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By Donald Fagen

A witty, candid, sharply written memoir by way of the cofounder of Steely Dan

In his wonderful debut as an writer, Donald Fagen—musician, songwriter, and cofounder of Steely Dan—reveals the cultural figures and currents that formed his creative sensibility, in addition to supplying a glance at his university days and a hilarious account of lifestyles at the street. Fagen provides the “eminent hipsters” who spoke to him as he was once turning out to be up in a bland New Jersey suburb within the early Sixties; his colourful, mind-expanding years at Bard collage, the place he first met his musical companion Walter Becker; and the agonies and ecstasies of a contemporary cross-country journey with Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs. Acclaimed for his literate lyrics and complicated preparations as a musician, Fagen right here proves himself a worldly author along with his personal exact voice.

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Association! Ike can make issues take place. Take “Rocket 88,” a bounce blues song approximately an Oldsmobile, which Ike and his Kings of Rhythm recorded in 1951. Chess documents published it below the identify Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats (Brenston, Ike’s bari sax participant, was once the vocalist that day). loads of song critics appear to imagine it used to be the 1st list to take the plunge from R&B to rock and roll, most likely as the busted amp that guitarist Willie Kizart was once utilizing further a few serendipitous distortion to his sound. yet it’s Ike’s stomping piano that drives the song. “Rocket 88” went to #1 at the R&B charts and, doubtless, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis have been listening. the subsequent yr, the Bihari brothers despatched him to Memphis to discover bluesman Rosco Gordon. Ike loved Gordon’s song “No extra Doggin’” and had Rosco herald his band for a consultation. in truth, Ike beloved the song quite a bit, he secretly had the band get back and checklist it back with himself making a song. (Fortunately, Rosco heard what used to be happening and broke up Ike’s online game. ) “No extra Doggin’” made it to quantity at the charts that yr. Rosco Gordon’s piano style—particularly on that record—was a unusual kind of boogie with a deep shuffle and a heavy accessory at the upbeats. If it sounds kind of like ska track in the event you listen it, it’s no coincidence: the list is usually pointed out because the template for Jamaican ska rhythm—whence got here rock regular, whence got here reggae. No ask yourself Ike attempted to thieve it. whilst Papa Legba, the Crossroads satan, instructed Anna Mae Bullock into his direction, Ike discovered his muse. i like all these early singles Ike labored up for Tina and the Ikettes: “A idiot in Love,” “I Idolize You,” “I imagine It’s Gonna determine superb” etc. Ike’s thought (really a extra uncooked and countrified model of Ray Charles’s act) was once basic: the band performs tight; Tina is going berserk. My favourite from this era, notwithstanding, is “I’m Blue (The Gong-Gong Song)” by means of the Ikettes, with Dolores Johnson making a song the lead vocal, a functionality that really justifies the overused time period “kick-ass. ” A static series of stylized, obvious cells, this piece is Ike’s overarching masterpiece (most humans can be acquainted with it because the pattern utilized by Salt-N-Pepa of their 1993 hit “Shoop”). In 1965, Ike employed younger Jimi Hendrix as a moment guitarist for the Revue, yet he used to be an immense show-off, and Ike needed to allow him cross: Jimi wouldn’t remain contained in the strains. Papa Legba began to paintings additional time on Ike’s behalf within the past due sixties. Ike and Tina opened for the Stones and crossed over big-time by means of protecting rock tunes like “Proud Mary” and “Honky Tonk lady. ” Now they have been superstars and the bucks have been flowing. As is common in those circumstances, Legba closed in to gather the vig. by way of all money owed, Ike received better each year, and meaner, too. It’s quite difficult to concentration while there’s a Hellhound in your path. From Ike’s viewpoint, squinting during the harsh fallout from all that booze and goofy dirt, he could have figured that forceful motion had to be taken to make sure that every thing in his international was once as much as his rigidly excessive criteria of association.

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