Thursday, March 6, 2014


   Sorry for missing yesterday's installment to this list--as we (I) count down to my top ten bands and ultimately to my top ONE!

  The year(s) was/were 1974 & 1975 and I was (as you know) living in Ft. Wayne.  I was a bit of a musical poser even then, always wanting to like the "cutting edge" obscure stuff (if it had melody...remember..melody is always the King in my musical equation).  Dave "H" at the hardware store had turned me on to Boz Scaggs, Gato Barbieri, and the Allman Brothers Band.  And, our cherubic-faced little chamber-of-commerce Republican amateur magician Byron "B" had helped to turn me on to the great STEELY DAN.   Of course, who could escape hearing their two  omnipresent AM radio hits (still the same today in 2014 sad to say considering their stellar output) "Reelin' In The Years" and "Do It Again."   I quickly bought their first two albums. It was their debut from 1972 CAN'T BUY A THRILL (of the two hit-songs mentioned above) that mixed beauty and progressive music to such a degree that this album remains a cherished favorite even to this day.  The other standout songs on that disc were "Brooklyn (Owes The Charmer Under Me),"  "Kings," and "Midnight Cruiser."   I think I pretended (to myself) to like their sophomore album COUNTDOWN TO ECSTASY (1974) even more because of the opening track's faux Eastern-tinged mojo "Bodhisattva."   What college kid in the 70's didn't pretend to be a bit interested in Hinduism and Buddhism (calling Geo. Harrison?).  That second album did have stand-out songs in "My Old School" and "King Of The World."
   Byron and I even talked about seeing the "Dan" (that's what cool guys called them, don't ya know :D ) if they came to the Coliseum...which we thought they were going to do...but it must have fallen through.

  After moving to Kansas (Wichi-Taaaaaw) I continued to collect Steely Dan's next four lps: PRETZEL LOGIC ('74),  KATY LIED ('75),   THE ROYAL SCAM  ('76),  and AJA ('77).  These are all brilliant albums if one is interested in sharp, intelligent (caustic and dark and depressing as well) lyrics marinating over a bed of top-notch studio Jazz/fusion musicianship.  Walter Becker was a great guitarist but in letting studio axe-man Larry Carlton take the lead he showed true musical maestroship.  And Donald Fagen's world-weary Eastern-ennui voiced singing gave Steely Dan a vibe totally different than anything else that was "out-there" in the late 70s.  

When I listen to the "Dan" I get incredibly home-sick for both Ft. Wayne of 1975 and for Wichita of 1976.  But the intelligence and craftsmanship of the music always carries the day.
So, anyway, "R(ikki)eliops...don't lose that number!"


  1. I JUST GOT THIS IMPORTANT MISSIVE FROM SPACE EMPEROR RELIOPS on the cosmic inter-vibrato-scannalator, which I now reproduce:

    "The Dan" and I were never as close as you were, but I liked them and own several CDs, but no vinyl of theirs. I do remember the Raspberries, but I never got interested in them. During that time I was into more social rock like John Lennon, and for excellent music with at times a depressing edge, Harry Chapin. I also liked more music that was thought to be drug oriented or just weird, even though I wasn't into drugs at that time, but had always been weird - - RELIOPS

    I do remember your "meh" attitude towards Steely Dan :)
    You have never grooved as much to intrumental music as I have as well. I think there is a dark, brooding, depressive, nostalgic, and "look homeward" (in a Dylan Thomas kind of way) quality to Steely Dan's music that draws me in. When I listen to them, MUCH like we both noticed in watching the Albert Finney movie THE WOLFEN, I conjure up images of a New York City and East Coast bohemian vista that simply "Is no more...." and we're much the sadder for it. I so miss the early to mid 1970s. - - - Eugor