Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Steely Dan — from Burroughs, Naked Lunch — I never played their music. Read the book plenty.

 I certainly heard their music, grew up all around it, actually was drawn to snippets and slices of the songs, still am; we're about the same age, but I never bought a single or an album and won't. Over.

 But I love Donald Fagen's Eminent Hipsters.

 It's a cool book, just the right size (short) and he gets down to all things you would never expect — like Jean Shepherd, a tiny interview with Ennio Morricone, a match struck on Ike Turner, Sci-fi, sixties stuff, as student at Bard College, and a hilarious road journal touring with Boz Scaggs and others, all as old geezers. You'll love it.

Also, be warned — and I hesitate to bring it up to create any false drama because Fagen does not, and I much respect his even temper as a writer, even as he is falling it seems to pieces — that his forty year old stepson takes his life mid-passage in his journal entries "With the Dukes of September," while on tour, writing, playing concerts, sharing with us, and he soldiers on.

Before he became one of the two (with Walter Becker) of Steely Dan, Fagen wanted to be a writer. Well he is.

[ BA] 

getz meets mulligan in hi-fi by Susan Arnold on Grooveshark


Donald Fagen
Eminent Hipsters
Viking, 2013

Getz Meets Mulligan in Hi-Fi
(Verve October 1957)

"I finally manage to get sleep by listening to an old Verve album I have on my computer, "Getz Meets Mulligan in Hi-Fi." These two white jazz virtuosos, both acolytes of Lester Young, both ex-junkies and heavy drinkers, and both, according to musicians' lore, megalomaniacal dicks, played like angels, and never more so than on this album. I've been listening to it for a half century, and it always seems fresh and beautiful."