Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Worthy Selection for the Trifecta


(1) Apologies.  This is a pretty un-Tickety post, but it relates to the Trifecta, so I'm claiming it.

(2) This is my 300th post.  Thanks to the Confessor Nation for continuing to check in, even when I'm not able to get off as many blasts as usual.  We pick up a few, we lose a few.  But I'll tell you, just having you guys around to fill in some info and call attention to stuff has increased my listening pleasure, I tell you what.


I was very surprised after a couple of years of listening to discover that Mike R's favorites and mine were precisely congruent:  Steely Dan and Jeff Beck.

I was therefore delighted that Mike recognized Roger Nichols, Steely Dan's engineer nonpareil, for inclusion in that Three Bedroom Apartment in the Sky.  Well deserved -- those albums are crystaline.  So in my estimation, well-deserved.  When I went to test some audio equipment once, the album I took with me was "Aja."

His tribute had a lot of information I wasn't aware of.  But there were two notable omissions I'll take a moment to bring to your attention.

First -- and of interest to the Trifecta analysis -- his nickname was "the Immortal."  In fact, he was credited that way on albums.  Partly because he survived Fagen and Becker's man-killing sessions for album after album, and partly because he seemed to have an immunity to electrical shock.

Second, while Mike was correct that he was pictured on the back of "Katy Lied," that was not his first appearance on a Steely Dan album cover.  Here is the back of "Countdown to Ecstasy":

If you click on the image, you can make it bigger.  If you will examine it carefully, you will see a random hand reaching up from beneath the board to manipulate the faders.  That's Roger (the Immortal) Nichols.



Not much Ticket interest there, but I had exactly ten minutes to throw something up.  I'll post an open thread in a couple of days with a suggested (and non-binding) topic.  Hoping that things slow down for me in the realm of actual employment in the next week or so.  Thanks for your patience.

Hope you will stick with me for the next 300.


Anonymous said...

Huge Steely Dan fan here. Thanks, Plainsman.

-Anon B

Anonymous said...

The blog seems to be going into new territory... From showgram to psychology. Whatever floats your boat. The seas might get choppy (and not the R.J. sort).

The Plainsman said...

How so, Anonymous? I ain't necessarily denying it, but what prompts your observation?

cancer monkey said...

I still believe that the Steely Dan guitar sound is one of the best ever put on tape. It's as thin as a hair but as strong as a garrotte and cuts through the mix like a Ginsu. If he's even partially responsible for that, then he's a genius.

The Plainsman said...

Yes, and that includes the early more rock fuzz-tones and the later jazzy stuff. "Black Friday," "The Boston Rag," "Don't Take Me Alive," "Haitian Divorce," "Bodhisattva," that stuff just absolutely cuts through the phlegm of our banal everyday lives. And while guitarists like Jeff Baxter are themselves technologically and electronically savvy, Roger the Immortal had a lot to do with it. As I say, recording engineers make an enormous musical contribution in getting those sounds balanced, EQ'd, and separated. Delighted to have some Steely guys tuning in to the site.