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Steely dan surprise

Steely Dan on VH1 "Storytellers"

How did we miss this?!

Never knew Steely Dan did a VH1 "Storytellers" episode back in 2000.

Recently found this gem on YouTube. Donald and Walter and their band of ace musicians talking about and then playing a bunch of classics.

Fun stories from Donald and Walter about the origins of the Steely Dan name (they couldn't use "Becker and Fagen" because it sounded like the name of a delicatessen), the story behind "Kid Charlemagne" (about a drug kingpin in 1970s San Francisco) and more.

Well worth it…

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James taylor tribute

Tower Of Power Covered James Taylor? Really?!

We thought we knew pretty much everything there was to know about Tower Of Power.

But then Gooseneck fan Tony Yardley directed us to this hidden gem of TOP covering the James Taylor classic, "Steamroller Blues."

Man, what a track! Click on the image below to start the video. The horns come in at about the one-minute mark, so give it a minute to warm up. You won't be disappointed.

This track comes from the James Taylor tribute album, Sketches of James. In addition to the TOP cover, it's got some other…

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Bonnie raitt streetlights

Bonnie Raitt: Angel From Montgomery

She may not be from Montgomery, but Bonnie Raitt is definitely an angel, heaven-sent to share her beautiful music with the world.

We love to hear Bonnie singing her signature tune, "Angel From Montgomery."

It's amazing to us that this song that's sung from a woman's point of view was written by a man, the great John Prine.  Such an amazing songwriter and storyteller.

This classic song has been covered many, many times but it will always be associated with one artist, Bonnie Raitt. You can find it on…

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Ac dc back in black

AC/DC: The Making Of Back In Black

Malcolm Young's untimely death in 2017 caused us to go back and listen to a bunch of classic AC/DC, especially their most iconic album, Back in Black, which has gone on to sell over 50 million copies.

That record was recorded in the wake of another untimely death -- that of Bon Scott, AC/DC's original front man.

Bon's sound was truly one-of-a-kind. When an AC/DC track came on the radio, his voice was unmistakable. Unfortunately, Bon's less-than-angelic lifestyle led to his early demise.

It was in…

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Bonnie raitt takin my time

Bonnie Raitt's Hidden Gem

What's Bonnie Raitt's best album?

She's made many great ones, and of course Nick of Time was her big breakthrough.

But 15 years before Nick of Time, there was Takin' My Time, her classic album from 1973.

We believe this is the best of her early albums and well worth picking up if you don't already own it.

The album's initial producer was Little Feat's Lowell George. But apparently Bonnie and Lowell were dating at the time and they starting clashing on the production of this record. Bonnie said she…

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Eric clapton

The Secret Of Eric Clapton's Early Success

Eric Clapton's first solo record is a classic, with hits like "After Midnight" and "Let It Rain."  

This marked a turning point in his career not just because it was his first solo record, but also because he connected with an amazing group of American musicians led by Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett.

It's hard to overstate how important Delaney and Bonnie were at this point in Clapton's development as a singer and songwriter. In fact, Delaney Bramlett is famously cited as the guy who got Eric Clapton to…

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Tom petty runnin down a dream

The Tom Petty Documentary You Need To Watch

The news of Tom Petty's death struck us like a punch to the gut.

He was without a doubt one of the great rock 'n roll originals, a man who lived by his own rules and with his own code, and a man who would not back down.

From humble roots playing keg parties in Central Florida to headlining the biggest stages in the world, Tom Petty and his friends in the Heartbreakers never lost that feeling of being regular guys, of connecting with the audience and having their feet firmly planted on the ground. 


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Haitian divorce

Steely Dan's Best Reggae Songs

When you think of Steely Dan, reggae is not the first thing that comes to mind. 

But over the years, Steely Dan recorded some amazing reggae songs. And then Walter Becker went on to make his second album, Circus Monkey, almost entirely based on reggae.

Here are some of Steely Dan's best reggae tracks:

"Haitian Divorce" from The Royal Scam

The story behind this song is hilarious. In the 1970s, Haiti was known as a place to get quick divorces, and unilateral divorces -- meaning husband and wife didn't have to agree to it, either one could decide. Also it was common to go down to Haiti and get a divorce, then get remarried to a new partner all in the same weekend. 

Donald and Walter heard about this from one of their recording engineers who had just returned from Haiti, divorce in hand. So the boys turned that story into this noir tale.

Steely Dan's lyrics have always been visual and cinematic, and this tune is especially vivid. One of our favorite lines is now we dolly back / now we fade to black -- written as screenplay direction.

Dean Parks is the great studio guitarist who played the song's sinuous lines, and then Walter added the signature talk box effect to the track.

The late, great Walter Becker actually sang this tune live from time to time. Here's a great version of Walter singing it:


"Babylon Sisters" from Gaucho

For a couple of New Yorkers, Donald and Walter wrote one of the quintessential Los Angeles songs in "Babylon Sisters." This tune evokes L.A. more vividly than almost any other we can think of, maybe with the exception of the Eagles' "Hotel California."

From the laid-back, reggae-inspired groove to the opening line drive west on Sunset / to the sea, you know you're in La-La Land. You can picture Donald and Walter in a convertible, leaving Hollywood on their way to a debauched weekend in Malibu. 

Donald and Walter were masters of noir lyrics, and this is one of their most dissolute stories. The references to prostitutes (the "babylon sisters" of the title) and cocaine ("cotton candy") are central to the narrative.

It's worth noting that neither Donald nor Walter played on this track, a sign that they had taken their use of top studio players to an extreme. The tune is anchored by Bernard Purdie's namesake "Purdie shuffle" and Walter's "favorite bassist" Chuck Rainey. The background vocals are amazing and delivered by a bunch of talented ladies, including Patti Austin who went on to solo fame.

"I.G.Y." from The Nightfly

Ok, so this was Donald Fagen and not Steely Dan, but the same idea applies. And it's debatable whether you would call this reggae, but the distinctive chucka-chucka reggae-style guitar is enough to make it qualify for this story. 

The Nightfly is Donald Fagen's most autobiographical album, based on growing up in the suburbs around New York and New Jersey in the 1950s. I.G.Y. stands for "International Geophysical Year" in 1957-58, an event promoting collaboration among the world's scientists. 

In this song, Donald's tongue is firmly in cheek, as he sings about that era's naive innocence and belief that technology could make a better future for all of us.

It was Donald's only Top 40 hit and was nominated for a song of the year Grammy in 1983 but lost to Willie Nelson's version of "Always On My Mind" (yikes!).

Circus Money by Walter Becker

At this point in his career, Walter got so immersed in reggae that his entire second album is based on it. Apparently, he was listening to lots of dub reggae and similar music at the time he recorded this album.

There is no Donald Fagen presence on this album, either as a player, producer or writer. Instead the producer this time is Larry Klein, the great bassist and producer and ex-husband of Joni Mitchell. 


Related Links

If you like Steely Dan and reggae, you should hear Gooseneck's new reggae tune Playin' In My Girlfriend's Band. Pick up a FREE DOWNLOAD at this link, or by clicking the image below:



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Flying cowboys

Walter Becker And Rickie Lee Jones Made An Amazing Album Together

In light of Walter Becker's passing, we wanted to highlight some of his great work outside Steely Dan. Especially the amazing album he produced with Rickie Lee Jones in 1989, Flying Cowboys.

If you haven't heard it, Flying Cowboys is well worth checking out. The production on this record is tasty and sophisticated, true hallmarks of Walter's style.  

With Walter at the helm, the list of musicians on the record is a who's who of great studio players -- in fact, it reads a lot like the liner notes on a…

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Walter becker

Walter Becker RIP: The Funny Man Of Steely Dan

September 3rd, 2017 was a sad day for Steely Dan fans and music fans everywhere because that's the day Walter Becker died.

Amid all the tributes to Walter that are popping up online, the best is Donald Fagen's moving statement about his bandmate and friend. Donald characterized Walter this way: "He was smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter."

The only silver lining for Steely Dan fans might be Fagen's assertion that "I intend to keep the music we created together alive as long as I…

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