Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Steely Dan are out of practice"

We are part of the video-viewing audience over on YouTube and other similar sites that find those "Shreds-videos" fun. You know, when someone with a musical talent take a video of a famous artist and overdubs it with some less than flattering sounds making the artist in question come across as less than "in the pocket", "on the beat" and various other phrases used to describe musical prowess.

Yeah, it's silly, but we laughed out loud to one featuring Santana. Don't know if it's still around as some of the artists that got the shreds-treatment didn't like it and got the videos pulled. No, I don't think Santana was part of that, but the videos come and go.

We can't understand while it took us eight months to find this one wih our perennial favourites, but here it is:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

15 minute Walter Becker interview on BBC Radio Ulster

OK. So Walter's interviews with local BBC stations didn't stop at one. We already mentioned the short interview he did on BBC Radio Stoke earlier this month. Nothing much new said there. So there's no need grieving over the fact that the link to the interview is internet history by now.

To be earnest we haven't listened to the 15 minutes long interview he did on BBC Radio Ulster yet, but since his international record label Sonic360 has it available as a download we expect it to be worth a listen for every Walter Becker/Steely Dan-fan.

Better catch it before it is gone! (*)

(*) We just noticed that 12 of the 18 photos of Walter published about a week ago has disappeared from the Sonic360 site. Why?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Songs That Inspired The Man

Where would you find a single CD that brings together 50's rhythm & blues heroes as Howlin' Wolf and Guitar Slim with "serious music" composers as Anton Webern and Igor Stravinsky?
Well, it can't be nothing else but a collection of the music that inspired rock musician Frank Zappa. reports that this is a release by Chrome Dreams, entitled Frank Zappa’s Jukebox – The Songs That Inspired The Man.

The tracklist:
The Robins - Riot In Cell Block No. 9
Richard Berry - Louie Louie
Hank Ballard and the Midnighters - Work With Me Annie
Edgard Varse - Ionisation
Lightnin Slim - My Starter Wont Work
Clarence Gatemouth Brown - Okie Dokie Stomp
Don & Dewey - Leavin It All Up To You
Howlin Wolf - I Asked For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline)
The Channels - The Closer You Are
The Clovers - Your Cash Aint Nothing But Trash
Muddy Waters - Louisiana Blues
Cecil Taylor - Song
Andre Williams - Bacon Fat
The Chips - Rubber Biscuit: Epps / Fulton / Johnson / Lincoln / Strain
Anton Webern - Bagatelle (opus 9) conducted by Robert Craft
Anton Webern - Symphony (opus 21) conducted by Robert Craft
Four Deuces - W-P-L-J: McDaniel / Dobard
The Turbans - No No Cherry: Caesar / Gray
Eric Dolphy - Out There
Guitar Slim - The Story Of My Life
Johnny Guitar Watson - Three Hours Past Midnight
Little Richard - Directly From My Heart
The Cadets - Stranded In The Jungle
Igor Stravinsky - Rite Of Spring (extract) conducted by Pierre Monteux
Igor Stravinsky - Rite Of Spring (extract) conducted by Pierre Monteux
Tony Allen - Nite Owl

Donald Fagen and Walter Becker guest DJs this weekend!

From the Sirius Radio Pure Jazz channel homepage:

Sittin' In with Steely Dan: Guest DJs Donald Fagen and Walter Becker

Sat 8/2 10:00 pm ET

Long before they found huge success as the rock band Steely Dan, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker met as two young jazz fans comparing record collections at Bard College. Tonight they reconnect with their musical roots and each takes a turn as guest DJ, playing the jazz records that continue to inspire them.

Rebroadcast: Sun., Aug. 3rd @ 5 pm ET & Mon., Aug. 4th @ 12 pm ET.

Should be an interesting show!
Which remind us that we still haven't done our post on Walter's DJ:ing on the Totally 70's channel a few weeks back. We do, however, have his hour on Super Shuffle described here.

Donald Fagen did three shows on Sirius Satellite Radio in February this year. Click this link to read more about that.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A great Walter Becker cover by Sara Colman

There's been a few Steely Dan covers over the years. And a couple of Donald Fagen's solo songs have also been covered by other artists.

But how about Walter Becker's solo stuff? No cover versions that we've heard of. Until we stumbled across the MySpace page of a singer from Birmingham, England; Sara Colman.

She's covered Walter's Book Of Liars from 11 Tracks Of Whack for her upcoming second album. It's a jazzy version with just piano, drums, bass and Sara's voice. A great match. And especially interesting to hear if you're familiar with Walter's original version.

We wrote her and she wrote back saying Book Of Liars is one of her favourite songs.

Her first album is titled Spellbound (1999) and featues nine of her own compositions. For her second album she's picked a couple of covers. Book Of Liars is one, Joni Mitchell's How Do You Stop another.

There's more to learn about Sara. She's one third of the group The Passion. Her own homepage will hopefully soon be updated. Meanwhile you can hear Book Of Liars and more on her MySpace page. That one also links to The Passion's page for even more music!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Circus Money on the cheap. Make that ultra-cheap.

Found. A site in good ol' Russia selling Walter Becker's Circus Money online for $1.62!
That amount will buy you the whole record as mp3-files in VBR-quality.

Yes. The say they're legal but the low, low, low prices tell another story. At least that's our take on it without having scrutinized the legal stuff. All we know is that these Russian sites have been hunted for years and just keep on poppin' up under new names.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Steely Dan: Two pics from Ottawa

Steely Dan's Think Fast tour rolls on. Mike Alexander has published two fine photos from the Bluesfest in Ottawa July 5. One of Donald, one of Walter. Check them out here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Happy Walter!

Nineteen Eighteen, yep, nineteen eighteen new photos of Walter Becker up on the Sonic 360 homepage.
A bit small but all new, all nice and all fun!

Click the link and then the black and white pic of Walter and Larry to get to the new ones.

We especially like the laughing Walter and the chess playing Walter. What's up with those eggs?

UPDATE July 31: Just noticed that there's just six pics left. The rest has ... vanished! Should we blame it on Selfish Gene?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Elton, Ben & Jerry

Do you happen to be a person who like both ice cream and the music of Elton John? May we the suggest that you skip, hop and run to Vermont, where the chain of Ben & Jerry's (*) celebrate Elton's first concert in the state with a special ice cream named Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road.

The flavor was designed based on Elton's wish for something containing chocolate and peanut butter.

Elton John playing Vermont on July 21 means that he has played all 50 states in the USA. The ice cream is available in Vermont only between July 18 - 25.

(*) Ben & Jerry's is a worldwide ice cream company started back in 1978 by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield back in ... Vermont!

"YouTubing" it up for Walter?

The two short videos posted as teasers before the album Circus Money was released has been viewed over 13 000 times in the two months they've been up on YouTube.
Below the links to the videos on there's a small ... plea. So far unanswered:

YouTube: Fringehead
YouTube: Strange
We're still looking for more. Anybody?

Yes, Walter and his gang would love to see some video reactions from the fans. The album is out and the music is there to inspire whatever video responses the fans can come up with. 
Among the current Steely Dan-tour-attending audiences there seem to be quite a number of persons equipped with cellphones/mobile phones and an urge to capture snippets or whole songs from whatever distance from the stage. And the post it on the Internet.

Here is - as we see it - a chance to step up and above that and deliver what might be so much more than a miniscule piece of viral marketing. Who knows what might happen if the right pair of eyes fall on your piece of creativity? Fame! Money!  Swedish ginger cookies!

Radio Dupree rises to the challenge and will dust off our video equipment to in due time deliver some sort of video answer to the two WB-videos above. 
With any luck that WB video poster Scapegrace99 will let our video responses stay up once they're there. 

Readers: Get creative!

Walter; we stumbled across a great cover of one of your 11 Tracks Of Whack numbers. More about that in a day or two.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Heavy metal monk blame it all on Metallica

Cesare Bonizzi is a 62 year old Italian monk who got hooked on heavy metal after attending a Metallica concert a 15 years ago. Check him out here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Walter Becker interview

"To me, good is better, and perfect is the enemy of good in this case."

Quote from an interview with Walter Becker over at Go have a look if just to see the unusual non-concert backstage-relaxing-with-an-acoustic-guitar-photo of Mr. Becker.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Congratulations to Carolyn & Wayne

Mizar5 is back online with some "family news":

On July 8 Carolyn Leonhart-Escoffery(*) and Wayne Escoffery became parents to a boy; Vaughn Jalen Escoffery. Picture of the baby over on Mizar5.

Congratulations to the parents from Radio Dupree, the unofficial Walter Becker Imaginary Playcousin station(!)

(*) Trivia: Carolyn is still the only Steely Dan member who has left a comment on this blog.

Ooops. "Midsomer Murders" on the TV. Gotta go!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Circus Money: International version

It arrived today. A thick padded envelope with the international version of Walter Becker's Circus Money. Complete with that bonus track and the promised "additional artwork".
For you who'd like to know a bit more what that additional artwork consists of we've slapped up a page that you can reach here. It's just a couple of pics and a few lines of text.

And those that have ordered a copy don't want to know anything should not click on that link. OK.

We'll just say that a great album just got a little bit better.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

wing .... prayer .... **** ;)

With Circus Money's "international release date" of July 14 coming up, more reviews appear in European papers/magazines/whatever.

And reviews are a funny thing. Some reviews take the time to tell the story of the artist all the way up way to this brand new album, some just spit out a few, short sentences. Some reviews are good, some are bad.
I wouldn't say that the longer the review the better the chance of it being good or even great. No way. But somehow sometime I get a feeling that a short review is in need of an additional sentence or two.

Here's a three sentence review of Walter Becker's Circus Money pubished in The Scotsman. A positive ****-star review, but when I read it I got the same feeling I got seeing a movie scene with a small propeller plane, one motor on fire, coming in for a landing swaying from side to side with the pilot just able to keep it all under control.

Read it yourself. It won't take long.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Best of Q2 according to have listed the best in new releases and reissues for April, May and June.
Walter Becker's Circus Money is on the list.

Click here to see the full list and read the reviews.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Walter Becker on BBC Radio: Catch it while it's there

A Steely Dan fan from Liverpool posted the link over on the Bluebook.
Walter did a 4 minute interview yesterday (Wednesday) on BBC Radio Stoke's Nick Robbins show.

Here's the link to the show's page:

Once there click the "listen again"-link up in the right column. A BBC "radio" should open. Find Nick Robbins and click the Wednesday link. The interview is wher the timer says 1 hour and 35 minutes = 35 minutes in to the show. We haven't heard it yet, but expect it to be well worth the clicking.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Beat The Boots re-released on iTunes

The Zappa Family Trust has made Frank Zappa's Beat The Boots series for sale online through iTunes.
The Beat The Boots albums were originally released by Frank in the early 1990's to try to supress bootleggers. The first release was a box of eight bootleg albums, and the second one included seven albums. Later the albums were reissued separately but have never been reissued this century.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Bowie boot finally as official release

The first David Bowie bootleg record has now been released officially, after 38 years.
The Santa Monica '72 Ziggy Stardust show was broadcast on the radio.
It was soon released as a bootleg record (Ziggy In Concert), the first Bowie bootleg ever.
There was a semi-legal release in 1994, but now it's out as an official Bowie release.

Tracklist: Introduction/Hang On To Yourself/Ziggy Stardust/Changes/The Supermen/Life On Mars/Five Years/Space Oddity/Andy Warhol/My Death/The Width Of A Circle/Queen Bitch/Moonage Daydream/John I'm Only Dancing/Waiting For The Man/The Jean Genie/Suffragette City/Rock 'N' Roll Suicide.

iTunes Sweden: Dark Horse Dub available

I'm no heavy user of iTunes but from time to time I drop by and see what's available.
With a new computer iTunes was added today and just for fun we looked up "Walter Becker" and found the international version of Circus Money available including the bonus track Dark Horse Dub!
We coughed up the 9 SEK ($1.50/0.95€) it took to buy the track in question and can after a couple of spins say that it is NOT a leftover added on just to sell a few extra copies.

At 6 min and 46 seconds it heavy on the dub goove and the horns with a couple of surprise twists and turns along the way. A minimum of lyrics and if you like the rest of Circus Money this is a must.

As it is on iTunes Sweden our guess is that it is available in other iTunes stores as well altough the release date of the physical CD is July 14. The release date on iTunes says July 1.
Worth considering is that the version on iTunes isn't lossless, so you don't get the sound quality the CD will offer.

Don't be surprised if Dark Horse Dub pops up on the Radio Dupree playlist as we type.

P.S. We will of course buy the physical CD once it is released. Why? Because it is the only way we can get the promised "exclusive additional artwork". And we're pretty sure that artwork are two paper dolls of Abe Vigoda and Skip Gildersleeve including several changes for each doll. The perfect companions to play with as you listen to Circus Money.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Circus Money: Preview bonus track

Catch the dub!
A short clip of the bonus track that comes with the international version of Circus Money is up on the Sonic360 page. Check the audio player down in the right corner. Click and listen to Dark Horse Dub.

This version of Circus Money is out July 14 and also promises "additional artwork" compared to the North American version.