12 Nov 2023(3 Comments)

here comes that noise again

Been getting a strongish dose of Steely Dan the last few weeks — a lot of it as ear-worm, in my head. Snatches of ‘Home at Last,’ ‘Kid Charlemagne,’ &c. kick in as I’m waking in the morning or at random while at daily work when not otherwise accompanied auditorily. For better or worse, this music is never far from me right now.

I probably owe being any kind of Dan listener to begin with, compared to the average American acquainted with classic-rock-station fare I took moderate helpings of often enough a couple of decades or so ago, to long-time online friend Darrell’s repeatedly coming back to Becker & Fagen on his blog over the years. But the near occasion for being a shade more than usually casually attentive to the band’s catalogue is the video below — which, let me go ahead and say, is great stuff, eminently worth the ~10 min. of play time.

I’m a follower of Turner’s channel and those of some of the other Brooklyn-based young performers he’s most associated with (Neely, the bassist, I’m able to follow on Nebula, happily), but this item escaped my notice until some months after it went up. I’ve been preoccupied this year. And I’m nothing like a big enough Dan fan to have known the story of the abandoned track or the forgotten tape’s coming to light before hearing it in Turner’s telling. If you are such a fan, please pardon me the passing along old news.

I love this group’s pains at respectable homage (whatever the level of accuracy they achieve, a question well beyond my ability to evaluate) and the pure fun they have in going for it. I’ve played the recording quite a few times. What I’m struck by in the end, though, top-notch as the video is, is how unlike listening to a Steely Dan track this effervescent tribute collaboration turns out to be. This isn’t a reflection touching ‘fidelity’ but a sense stemming from some other point altogether, to do with inter-communicative ‘energy’ and contrasts between the scene this music was conceived in a short half-century ago and the one Turner, Neely and friends are making their careers as music-nerd ‘creator’ artists in today. But I have no intention of trying in this post to put my finger on whatever that thing I’m dimly sensing is.

3 thoughts on “12 nov 23: covering Steely Dan: Joshua Lee Turner, Adam Neely and friends”

  1. Thanks, Paul. As you link to we saw Steely Dan in concert when Walter Becker was still alive. Good times for us, if not him.

  2. Yeah, I love that you guys got to do that before Becker’s illness and closing of the window.

    I should’ve noted above that you did of course post about about ‘the lost track’ in June. But my year’s been so strange, and I managed not to see that post, for whatever reason, when looking in and getting caught up. I only noticed it with posting of this.

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