It's been years since his first album, 11 Tracks of Whack
(Giant Records/WEA, 1994) was released and his fans have been awaiting the new Walter Becker album eagerly. Founder/composer/bassist of the legendary Steely Dan is finally surfacing with Circus Money
(5 Over 12/Mailboat Records, 2008) that is anticipated to sell in stores starting June 10. Both Donald Fagen and Walter Becker
(click link for samples of C$) are known for their quirky sense of bittersweet observations and absurd testimonials of even stranger facts in life. Inclinations to dwell in mystery rather than allow others to unravel their creative recipes have been successfully held up for more than three decades, as if aided by a pair of rubber straps disguised as indestructible suspenders. Even in this day and age, the artistic juices of Steely Dan flow continuously, whether during extensive live performances or solo undertakings of its founders.
Pianist/composer Jim Beard is responsible for leaking the albumor EP ratherwe'd like to bring to your attention here. Circus Money Outtakes is a staggering collection of four tracks that didn't make the final cut for Becker's album. Becker, Beard and resident guitarist Jon Herington are the only three musicians on this undoubtedly most wanted collector's item in the history of Steely Dan. The song titles are puzzling to say the least: "Jamba Latte," "Keep Your Ferret Away From Me," "Mistletoe Boogie" and "The Way The Cookie Crumbles," a tribute (?) to Dr. Joe Schwarcz, a Canadian author and professor who demystifies science for the public.
Becker's really enjoying himself on this EP. His bassplaying is outstanding with a touch of Bootsy Collins and Victor Wooten who might have swung by the studio? Beard takes lead in "Mistletoe Boogie" and "Jamba Latte" while Herington shines like a diamond in an expensive engagement ring on an impressive fusionated "Keep Your Ferret Away From Me." These recordings are roughly mixed, with parts of dialogue and hilarious conversations between Becker, Beard and Herington. The most intriguing aspects of these outtakes are the 'alternative' instruments used for percussion and sound effects. Credits should also go to Donald Fagen who apparently sat in during these sessions and who can be heard mumbling something about lawyers and groceries and back-up singers getting knocked up.
Personnel: Walter Becker: bass, empty Coca Cola bottles, antique Waterman fountain pen, vocals; Jim Beard: piano,
keyboards, synths, a half
empty cookie jar, vocals; Jon Herington: guitars, his broken glasses, vocals.