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Steely Dan  -  Don’t Take Me Alive

Chuck Rainey 

i want a name when i lose

I learned to work the saxophone
I play just what I feel
Drink Scotch whiskey all night long
And die behind the wheel
They got a name for the winners in the world
I want a name when I lose
They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
Call me Deacon Blues

Donald Jay Fagen, Walter Carl Becker

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I made a thing

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On this day in music history: March 9, 1975 - “Katy Lied”, the fourth studio album by Steely Dan is released. Produced by Gary Katz, it is recorded at ABC Recording Studios in Los Angeles, CA from November 1974 - January 1975. The album’s title is a play on the word “katydid”, the species of grasshopper that appears on the LP’s cover (taken by Fagen’s then girlfriend Dorothy White). Several of the songs are piano based, with the duo utilizing keyboardist Michael Omartian to play on many of the tracks. For the sessions, Becker and Fagen use a seven foot long Bosendorfer grand piano (at the time costing over $13,000), which they talk their label ABC Records into paying for. The album features numerous top flight musicians including Crusaders member Wilton Felder (bass), Chuck Rainey (bass), Victor Feldman (percussion), Rick Derringer, Hugh McCracken, Larry Carlton, Dean Parks, Elliott Randall (guitar), Hal Blaine (drums), Michael McDonald (background vocals) and future Toto members David Paich (keyboards) and Jeff Porcaro (drums). Only twenty one years old at the time, Porcaro plays drums on nine of the albums’ ten tracks. Becker and Fagen experience major technical difficulties when the dbx noise reduction system malfunctions, rather than using the industry standard Dolby A noise reduction while mixing the album. In spite of efforts to correct the problem, they are unable to fix it entirely. Nearly deciding to scrap the album altogether, Becker and Fagen release it as is but have refused to listen to it since. It spins off two singles including “Black Friday” (#37 Pop) and “Bad Sneakers” (#103 Pop). In 1978, the audiophile label Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab issues a half speed mastered pressing of the album. It sells poorly upon its release, and is deleted not long after. Though it ends up becoming a sought after collector’s item after it goes out of print, commanding as much as $300 - 400 for a sealed copy. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 1999. “Katy Lied” peaks at number thirteen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.