Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Jukebox 2: Your High-heeled Sneakers Edition

A little tasty Seventies jazz-funk to clean that lingering muskrat flavor from the palate.

While I've got you here, I should tell you my Steely Dan story.

I loved these guys in the Seventies. I loved the sleek technical skill of their music, the rasp and funk of the bass, the sly intelligence of their lyrics. I think I played Pretzel Logic until the cassette tape simply broke and spooled itself into the guts of my Onkyo tape deck.

So when they came to play in Philadelphia in the middle Seventies (1974, I think...) I morgaged my body and soul to get a ticket. I think I must have begged every penny I could from my parents and mowed about the equivalent of one-third the land area of Rhode Island in lawns to scrape together the jack to go see the guy in concert. I rode into downtown Philadelphia on the Amtrak local in a quivering, fanboyish frenzy.

And the band - other than "Skunk" Baxter on lead guitar - was superbly mediocre.

Not awful. Not even that bad. Just...not as good as their studio perfection.

Some musicians don't need that perfection. They make up for it with energy, or by providing bits of individual brilliance too wiggy, or wandering, or peculiar, for the studio.

Becker, Fagan & Co. didn't do that. They played their tunes straight-up.

But they just weren't tight, weren't full of the hard, slick, funkalicious drive that they packed into their studio recordings.

Well; lesson learned. Ever since then I've made sure to listen to several live recordings of any band or musician I'm thinking of dropping some coin on to see live, and through that I've enjoyed a great deal of great music.

And every time I cue up "Hey, Nineteen" or "Show Biz Kids" on the CD player the tight harmonies and interlocking bass and guitar lines are as perfect as they were coming out of my old speakers back in 1974.

"Worry the bottle, mama, it's grapefruit wine.
Kick off your high heel sneakers, it's party time.
The girls don't seem to care what's on,
As long as it plays till dawn.
Nothin' but blues and Elvis
And somebody else's favorite song...

Give her some funked up music, she treats you nice.
Feed her some hungry reggae, she'll love you twice.
The girls don't seem to care tonight.
As long as the mood is right

FM - no static at all...

1 comment:

basilbeast said...

We were in Philly, Fall of 74 - '77.

As for SD, Chicago edges them out, imho.