Circus Money

( 1 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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: 6/10/2008
  • Label: 5 Over 12
  • UPC: 698268450523
  • Catalog Number: 4505
  • Sales rank: 295,200

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
Sir 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
Bernie Grundman Mastering
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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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A reviewer

    Walter Becker's second solo album shows off his contribution to the sound and songs of Steely Dan much more aptly than his first solo effort (11 Tracks of Whack). This album is immediate and effortless, and grabs you from the first track and doesn't let go. You get tracks that harken back to the SD sound (Paging Audrey, Upside Looking Down, and Downtown Canon), fun listens (Somebody's Saturday Night, Three Picture Deal) and a new element added to the soundscape, reggae, notably in the dub style bass tracks, in songs like Bob Is Not Your Uncle Anymore and Do You Remember the Name. The addition of the reggae styling to the unmistakable sound initially seems like an odd pairing, but within the first few seconds, you can't remember why. It all fits together so perfectly that you wonder why there weren't more songs in the Steely Dan lexicon to include this sound, and are reminded of the fantastic songs that did (remember Haitian Divorce?). Larry Klein (whose produced last years Album of the Year Grammy Winner by Herbie Hancock) does a fantastic job of removing anything which would detract us from the two most important things namely, Walter's songs and the fantastic backing band, honed by five years of touring behind Steely Dan. Buy it, you won't be disapointed.

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