Steely Dan Sunday, "East St. Louis Toodle-oo" (1974)

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*** STEELY DAN SUNDAY INDEX ***

Some fun facts about this track:

1. “East St. Louis Toodle-oo” is the only Steely Dan track in which Becker and Fagen are not in the songwriting credits. This one was written about fifty years earlier by Duke Ellington and his trumpet player, Bubber Miley.
2. It’s the only instrumental Steely Dan track.
3. This is first instance of Becker playing guitar on an SD track. Here, his wah-wah guitar mimics Miley’s plunged trumpet.
4. This is the first and only instance of Fagen playing a sax (an alto sax) on an SD recording. Fagen is also heard showing off his stride piano technique, taking the place of the clarinet’s part of the original.
4. This is also a rare instance of a steel guitar used in a 1920s jazz tune. Skunk Baxter plays it in place of the trombone part of the original.

Steely Dan, who scored their biggest hit to date with the first track of Pretzel Logic, covers Ellington’s first hit, from 1927. If people didn’t know that they were big jazz fans before this song, they certainly knew when they reached this last song on the first vinyl side of Pretzel. This tribute to Duke followed and preceded many others, but this one was among the last recorded in the legendary jazz composer, pianist and bandleader’s lifetime. Only about two months after this version was released along with the rest of the album, Ellington was dead at the age of seventy-five.

Regardless of the timing of their appreciation of the Duke, you don’t see too many too many Rock And Roll Hall of Fame inductees doing that. There’s only one other that I know of who did: Stevie Wonder (“Sir Duke”). Hey, there’s another fun fact about this track.

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S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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