The Royal Scam

     I haven't recently seen a What Five Albums Would You Want on a Desert Island list floating around my social networks, which is just fine.  If I was taking some cruise to a remote part of the world, I'd have to be carrying a solar powered computer or music player.  Five wouldn't cut it for someone with 35,000 purchased songs on hard drives.

     For all of us though there is a dominant period between 13 and 24 that becomes the music of our life, and for many, one particular artist that we carry with us. For me that will always be Steely Dan.  I own every album, which by the way I miss over digital audio but that's a different story.

    Donald Fagen and Walter Becker wrote stories that speak to the heart, mind and spirit with some of the finest musicians ever assembled in the studio for many years. At least to mine, and they still do. The chord changes, horn sections, and craftsmanship of weaving music and lyrics is simply unmatched for me. We'll start with The Caves of Altamira from 1976's The Royal Scam:

"I recall, when I was small
How I spent my days alone"


    Produced by Gary Katz, the album included such musicians as bass player Timothy B. Schmit (Poco/Eagles), Michael McDonald, and an amazing list of jazz musicians including guitarist Larry Carlton playing the solo that starts Don't Take Me Alive:

     For the sake of space here's a link to an interesting video creation for Kid Charlemagne, in favor of the title track The Royal Scam:  "From their boats of iron they looked upon the promised land where surely life was sweet ..."


     Stepping back to 1974, Pretzel Logic would be another must have on my tiny island. Among other incredible musicians contributing here are Michael Omartian, Jeff  "Skunk" BaxterDavid Paich and Jeff Porcaro (Toto).  Certainly there many times in a rebellious youth that I did live Night by Night, though I've long quit waiting for a ship to come in and started building instead.

     Those of us who grew up in the 60's and 70's most likely knew someone who fits the moving story of Charlie Freak:  "Poor kid, he overdid"


     One final track for this morning from the 1972's debut album Can't Buy a Thrill, though it's not the popular Reelin' in the Years.  It's Kings, which is in the will be to played at my funeral 50 years or so from now.  I caught some flack for that amongst the praise and worship songs listed, but I'm a little different. Like Steely Dan has been for years.  They're always well worth the listen.


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