298

Walter Becker: Circus Money

Mike Perciaccante By

Sign in to view read count
Walter Becker: Circus Money Coming a mere 14 years after his last and first solo recording, Walter Becker's Circus Money sounds a lot like Steely Dan—jazzy, pop infused rock over witty, somewhat sarcastic and sardonic lyrics. By mixing in a bit of reggae, Becker has released an album that fits in well with the Steely Dan canon, yet stands up well on its own.

Featuring the expected strong production values and superb performances, Becker and company have produced a disc that is equal to any of Donald Fagen's solo offerings and just a notch below the classic Steely Dan releases.

As with any Steely Dan CD or, for that matter, any project headed by Fagen or Becker, the protagonists and characters that populate the songs are a bit desperate. The songs on Circus Money are about the human condition, but more precisely desperation. There are songs about gambling ("Door Number Two"), loss and ultimately regret ("Paging Audrey") and sex ("Door Number Two"), as well as manipulation, lust and all things carnal ("Selfish Gene").

While Fagen's solo recordings—The Nightfly (Reprise, 1982), Kamakiriad (Reprise, 1993), and Morph The Cat (Reprise, 2006)—have been basically concept albums, and the same can be said for many Steely Dan releases, Becker's album is simply an album of songs with similar themes that have come together at a point in time.

Sonically pleasing, the soulful, groove-driven CD is played to perfection by Becker and his cohorts—drummer Keith Carlock, guitarist Jon Herington and keyboardists Ted Baker and Jim Beard. The feel is reminiscent of Steely Dan, but is smaller and slightly more intimate.

Though hardcore Steely Dan fans might at first be a bit surprised at the Jamaican influences—Becker was reportedly listening to a lot of classic Jamaican music prior to writing and recording the album—Circus Money is a disc that reveals more with every listen. The title track is excellent, while "Somebody's Saturday Night" and the aforementioned "Door Number Two" sound like classic Steely Dan. A welcome return.


Track Listing: Door Number Two; Downtown Canon; Bob Is Not Your Uncle Anymore; Upside Looking Down; Paging Audrey; Circus Money; Selfish Gene; Do You Remember the Name; Somebody's Saturday Night; Darkling Down; God's Eye View; Three Picture Deal.

Personnel: Walter Becker: bass, guitar, vocals; Ted Baker: piano, keyboards, electric piano; Keith Carlock: drums, percussion; Larry Goldings: organ, Hammond organ; Gordon Gottlieb: percussion; Henry Hey: keyboards; Dean Parks: guitar, soloist; Roger Rosenberg: bass clarinet, baritone sax; Larry Klein: bass, producer; Luciana Souza: background vocals, pandeiro, soloist; Tawatha Agee: background vocals; Sweet Pea Atkinson: background vocals; Sir Harry Bowens: background vocals; Sharon Bryant: background vocals; Carmen Carter: background vocals; Terry Dexter: background vocals; Kate Markowitz: background vocals; Cindy Mizelle: background vocals; Windy Wagner: background vocals.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Mailboat Records | Style: Fringes of Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Suite Ellington" CD/LP/Track Review Suite Ellington
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 28, 2016
Read "Illegal Crowns" CD/LP/Track Review Illegal Crowns
by John Sharpe
Published: December 10, 2016
Read "The Golden Measure" CD/LP/Track Review The Golden Measure
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 25, 2016
Read "Live" CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 31, 2016
Read "57th & 9th" CD/LP/Track Review 57th & 9th
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 6, 2016
Read "2468 West Grand Boulevard" CD/LP/Track Review 2468 West Grand Boulevard
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: December 27, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!