Today’s music video is Do It Again and the song is performed here by the American band Steely Dan.
This video was posted to You Tube by VelvetGreen
Sometimes, ideas for my Sunday Music Posts come out of nowhere. It happened again on Thursday evening. I was wandering around the local shopping Mall we always go to, just doing some other shopping, and looking around, prior to the usual Thursday night grocery shopping. My good lady wife went into one of her usual shops she visits, and while I was waiting I had moved to look at something, and I found myself directly under one of those small speakers mounted in the ceiling of the complex. They were playing a song I immediately remembered from my long past. I just listened while the song played, and was a little surprised that they played the long version of the song, the album version, instead of the shorter version released for radio play at the time.
That song was the one I have selected as the video for today, Do It Again from the band Steely Dan.
Even though the band was hugely popular in the U.S. they were really only a minor band here in Australia. They had two, perhaps three hits, spread over a few years, but even then they were only minor hits, and never really made it into any of the Australian National Charts.
I was right into music in the early 70’s, and I had a small record shop I would frequent, a tiny little shop really. The owner knew me well, and he was always recommending albums to me, and in every case, his selections were always good, and I began to trust his choices.
In early 1973, he pointed me to an album by a new band, Steely Dan, their first album, Can’t Buy A Thrill. Radio was playing the first Single from the album, today’s selected video, Do It Again, but it would only have been played on a sporadic basis, because the song didn’t even get close to making it into the Top 40, and was probably mostly played on late night radio. At the time, I think I never even really noticed the song at all. Once I got home and played it, I found I really liked the album.
The first song on the album was the video for today, and now I did notice the song. What I liked about was that it seemed to be close almost to jazz, only updated to a rock and roll type beat. I also noticed that it was longer, mainly due to the fact that the radio version was much shorter, as was the case in those days, and even at the short version, it was still over four minutes, so still a little long even for radio play at the time. What was left off for radio was part of the introduction, and also most of the small instrumental break at the end of the song. While listening to the song, well, to the album, I would read as much as I could from the album liner notes. I noticed a stranger than usual sound in the middle section of the song, and the notes said that it was an electric Sitar, here played by Denny Dias, and you can notice that at around the 2.50 mark of the video, a really nice sound. As the album went on, I found I really did like the songs. A little later, another Single was released from the album, Reelin’ In The Years, and again, while receiving some airplay, it also did not even get close to making it into the Charts here in Australia. I liked the album a lot, mainly because it was fresh new music which was somehow a little softer than the hard rock which was popular at the time.
As much as I liked the band and its music, when I asked around, I was the only one who had heard any of their music.
Then, in early 1974, my record guy directed me to a new album he had got from the U.S. Now, unlike albums which sell here in Australia, where they are pressed here in the Country, this album was an Import he had got hold of upon its original release, the band’s latest album, their third studio album, Pretzel Logic, and, as usual with his recommendation, I immediately purchased the album. I had heard nothing of the songs on it, and a couple of Months later, the first Single was released from the album, Rikki Don’t Lose That Number. While the song was pretty huge in the U.S. it barely made it into the National Charts here in Australia, peaking at Number 30, and this was their biggest hit in Australia.
However, having already had the album now for a few Months before it was released here, I was well aware of it. Again, as was most often the case at the time, I preferred another song on the album rather than the Single which did get released.
That song was the truly amazing, East St. Louis Toodle-Oo, a complete rework of the Duke Ellington and Bubber Miley melody from 1927, and had been completely reworked by the band to that now familiar (for me anyway) jazz sound updated to sound a little more rocky. I have included that video clip as an extra one for today at the bottom of this Post, and it’s just amazing how they used modern instrument and recording technology to imitate the sound of a muted trumpet and trombone from the original melody.
The band’s core is the two musicians, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, and for their albums, they got in other musicians to play. The pair were absolute perfectionists, and sometimes laboured for up to a year over an album, and even then, sometimes were still not 100% satisfied with the end result. They toured as a band early on, from 1972 till the start of this album, when these two realised that they preferred writing and doing all their work in the studio. That touring band split up, and from then on Becker and Fagan just got in other musicians for the recording purposes.
Incidentally, in wry twist, the band is named Steely Dan, a name they found in the novel by William S Burroughs titled Naked Lunch, and Steely Dan is the name that is used for a strap on dildo used in that novel, but hey, I guess most of you didn’t want to know that, eh!
In the long run, I got each of their albums (excepting their second studio album) until 1977, and I have five of their first six studio albums This was one case where I think I was ahead of the music game, because I really can’t recall any of my friends ever having any of their albums, and virtually unable to name anything other that the Rikki song. Their songs were not heard much here in Australia on radio, and even their albums barely rated a mention on any of the Albums Charts.
This video was posted to You Tube by fadiese1993