Friday, November 27, 2009

Steely Dan: Black Friday

Well since it is “Black Friday” the absolute best/worst (pick one) shopping day in the US, I am suspending the usual Friday theme to play the live version of Steely Dan’s “Black Friday.”

The song was released as the first single from Steely Dan’s fourth LP, “Katy Lied.” While it didn’t have great chart success (#37), the album did much better charting at #13 and achieving an RIAA gold certification. But all was not joy in Mudville with mixing the 24 track masters down to a stereo mix.

According to guitarist Denny Dias, there were multitudinous problems with the DBX noise reduction system that the mixing process was next to impossible to complete. Eventually the DBX system was scrapped and Dolby processing was used. No one could explain what happened but the LP was finally released and most listeners were none the wiser except through some cryptic notations on the LP’s back cover.

Studio Version

Steely Dan, even with their fluid membership outside of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, has been entertaining audiences with their eclectic mix of influences. The session musicians as well as the regular band mates have all been top notch. While Becker and another guitarist share leads during the live performance, it is all Becker on the 1975 LP.

While the song has nothing to do with the busiest shopping day before Christmas, it really is a look back/forward (pick one) to the stock market crash. Is it historical?, yes. Is it prophetic?, yes. It’s two mints in one [there is a joke there if you look hard enough].

To dispel any myths about the song, here are the lyrics:

When Black Friday comes
I'll stand down by the door
And catch the grey men when they
Dive from the fourteenth floor
When Black Friday comes
I'll collect everything I'm owed
And before my friends find out
I'll be on the road
When Black Friday falls you know it's got to be
Don't let it fall on me

When Black Friday comes
I'll fly down to Muswellbrook
Gonna strike all the big red words
From my little black book
Gonna do just what I please
Gonna wear no socks and shoes
With nothing to do but feed
All the kangaroos

When Black Friday comes I'll be on that hill
You know I will
When Black Friday comes
I'm gonna dig myself a hole
Gonna lay down in it 'til
I satisfy my soul
Gonna let the world pass by me
The Archbishop's gonna sanctify me
And if he don't come across
I'm gonna let it roll
When Black Friday comes
I'm gonna stake my claim
I'll guess I'll change my name

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