Letting the Skeletons Out of the Closet

While surfing lefty sites I found these gems from this post on Crooks and Liars. Big ups to my progressive brothers and sisters over there.

The version of “Kid Charlemagne” below doesn’t have the Larry Carlton solo and the arrangement is a little jacked from the original, but it shows some musicianship and tightness:

Also, check out this coked-up vintage live performance from the 70s:

I believe that is Jeff “Skunk” Baxter on bass guitar who also played with the Doobie Brothers. Dig on the hair. Indie newbies wish they could have hair like that.

While undoubtedly there are better clips out there, these two songs are among my favorites from these guys. “Reelin in the Years” from my childhood (my older sibs were into them) and “Kid Charlemagne” from when they released A Decade of Steely Dan in the 80s. I dedicate this to every man who has taken shit from his lady for owning and listening to Steely Dan.

  • Alison

    Thanks for posting those. Hoo-ray for older sibs who had Steely Dan albums!

    (I can’t believe you get flak for liking Steely Dan. Heather, Heather, Heather *shakes head in disbelief*).

  • NeoCleo

    I’m so confused! Why would any man have to take shit from his woman for owning or listening to Steely Dan? I came of age in the 70’s and I’m a woman. My music collection wouldn’t be complete without my Steely Dan.

    Maybe it’s a generational thing? Am I just too old to understand?

    Please enlighten me.

  • patatomic

    Nor was it Bernard “Pretty” Purdie on the drums, rather it was Ricky Lawson (sigh).

  • patatomic

    Oh yeah…Skunk is playing the guitar and Walter Becker is plaing bass on Reelin’.

  • jon deal

    My Steely Dan story:

    When my wife was pregnant with our first child, I used to play Donald Fagen’s “The Nightfly” every now and then. (OK, I played it non-stop. LOVE that album!) Anyway, she was sick as a dog during the first trimester so now she has an unfortunate Donald Fagen/puke connection.

    That was about 16 years ago and I STILL have to keep all the SD and Donald Fagen away from her at all times or she gets nauseous.

    Pity me!

  • Jerri Ann

    I’m not a male catching crap for Steely Dan but I do like them!

  • blurb

    Patatomic, that’s right. Good catch.

    My lovely wife has posted her disdain towards Steely Dan:

    and most recently,

  • patatomic

    And one more thing…Heather would lick the sweat off of Liam’s eyebrows (and probably other anatomical locals, I’m sure) if given the opportunity.

    Who is Liam you might ask?


    That band is Oasis.

    So, consider the source Jon. Consider the source.


  • mihow

    Ahhhh, Oasis. While I genuinely like their music, I used to work at a bar in Manchester where they frequented. Granted, this was like 100 years ago when I was 21 (a mere lad). They would come in, get drunk, and fight with one another (and whoever else was drunk and/or dumb enough to stand in their way). They were like two pitbulls. No, actually, they were more like two really angry chihuahuas. One night, the rented the place out entirely and had a party for all their friends. It took us more than a day to get that place back to normal again.

    I found it funny at the time. But the owner wasn’t pleased at all and so they were banned.

    I would have licked the sweat off either of their eyebrows, but I was too busy trying to get closer to at least one eyebrow on Richard Ashcroft. Ahhhhh Richard, he had me at Slide Away.

    I know very little (or nothing) about Steely Dan. Perhaps I should change that.

  • tedfoo

    Thank you for the vids. It’s nice to see them. Kid Charlemagne is a personal favorite. My wife and I bonded over the box set “Citizen Steely Dan: 1972- 1980”, one song in particular comes to mind, “The Fez”.

  • blurb

    Atomic, don’t go there.

  • mmoxxie

    I effing love Steely Dan. I GREW UP ON STEELY DAN! And I’m only 19.

  • ThatBadgerChick

    I lurve Steely Dan. My faves: “Any Major Dude”, “Haitian Divorce”, “Peg” and “Fez”. In more or less that order.

    Steely Dan RAWKS! Woo! Where’s my lighter?

  • barb

    Steely Dan. Aja. So good! I still have the vinyl my big sister gave me when I was 12 years old. All my friends were listening to REO Speedwagon and Styx, and I was introduced to Art Rock…

  • amy Jacobs

    I LOOOVE Steely Dan. I was just asking my husband yesterday if we had a cd of their greatest hits. I think we do…but it’s been forever since listened to them. I’m just a bit younger than you, but I remember them from my childhood for sure…they were on the radio all the time. Thanks for posting this since I was just listening to them yesterday, as we were listening to Blondie..and my four year old said, about, “One Way or Another”…”Hey this is from that Slicker Duster movie!” I said, “That what?” and she repeated it, “The Slicker Duster movie…where the women is chasing the dust.” It took me a second but then it hit me (and I nearly crashed the car laughing so hard), “You mean the Swiffer Duster commercial!!!” Next she’ll be telling me that Led Zepellin sells cars and Peter Gabriel works for American Express…hey, waita minute…THEY DO! We’re getting so OLD!

  • amy Jacobs

    Hey Jon…I bet you know this, but did you realize that “Skunk” is now one of THE top most defense experts used by the U.S. military now??!!! Yeah, I just saw a whole piece about him not too long ago on CBS Sunday Morning. Totally freaked me out…to go from a “doobie” to working for the MAN in a big way. Head trip, major. I’m sure there’s info on the net about his switcharoo. Just an FYI (that you already had the 411 on!) LOOOVE the clip. Just watched it…now going to download some Steely!

  • Moseydotes

    I spent my twenty-sixth birthday evening, one gorgeous summer night, watching/listening to them at Wolftrap Farm in Virginia. I had to pee soooo badly, but I wouldn’t leave my seat because I was afraid to miss a single blessed second. That’s how much I adore Steely Dan, and my husband didn’t understand… but then, he’s not my husband anymore.

  • Cory

    Thanks, Jon.

    As much as I would like Heather to admire all (any?) part of me, I will have to come clean and profess my undying love for Steely Dan (as a female whose husband can not stand the Becker/Fagan combo). Listened to them growing up like NeoCleo, and then got to college where lots of cool kids loved them, and I took a jazz class and then they really blew my mind. Thanks the vid clips – I’m going to have another gin & tonic and listen to Katy Lied (uh, on VINYL).

  • Susie

    Thanks, Jon. I have two siblings who are a decade older than I am (I’m 37), so I grew up on Steely Dan. In fact, my first two albums were given to me by my brother, and they were “Can’t Buy a Thrill” and something by the Spinners. (Odd combo, I know…)

  • TripTikGirl

    Hey…I love Steely Dan! (and I’m a bit younger than you…thanks Mom and Dad!)

    I’m a fan of ‘Kid Charlemagne’, but my favorite has always been ‘Peg’…

  • nobody

    Tight rythyms. Catchy riffs. Varied, intelligent solos. Great storytelling about lives in the holes of American winnerism. Yeah, I can see why people hate Steely Dan.

  • jolie

    what is it about men and steely dan? I honestly just don’t get it, but then again one of the weirdest nights of my life, which involved many funny smelling cigarettes, an entirely beige room and a guy called baldwini, was set to a steely dan soundtrack. that could turn anyone off.

    “reelin’ in the years” is a great song though. gotta give you that.

  • Ann

    I’m 38 and female and always thought I would be the coolest person on the planet if I could play bass like Jeff Baxter–oh yea, except his politics freaking suck.

    Ahhh, Kid Charlemagne… I get all tingly and nostalgic every time my husband asks “is there gas in the car?”

  • lorie

    Steely Dan! Best studio band ever, and one of the few topics that can pull me out of lurkdom on just about any site. These videos are very cool – thanks for sharing!

    Oh, and for the record, I’m a 26-year-old woman and I count the Dan among my favorite bands in the whole world. That may make me a dork, but if so, I’ll fly the dork flag proudly.

    And I can thank my dad for getting me interested in them.

  • DJStylus

    As Whitney Houston is fond of saying: “Hell to the naw!”

    I’m disappointed in y’all penitent Steely Dan fans qualifying your love for the band, sounding like some sheepish apologists. I don’t know where the stigma comes from but it definitely can’t be rooted in the most important thing – the music.

    I’ve been into Steely Dan since high school (when I made the connection between De La Soul’s “Eye Know” and “Peg”… hip-hop was my gateway to so much in the formative years). Now many years later I rock Steely Dan joints at parties and DARE anybody to even look at me sideways. Actually, folks are usually too busy dancing to even go that route.

    If you can front on The Nightfly then you don’t have any soul. Drink your big black cow, and get outta here!!

  • HalfwayCrucified

    Obviously, I have to comment just because. . .well. . .if you don’t know there’s no point in me telling.

    Funny smelling cigarettes
    Entirely beige room
    A guy called Baldwini

    Of course they had a Steely Dan soundtrack. Hell, the description itself is a Dan tune just begging to be finished.

    It still blows me away that dooce isn’t a fan. I mean, she’s like the Steely Dan of the written word–edgy, sardonic, witty, ironic and polished.

  • ACLeex

    I loaned my copy of “A Decade of Steely Dan” to my wife (then my girlfriend) and couldn’t find it for 2 years – I didn’t recover it until we moved in together.

    All of this talk of bassists has ignored the original session bassist on Kid Charlemagne and Peg – Chuck Rainey. Best SD basslines out there, and he did them with his freaky single-finger right-hand technique. If I had a dog and named him Chuck, that’s who he’d be named after.

  • Grace D

    Surely Heather must appreciate the meaning of the name “Steely Dan”. Or perhaps she has no clue, as I would imagine they didn’t teach William Burroughs at BYU.

  • lmmom

    Love the Steely Dan, the hits that made the radio and the ones that didn’t. Considering I’m a 55 year old woman, my favorite shouldn’t be “Hey Nineteen” and yet it is. I remember chatting on the phone in 1995 or so to my then 80 year old mother, who was gushing about some musical show she had seen on PBS, it was great, the phone rang and she didn’t want to miss any of the music, etc. I figured it was the Austrian violin guy or maybe some Lawrence Welk retrospective. No, it was Steely Dan. Her view – the music really held up but boy are those guys ever ugly.

  • doctor tongue

    Aja = one of the 10 best albums of all time. Steely Dan is amazing.

    Heather likes OASIS? Those HACKS? [gasp!]

  • Authentiki

    OK, I’m a 57 year old female and I love Steely Dan. “Hey 19” is my favorite, too. They never stopped playing them on the radio – and at work I notice they are also on satellite radio all the time. That’s cause they’re good! thanks for posting those clips

  • Kristine

    I’m sorry, everytime I go to YouTube I keep finding myself watching the Jamie Kennedy’s Rollin’ with Bob Saget video.

    It has ruined me from ever watching “Full House” ever again, but that’s not really much of a loss.

  • Jezzie

    Long haired Jack Black type dude I hung out with at 16 circa…ummm…1985? telling me S.O.D. was the Steely Dan of thrash metal….me nodding sagely at this blunted up pithy wisdom.
    Coolest guy I ever new, honestly.
    Ah, good times, good times, man.

  • bigbrownhouse

    Real women LOVE Steely Dan.

    I’ve been lusting after Donald Fagan from the time I was too young to fully appreciate lust. Ahhh…riding around in the back of my parents’ car listening to the 8-track player, moved almost to tears by Don’t Take Me Alive and Kid Charlemagne.

    Loving the brilliance behind the sneer for over 30 years.

  • jlf

    I’d ask you to marry me, but I’m a lesbian…So, instead, we’ll have to get drunk together and talk crap about the two fucking AMAZING women we married…Me, ten great years.

  • beachbumjen

    Long time reader of Dooce…never commented before. I really enjoy reading about all your adventures.
    Jon, I’ve been reading Blurbomat (from the beginning!) the past couple weeks.
    Now as a former “Steely Dan Hater”, I had to comment on this one, and try to convert Heather >=)
    Reasons I hated Steely Dan:
    When I was 21-23 (about 8 years ago…) and going to my favorite bar every night around 3:30am Steely Dan would come on the jukebox.
    Deacon Blues to be exact and it was the “time to go home song” and to me it was “the song that never ends” and at 7 min 36 secs it really seems that way.
    The music just irritated the heck outta me.
    So for reasons some may deem foolish or just insane, I had mad hate for the Steely Dan.
    Fast forward to age 27, about 2 years ago.
    And I hear “Hey Nineteen” on the radio;
    “…the Cuervo Gold…”
    anyone that sings about tequila in such a loving, melodic way can’t be that bad after all.
    Freakin’ LOVE Reelin’ in the Years. Hands down my favorite SD song.
    Heather, grab a bottle of tequila and turn on that Steely Dan; sooner or later maybe it will grow on you.

  • Bucky Four-Eyes

    Jon, you and I are the same age, give or take a month or so. I LOVE Steely Dan, and learned to love ’em by stealing my older siblings’ records.

    I had the vinyl and the pre-recorded cassette of Steely Dan Greatest Hits (the double album with the blurred photo in red, gold, and black on the cover) and I wore them both right the fuck OUT.

    Still love ’em. Can’t say I’m nuts about their later albums, but I will never get tired of the SD “classics.”

  • Bucky Four-Eyes

    Oh, and to show my age…I consider SD’s “newer” material to be anything Aja and beyond…

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