Sunday, June 21, 2009

Walter Becker: Bob Is Not Your Uncle Anymore (Demo) & Downtown Canon (Radio Edit)

Walter Becker's new two track single as it appears on iTunes Sweden

The latest release from Walter Becker's Circus Money is yet another digital-only single. If "single" means two tracks as a sort of a- and b-side of the vinyl single.

Just like last October's Somebody's Saturday Night EP - if by "EP" you mean ... and so on - there's a radio edit (two on that EP) and a this-release-only version of an album track. The EP featured a remix of the album's title track Circus Money, this single a demo of the tune Bob Is Not Your Uncle Anymore.

And with Walter and Donald not persons to fill official releases with demo versions of songs, I was of course eager to hear in what way this would differ from Bob Is Not... from Circus Money.
The answer? Not that much.

The melody and instrumentation is there played MIDI-wise by Walter on the good ol' computer, and the vocals - added at Larry Klein's studio - is surprisingly like the final ones that ended up on Circus Money. I had expected the singing to be rougher, more basic.
The overall sythesized sound had me thinking of the production of Becker's solo debut 11 Tracks Of Whack that longtime Steely Dan über-fan Pete Fogel once said "almost amounted to a release of demo tapes".

I am one of those that was surprised by the sound 11 Tracks Of Whack when it was released back in 1994. And I think it is safe to say that a lot of fans of Steely Dan as well as Donald Fagen's solo albums expected more of the same from a Becker solo album.
With this demo version of Bob Is Not Your Uncle Anymore I think the surprise is how complete and ready the demo is to the finished song.

As for the A-side; Downtown Canon, it has been given the radio edit treatment. No big - if any - difference in the sound mix as far as I can tell, but shortened from 5:36 to 3:39 by cutting seven seconds of the intro and fade out 30 seconds earlier. The second verse (Chasing sensation to remind us...) is cut out completely, as this version goes to the female vocals oh-oooing for some 20 seconds shorter than on the original before the third and final verse (Packed up the Dylan and the Man Ray...) starts.

I do enjoy these bonus releases and hope there are more. And judging by this quote from a recent Billboard article/interview there just might be:
Becker, meanwhile, hopes to make a few more dub remixes of songs from his 2008 solo album "Circus Money" and also has "a couple of tracks left over from that session that I'll finish and put on line or propagate in some way.
Would be nice to get all these extra tracks available in some lossless format like the newsletter freebie Circus Money Hammerhead Remix, that came in mp3, mpeg4, flac and wav versions.

/N.S.

2 comments:

Gina said...

lol. who knows there is room for yet another review of Circus Money outtakes then...

has Radio Dupree got a Facebook page yet? would be cool to meet you in there as well... also a FB Banyan Trees SIS Yellow group now, if St. Al is serious about killin' the Yellow due to lack of time etc etc to maintain it.

not long before Italy eh...?

Neb & Siggy said...

Outtakes... ;)

No Facebook page yet, but who knows...

And Italy? Mentally packing my bags...