I must have been good in 1977. At Christmas Santa brought two brand new copies of “Aja” by Steely Dan & some spiffy new headphones. That was me sorted until New Year. The group, now a duo, had released an album a year since 1972, it would be 3 more years before the next collection. “Aja” was good enough to get us through that long wait, still is. Not sure what happened to the cans.
Walter Becker, who died this weekend, has been part of my musical landscape for 45 years now. From the compendium of finely crafted pop songs on the debut “Can’t Buy A Thrill” through to the my kind of Jazz Lounge of “Gaucho” any album that I hook up to is better than most everything else I hear. I have grown up with their music & their developing sophistication has helped me to grow up. Steely Dan’s literate, considered, often acerbic & cynical lyrics of the high life & the lowlife described a world that I was perhaps a little too familiar with. There are so many fine lines but an intro like “Five names that I can hardly stand to hear. Including yours and mine & one more chimp who isn’t here” makes “Bad Sneakers” a desert island favourite.
This is not an obituary, anyone who once heard “Do It Again” or “Reelin’ In The Years” seems to have had their say this week. All I want to say is that Walter Becker’s memory will be eternal & Walter, thank you for the tracks of whack.