Steely Dan Sunday, “Talkin’ ‘Bout My Home” (1980?, unreleased)

*** STEELY DAN SUNDAY INDEX ***

“Throw Back the Little Ones and Pan Fry the Big Ones,” a common strategy for many a Steely Dan song or snippet of a song. “Talkin’ ‘Bout My Home” is another of our Gaucho-era outtakes to consider and partake of the leftovers. We find an ebullient Donald Fagen on up front vocals in this demo, accompanied by bass (Walter Becker) and piano (Fagen) with a Wurlitzer or synthesizer infused for accents. Although recorded sometime circa Gaucho, this bouncy ditty sounds (at least, parts of it) harkens way back to the Jurassic. The lyrics and snappy chords underneath the verses could go back to the early 70s, and have a feel like “Mr. Sam,” a Katy Lied outtake we shall visit in the future.

A piano vamp revs up the intro a tad like — but less sophisticated than — the keyboard vamp under “Time Out of Mind.”

I was born and raised and lived and loved and died
Today
But when I saw the lights my work was here
Hooray
It took me by surprise
It was right before my eyes

[Chorus:]
Talkin’ ’bout my home
The city in the sky

And then…

Talkin’ ’bout my home
The only home I ever known

…features a jazzy chord progression that feels more like the Aja or Gaucho era.

There is a youthful — and for Steely Dan — an oddly optimistic, view of a nebulous, but a near-utopian, fantastical “city in the sky” for a dude who has suddenly stumbled upon the best world he could be welcomed to. Ronald Reagan would blush.

Well you’re halfway through the gate where you will live
Inside
Well I knew a dude who said it ain’t no trip
He lied
Well I saw his face, oh god
When we crossed the promenade

[Chorus]

A short makings of a solo follows with foundation chords slightly reminiscent of the bridge on “Can’t Write Home About You.” Lovely.

Well now I’ve got to catch that Wunderbar
Express
So I’ll just say good evening to you all
God bless
Just put me on that train
To that great celestial plane

[Chorus]

“Talkin’ “Bout My Home” is a catchy but a bit less compelling of a tune than peer outtakes “Kulee Baba,” “Can’t Write Home About You,” and “Kind Spirit,” songs deserving of the big fry treatment. “Home,” thus, is a throwaway, although Steely Dan throwaways are often more robust than a fully decked out recording from most artists, that was reconsidered…and tossed back again.

John Lawler

J.M. Lawler is researcher living somewhere left of the Rio Grande, Texas, where he practices science - until he gets it right. He was first exposed to Steely Dan by a neighbor and the static of AM radio at a young age. Reach John at jml2621@gmail.com; contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.

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