Sunday, April 29, 2007

Creepy Dupree

Have you ever heard the song Cousin Dupree by Steely Dan? It was on their comeback cd, Two Against Nature, which came out in 2000. It's a fine example of the twisted-ness that pops up from time to time in Steely Dan's music.

The song's voice is that of a creepy guy working on his next career move "from the comfort of my Aunt Fay's couch." He sees his younger cousin for the first time in years, and "all I can say is 'Ouch!'" He goes on to express the torture he feels, watching her with her boyfriend, and strutting about the house in her "tight capris." He laments, "What's so strange about a down-home family romance?" Finally, he makes his move with a dumb pick-up line, and gets his comeuppance.

The thing about this song is that the sick nature of it all is paired with a jaunty, hook-y melody that gets under your skin. The thing is positively infectious.

So I'm washing the dishes a while ago with the iPod on shuffle, and up pops Dupree. I find myself singing and moving, one with the narrator. Then it hits me: Am I enjoying this song a bit too much?

Isn't it amazing how well-written music (or books or movies, for that matter) can put you into the shoes of someone you normally would never identify with?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Why I'm Doing This

Welcome to my blog. This is my first post, so please bear with me--I barely know what I'm doing.

I've started this blog for a few reasons: First, I have an intense love of music. There are only a few people I talk to about music, so I figured this will give me a chance to do that. Second, I'm always wanting to expand my awareness of musicians and recordings, both old and new. I'm hoping that some of you will be moved to post comments and tell me about the music you've discovered. And third, I've been spending a ridiculous amount of time on a career project, and I need a break. This should provide a bit of a diversion.

Some of the topics I'd like to cover here include musicians, recordings, radio, and concerts. My tastes are broad, though jazz and rock dominate.

To start things off, I'll just mention one cd that I highly recommend. It's called Pursuance: The Music of John Coltrane, by alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett. Garrett is joined by Pat Metheny on guitar, Rodney Whitaker on Bass, and Brian Blade on Drums. It's on the Warner Bros. label and was released in 1996.

Why do I like this cd? First of all, Kenny Garrett is a seriously talented musician. I don't like all of his records, but this Coltrane tribute is really something. Metheny's guitar works well here. A critic once described his synth guitar work as "being force-fed an entire can of vanilla frosting," but it's used to fine effect on this record. The song selections--Equinox, Liberia, Dear Lord, Lonnie's Lament, Giant Steps, and others--offer a range of feels. Well worth checking out. If you've heard it, tell me what you think.