Circus Money

Circus Money

5.0 1
by Walter Becker
     
 

Walter Becker's second solo album, Circus Money, arrives 14 years after his first, 1994's 11 Tracks of Whack -- which just happens to be the span of time separating 11 Tracks and Steely Dan's Gaucho, the last album Becker cut before going solo. Apart from producing credits, he was quiet during that first 14 yearsSee more details below

Overview

Walter Becker's second solo album, Circus Money, arrives 14 years after his first, 1994's 11 Tracks of Whack -- which just happens to be the span of time separating 11 Tracks and Steely Dan's Gaucho, the last album Becker cut before going solo. Apart from producing credits, he was quiet during that first 14 years but during the second Steely Dan became a going concern again, as Becker's reunion with Donald Fagen -- first broached when the former produced the latter's 1993 record, Kamakiriad, a favor Fagen returned for 11 Tracks -- turned into something permanent, a base that they could pivot from and release solo projects. Circus Money is about as solo as it gets for Becker, as it represents the first time he's recorded an album without the collaboration of Fagen, choosing to work with producer/writer Larry Klein instead. Not that you could tell any of this from the sound of the album, as this shares the same impeccable production and soft jazz grooves that have been the duo's stock in trade since Gaucho. Sonically speaking, this is a close blood relative to Everything Must Go, just as Fagen's 2006 solo album Morph the Cat was, but Circus Money is thematically the opposite of Morph, as it's not a concept album and it's ever so slightly less reliant on jazzy, keyboard-driven rhythms, feeling more like the work of a small-scale combo -- a combo that happens to have a penchant for really relaxed reggae rhythms, a new development that is the only new wrinkle in Becker's sound and one that fits in easily with the mellow, immaculately soulful grooves. At its heart, Circus Money is a groove album -- a pristine, precise groove album to be sure, but this is an album where feel is paramount, so much so that it takes a few listens to dig into the sardonic dirty jokes, satire, and vignettes that Becker serves up in each of the 12 songs. Again, this is nothing new but that doesn't mean it's unwelcome, as Becker continues to live up to his high self-imposed standards with this very fine album. Plus, hearing him here on his own, completely separate from his running partner, makes it easier to appreciate that dry wit and sly guitar, two things that have always been his calling card but resonate strongly when heard outside of Steely Dan.

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Product Details

Release Date:
06/10/2008
Label:
5 Over 12
UPC:
0698268450523
catalogNumber:
4505
Rank:
385965

Related Subjects

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Walter Becker   Primary Artist
Larry Goldings   Organ,Hammond Organ
Sharon Bryant   Background Vocals
Sweet Pea Atkinson   Background Vocals
Tawatha Agee   Background Vocals
Harry Bowens   Background Vocals
Carmen Carter   Background Vocals
Gordon Gottlieb   Percussion
Larry Klein   Bass
Kate Markowitz   Background Vocals
Cindy Mizelle   Background Vocals
Dean Parks   Guitar,Soloist
Roger Rosenberg   Bass Clarinet,Baritone Saxophone
Ted Baker   Piano,Keyboards,Electric Piano
Keith Carlock   Percussion,Drums
Henry Hey   Keyboards
Terry Dexter   Background Vocals
Luciana Souza   Background Vocals,Pandeiro,Soloist
Windy Wagner   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Walter Becker   Composer
Irving Azoff   Management
Larry Klein   Composer,Producer
Jay Messina   Engineer
Elliot Scheiner   Engineer
Sandy Roberton   Management
Carol Bobolts   Contributor
Helix Hadar   Engineer
Brian Montgomery   Engineer

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