Apr 7

A Double Take, Backwards: Cinder Annie (Live)


Edited: Apr 10

Yes yes we know and you know; nostalgia ain't what it used to be.

Still, something must be in the wind tonight, blowing our way, as it did, two mighty jolts of historical Hz, crackling.


I. A Gig Anniversary


Hard Core Beckerphiles know the date:

April 7, 1995.


That makes it 24 years today since 


Adam Rogers (Guitar)

Fima Ephron (Bass)

Ben Perowsky (Drums)

John Beasley (Keyboards) and

Bob Sheppard (Sax)


joined Walter for the first and last live gig of his "new music" from

the 11 Tracks of Whack era at Slim's, in San Francisco.


For roughly 23 of those years, it was presumed that no record

of the evening existed. But Lo, in amongst the stacks of DATs

and cassettes we  found a great-sounding recording by Dave Russell,

engineer extraordinaire -- still in good condition and sounding pretty great.


So to mark the date, we've dropped a cut from that rainy San Francisco evening:

Cinder Annie, which was the last song of the evening before his encore.


So to our resident show-goers, count off please;

What’s the delta between what you hear on this tape and how you remember it in vivo?



II. A Classic Web Thread


By coinkidink or by quantum entanglement, one of us (D-Mod) also found

herself running smack up against the classic Hall Of Fame thread --

Countdown to Infamy -- on the steelydan.com archive site.


 I must have read or sampled this thread dozens of times since its publication and

knew well why it was a classic.


Or so I thought.


People I swear that reading through the whole thing -front to back --
 opening every entry, following every link -- produced more chuckles,
 spit-takes, and belly laughs than I remember having in years, taken together.


You think you remember why it was so funny, and so great --- but you don't.


If you give yourself 30 minutes with this thing, you'll see all you've forgotten.
 Many of us bemoan that Becker didn't write, He was so talented. 
Well, he did write, and this short story is among his finest work. 


Today I really needed lifting up, I really needed something to lighten

something that was pinning me down...and I found it. That's why I'm

pestering you all with this personal review; maybe I'm not the only

one who needed this kind of lift tonight.


Did anyone revisit the archive site ? Did anyone find

something they had forgotten there?



Oh man! What a joy to hear this again. The sound quality is absolutely phenomenal on this recording!! It brought me back to that unforgettable night, dancing by myself, standing right in front of Walter as he was singing and feeling like I was just floating. The whole night was like a dream. The unfortunate part is that I really thought this gig would be the start of a whole new thing for him, touring and what-not by himself. But, 'twas not to be. The incredible quality of this recording makes me long for having the full show in all its glory, to hear from beginning to end, as it was that night. That will be the real souvenir for me, hopefully someday. And by the way I would pay for that! I would buy a CD of it and put it right into my physical collection where it belongs. Thank you so much D-Mod for this memory!

Thanks! This song really translates well live. Great energy. And how about that whistle break??? I really like what John Beasley did on the Rhodes during that part to differentiate it from the more percussive groove he played in the majority of the song.

Thank you!


During these intervening decades, I only dreamed that such a recording existed. I enjoyed hearing Walter showcase 11TOW tunes at Steely Dan shows -- "My Waterloo" at Century Hall, Nagoya, on Oct. 12, 1996, stands out -- but, frankly, I never thought those performances captured the album's vibe and they didn't enchant me as I thought they might. (Also, I was nonplussed/angry when people got up to take piss breaks or make beer runs when Walter sang a solo tune at amphitheater gigs. Yet another reason for my dislike of outdoor shows.)


Anyway, thank you! More, please, more!












Apr 8Edited: Apr 8

hey GS have you seen the thread on the Becker Bathroom Break?

Good descussion, and clips of songs we think kept people in their seats


Apr 8

Funny you should mention the Countdown to Infamy set of posts, as I was just reading through them (again) the other day. The one that really gets me every time? The "Sadder But Wiser" letter to Kawai. It's such a gem - every little thing about it.

That one is pretty great. I liked the multiple times Chuck Rainey is listed on the "Cast Your Vote" Ballot. Walter's needling of Steve Hochman for his 11 Tracks of Whack review. How the love child, Monique, called them Donn and Glenn at the end of her letter. The webdrone's response to the letter to Kawaii. The auctioning off of the trophy. I just loved the whole sordid affair.

Apr 8

@Matthew Kerns So true. Honestly such an embarrassment of riches. I remember being such a cockeyed optimist about that site back then; that it would just go on like that forever. I mean, why wouldn't it, right?

@aacers And on that note, I always assumed that Walter’s own web site would carry on in the same tradition. I still remember his original greeting to

us all when it launched, something like “hey now! Looks like we found each other here on the interwebs.“ How sad that it didn’t work out that way.

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Apr 9

That makes it 24 years today since

Adam Rogers (Guitar)

Fima Ephron (Bass)

Ben Perowsky (Drums)

John Beasley (Keyboards)

and Bob Sheppard (Sax)


And was it Frank Perlank (sp)?


Frank Poulenc, I assume, referencing French composer Francis Poulenc.

New Posts
  • (Surprise Piano Version) This extremely early rundown of Book of Liars by The 11TOW band [Adam Rogers (Guitar): Fima Ephron (Bass): Ben Perowsky (Drums): John Beasley (Keyboards): Dean Parks (Guitar)] is interesting on several counts, not the least of which is the peek it affords into the studio process . Walter enjoyed almost everything the band played as it emerged from their interaction, rather then from any strong a priori “instruction” he offered. The rule seemed to be: Let’s just play it. See what we see. It’s interesting, for example, to hear one of the first rundowns of this tune took on a sort of calypso vibe. Yet all the tracks invariably developed, changed —through a combination of the creativity and explorations of the musicians playing together, and the small, subtle shaping that Walter would occasionally offer. It’s probably too obvious to observe that the feel of the final versions as we all know them from Whack and Alive in America traveled quite a distance from this earliest rundown. The 11TOW recorded version of this song has also long inspired speculation a’plenty about that rather unique keyboard solo. Here, on one of the earliest rundowns — and with only the above musicians in the room — we hear what might be its etiology. The quasi-comic conducting Walter would often exercise is in evidence here — “big piano passage”….then “Piano solo. Surprise piano solo!” (sandwiching an expression of juvenile gun-lust). A playful response follows, and that we hear a “yeah” during the staccato playing leads one to suspect the die on this one was cast early on; there was just something about that general vibe of this early keyboard part that he wanted preserved in the recorded version. We'll leave it to the listener to hypothesize who did or did not play the recorded solo or, at the very least, from whence its inspiration sprang. We see it springing right here. Then there’s “Fima’s got it” as a few players seem to momentarily lose their bearings in the unfamiliar chart….and of course the wonderful end-talk about different ideas for “the bridgy kinda thing”….and, well, from 5:14 out…that’s our Walter all over, isn’t it? Hope you enjoy. D-Mod P.S. Speaking of Book of Liars: Don Breithaupt's band Monkey House released a new album TODAY with their own cover of Becker's Book of Liars! You may know Don from previous Monkey House albums or from his insightful look at Steely Dan's Aja album for the 33-1/3 series. "As a lifelong Steely Dan fan, Walter's death hit me hard," said Don. "I thought it'd be a nice gesture to do one of his." The new album, " Friday ," also features the talents of Steely Dan musicians Michael Leonhart and Drew Zingg. It's a damn fine album, and it looks like listeners agree—" Friday " is currently sitting at the #1 spot on iTunes' Jazz charts. Congrats to Don and Monkey House! - Matt
  • 1997 He Wants You (Out) words & music Walter Becker (1997) © Zeon Music LLC 2018 Well we all ride together in this world Fall together where we stand And we all got one slim chance to be heard It's all written in the plan This is all I ask of you Tell me sweetness tell me true From that very first soul kiss You knew it would be like this We all ride together in this world Well didn't we just girl He reads you — he reads you loud and clear He wants you — he wants you out of here He needs you — you and what army dear He wants you — he wants you out of here Well we all need protection from the pain For protection we will pay And we all seek the shelter from the rain Here comes that rainy day It won't make it real again Not all the horses all the men It won't do you any good Not all the pills in Hollywood We all need protection now and then Here it is again He loves you —he loves your story dear He wants you — he wants you out of here He sees you — he sees you disappear He wants you — he wants you out of here Well we all ride together in this world Wait forever on the curb And we all ask for much more than we need And we get what we deserve He hears you — he's seeming not to hear He wants you — he wants you out of here He's got you — he's had you up to here He wants you — he wants you out of here He needs you — you and what army dear He wants you — he wants you out of here He reads you — he reads you loud and clear He wants you — he wants you out of here Another one of Becker's infamous "Love Songs"! Anyone woman at all familiar with his Whack work and demos would think long and hard before sweetly trilling "write me a love song, dahling!" -- knowing she was as likely to get one of these than an Almost Gothic  or a  Paging Audrey . That musical bouquet of his was always as likely to conceal a shiv than sweet-nothings. This tune was one of three demos Walter sent me on a DAT in late 1997  (ever-thoughtful, he bundled it with a portable "Walkman"-type DAT player. Sort of like Voyager. I was impressed). I asked him: "so these are rejects from Whack ?" to which he replied nah,  just a few things he'd been working on lately. By this time he was  deep into writing for Two Against Nature  with Fagen, so it took me a couple of beats to realize that after his Whack  work, he and his Opcode had apparently just kept on trucking along.  He must have liked this one, must have been keeping it on his "potentially active" list, since he was still occasionally listening to it few years later...  ...as he was one afternoon in late '99 .... PS: His vocals on these three '97 demos were uncommonly lackluster, to put it kindly.  One of them, in fact -- a tune called The Love You Ax -- will remain forever sealed, falling into the rare category of the demo vocal  he would never allow out of the box. It's a nice tune though; perhaps one day 'll post an instrumental of its solo and outro, for a sense of its feel. I just have to guess first  if that would make more of you pissed or pleased.