrow for the big conference.
( from the great wikipedia )
Donald Fagen and Walter Becker met at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, in 1967. Fagen was passing by a cafe called The Red Balloon when he heard Becker rehearsing the electric guitar. He would later recount the experience during an interview: "I hear this guy practicing, and it sounded very professional and contemporary. It sounded like, you know, like a black person, really." He immediately introduced himself to Becker, and asked him "Do you want to be in a band?" They quickly realized that they enjoyed similar music, and even listened to the same jazz radio stations; not long after, they began writing songs together.
The two soon began playing in local groups. One of these bands, first known as The Bad Rock Group and later as The Leather Canary, included future comedy star Chevy Chase on drums. They played covers of songs written by The Rolling Stones ("Dandelion"), Moby Grape ("Hey Grandma"), and Willie Dixon ("Spoonful") along with a handful of originals. Terence Boylan, another Bard musician, remembered that Fagen immediately took to the Beatnik lifestyle while attending college: "They never came out of their room, they stayed up all night. They looked like ghosts — black turtlenecks and skin so white that it looked like yogurt. Absolutely no activity, chain-smoking Lucky Strikes and dope." Fagen himself would later remember it as "probably the only time in my life that I actually had friends."
After Fagen graduated in 1969, the two moved to Brooklyn and tried to peddle their tunes in the Brill Building in midtown Manhattan. Kenny Vance, a member of the pop group Jay and the Americans, who had a production office in the building, took an interest in their material that led to work on the soundtrack of the low-budget Richard Pryor film You've Got to Walk It Like You Talk It or You'll Lose That Beat in 1971. Becker later spoke bluntly of the soundtrack: "We did it for the money." A series of demos made between about 1968 and 1971 are available in bootleg form. This collection features approximately twenty-five tracks, and is notable for the stripped down production and decidedly lo-fi nature of these tracks (many songs are just Fagen and his piano) is contrary to many other Steely Dan works. In addition, although some of these songs ("Caves of Altamira", "Brooklyn", "Barrytown") re-recorded for Steely Dan albums, the majority of them were never officially released.
Susan Boyle Makes the World Rock
Of course, as Left and half the world will tell you , this should be the song of the week on this and on everyone's blog. I'm not a fan of these contests, but this triumph of the human spirit makes me want to change my mind. Blow it up, watch every second of it two or three times. The performance, and the story, is that good.
Until last weekend she lived a self-contained existence alone with her cat Pebbles, listing her hobbies as watching television and reading. She is a volunteer at Our Lady of Lourdes church, visiting elderly members of the congregation several times a week. It seems a far cry from being tipped at odds of 1-2 by Ladbrokes, the bookmaker, as the winner of the UK’s most popular talent show. ( from timesonline article
( Performance from " Britain's Got Talent" live talent contest in Glasgow, Scotland )