If Two Against Nature was a somewhat unlikely winner Grammy winner for 2001, Album of the Year, the song “Cousin Dupree” was an even more unlikely winner for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Of course the album also garnered Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Engineered Album/Non Classical.
On the surface the song almost floats along with a tight rhythm held down by drummer Leroy Clouden and bassist Walter Becker. Becker also supplies all the lead guitar parts including the radio friendly solos.
Yet as experienced Steely Dan listeners know, all is not quite as it seems.
Donald Fagen occasionally mentioned during the 2000 tour that “Cousin Dupree” had sort of a rural narrative. How many Grammy winners are about a grown man lusting after his younger sexy cousin? How many pop songs feature a whistler (Fagan’s talented and lovely stepdaughter, Amy Helm in her only Steely Dan appearance) during the bridge? How many pop songs use the word ‘skeevy’?
Strange stuff for pop music, but not really that strange for Becker and Fagen.