Steely Dan Sunday, “Book of Liars [Live]” (1995)

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*** STEELY DAN SUNDAY INDEX ***

S. Victor Aaron’s note: In our earlier take on “Book Of Liars,” the studio version, I stated that the live version on Alive In America is much better. Preston Frazier explains exactly why that’s so

The best live albums offer something familiar along with something new. Unfortunately a number of live albums give you one or two studio recordings or dress up old ‘B” sides. Steely Dan’s Alive in America falls somewhere in the middle.

Most of the songs have never been played live before and a few never played in the arrangement on the CD. The song, “Book of Liars” takes a different spin. Not only is it not a Steely Dan track, but it’s the first song on a Steely Dan CD to feature Walter Becker on lead vocals. At first its inclusion would seem like a unusual choice, but not really. In the 90s Becker promoted his first solo work, 11 Tracks of Whack and though he perceived the audience had a lack of interest in his material (he referred to the “procession to the concession”), the inclusion of the new songs added additional validity to the Steely Dan tour.

Actually, this version of “Book Of Liars” seems a perfect fit for the live SD outfit. The original drum machine was replaced by great rim work from Peter Erskine. Warren Berhardt’s elegant solo replaces the jarring solo on the original version. Perhaps the highlight of the song is Bob Sheppard, who literally takes center stage with his soprano sax to begin the song, then switches to his tenor for the middle solo. A great way to highlight this Becker only composition.

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Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier is a bass-playing lawyer living in Atlanta. His first Steely Dan exposure was with an eight-track cassette of 'Pretzel Logic.' He can be reached at slangofages@icloud.com; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Preston Frazier
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