Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen has completed eight new originals which, coupled with a new version of Isaac Hayes’ “Out of the Ghetto,” will comprise a forthcoming solo album.
Sunken Condos, produced by Fagen and Michael Leonhart, is due on October 16, 2012. Preorder it here, through the Amazon link below.
A series of regular contributors appear on the new project, including Jon Herington, Freddie Washington and the Steely Dan Horns. Sunken Condos will be Fagen’s fourth solo project away from Steely Dan, and the follow up to 2006’s Morph the Cat. His celebrated solo debut, 1982’s The Nightfly, was certified platinum, garnered several Grammy Award nominations, and produced a pair of popular hits, “New Frontier” and “I.G.Y.”
[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Want more Steely Dan? Explore Something Else! Reviews’ Steely Dan Sunday, our song-by-song examination of the group’s entire catalog.]
Fagen, who hasn’t recorded with Walter Becker in Steely Dan since 2003’s Everything Must Go, toured through the summer as the Dukes of September with Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald — a sideman on some earlier Dan projects.
Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Donald Fagen and Steely Dan. Click through the titles for complete reviews …
SHOWS I’LL NEVER FORGET: DONALD FAGEN, MICHAEL McDONALD AND BOZ SCAGGS, JULY 14, 2012: The people who came of age when Boz Scaggs, the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan regularly charted songs don’t go steppin’ out as much at night, but when the Dukes of September come into town, it’s worthwhile for them to go catch this show and find their fountain of youth for one evening. There are no fancy light shows, outlandish costumes or funky strutting around the stage, just consummate professional musicians perfectly delivering a stage soundtrack alternative to The Big Chill. My dad, who I took along with me for a show I’ll truly never forget because I shared it with him, called it the best show he’s ever been to. I was so glad he was thrilled by it, but looking around the arena, I saw that everyone else was, too.
JON HERINGTON – TIME ON MY HANDS (2012): One of the recurring themes in my long-running series “Steely Dan Sunday” is that if a guitar player is good enough for Steely Dan, they’re probably good enough for anybody. Well, Jon Herington has been good enough to record and tour with Steely Dan for the last thirteen years…more than four times longer than Jeff Baxter’s stint with the band. That’s not to say, of course, that Herington is four times better than Skunk, or even as good as Skunk, but he’s got to have something going for him to be able to stick around with Walter Becker and Donald Fagen for so long, and I suspect that “something” is his versatility, a deep fluency in the worlds of rock, blues and jazz. In Herington, Steely Dan has found their own private Steve Lukather.
ONE TRACK MIND: STEELY DAN, “EVERYTHING MUST GO” (2003): Musically, this fits the Grand Finale vibe: the bridge is previewed at the start as a free flowing sax expression from Walt Weiskopf, a la “Acknowledgement” from Trane’s A Love Supreme, after which the song proper kicks in at a slow but not quite ballad pace. The melody has a nostalgic, almost show tune kind of feel to it, like as if Becker and Fagen wrote this song for Frank Sinatra. The song trots along on a crisp groove and Fagen delivers the lyrics with a tinge of the soulfulness of his idol Ray Charles. Lyrically, it’s about shutting down a failed business, but in signature Dan fashion, it’s done with sarcasm and dry humor.
DONALD FAGEN – KAMAKIRIAD (1993): I was a huge Steely Dan fan, so I once bought even the individual releases, pining for those lost moments of the 1970s. Meaning: I was ready to love Fagen’s second solo album. Bought it out of the box, hoping for “Aja” with a ’90s spin. What I got was the same kind of boring vamps that characterized that too-obvious Motown schlock Fagen had been doing in the years after the excellent “Nightfly” album. It seemed more and more that Fagen needed Becker, and badly. Then, I noticed that Becker only produced the thing. Oops.
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