Walter Becker – Circus Money – Mailboat Records

by | May 28, 2008 | Pop/Rock/World CD Reviews | 0 comments

Walter Becker – Circus Money – Mailboat Records MBD 4505 ****:

(Walter Becker, vocals/bass/guitar; Jon Herrington, guitar; Jim Beard, piano; Ted Baker, keyboards; Chris Potter, tenor sax; Keith Carlock, drums; Gordon Gottlieb, percussion; Larry Goldings, B-3; Dean Parks, guitar; Henry Hay, keyboards; Roger Rosenberg, bass clarinet;  background vocalists)

The bassist, quieter of the Steely Dan duo, who appears nothing like the rock icon he is, has waited 14 years to do his second solo album apart from the hugely successful jazz-tinged rock duo. You get a dozen tunes – mostly collaborations of Becker and his album producer cohort Larry Klein.  Some of the above sidemen are only heard on one or two tunes;  Goldings’ B-3 aids the rockin’ rhythm of Downtown Canon – his only participation. The lyrics are hip, sardonic and often conjure up a whole special story or scenario with just a few well-chosen phrases. Bob Is Not Your Uncle Anymore is a wonderful creation based on the Britishism “Bob’s Your Uncle;” it creates the sad nostalgia you feel when seeing a place you enjoyed in its heyday but which is now decrepit.  The title tune, however, is not sardonic – it’s about a little kid saving up pennies to go see the circus.  Becker is evidently hung up on reggae, and that special rhythm infuses many of the tunes. I don’t care for it, but like one of Monty Alexander’s Telarc jazz albums, he has smoothly incorporated the rhythm into some very attractive tunes.

1. Door Number Two
2. Downtown Canon
3. Bob Is Not Your Uncle Anymore
4. Upside Looking Down
5. Paging Audrey
6. Circus Money
7. Selfish Gene
8. Do you Remember The Name
9. Somebody s Saturday Night
10. Darkling Down
11. Gods Eye View
12. Three Picture Deal

– John Henry

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