I crossed my old man back in Oregon…

This was the first time I ever consciously heard the name of the state I ended up living in. It’s from Don’t Take Me Alive on Steely Dan’s The Royal Scam. I know somewhere on the wonderful internet there is an explanation of the song:


See told you so.

Royal Scam is the first Steely Dan album I ever heard, I bought it by mistake thinking it was a Steeleye Span album. I am going to bet I am the only person willing to admit this publicly. Imagine my dismay when I got home to discover the entire lack of fiddles and no Maddy Prior. I almost sold it so many times as it was way too different to anything I was listening to at the time, the only song I liked was The Fez, it was many years before I figured out what the song was about. Go on google it.

Over time and with perseverance it became a favorite. This was a time when the height of sophistication in my  record collection was Very ‘Eavy by Uriah Heep,eavy which is still a classic by the way or Steeleye’s Rocket Cotttage. Learning to appreciate such an uncool album led me to be able to listen to other styles of music that my friends mocked relentlessly. Suddenly Springsteen was attainable as an artist, I could listen to Zappa and when I learned that all pop was not Kylie Minogue I could hold my head high and listen to the likes of The Teardrop Explodes. So my willingness to listen to a diversity of music and deal with the ridicule is because of Steely Dan in a way.

That willingness to listen to just about anything eventually led to an overload of music with almost 400 gig’s on a hard drive and the current search to slow down and enjoy the tunes. Vinyl has allowed me to take a breath and really listen again. To take things in 20 minute chunks and then flip the disc. It has also raised a little anxiety at times, who knew a cat, a dog, a wife and three kids could be so heavy footed. Vinyl standards have improved as well, gone are those flimsy discs, replaced with heavy solid substantial discs that settle on the turntable with a solidity that is reassuring.

Incidentally not only is listening to vinyl more restful, Neil Young is right it sounds better and I have a ridiculously cheap set up that would be ridiculed by any audiophile. I did however buy a spinclean cleaner to deal with those dirty used records. And yes the thought has hit me to update my stereo already but I am determined to hold out.

That song about Oregon did however stick in my mind. Then I met a girl from Oregon, she told me they were pronouncing it wrong and it became even cooler in for me. Then I married that girl and all was lost.  You have to believe Becker and Fagen knew exactly what they were doing with their pronunciation, they new how much those granola crunchers out west would cringe every time they heard it. I bet they grin every time they sing it too.

So now I am in Oregon and have to pronounce my states name appropriately if I don’t it could well cause an international incident.

This weeks listening:

Fisherman’s Blues, The Waterboys

Royal Scam, Steely Dan

The Yes Album, Yes

Close To The Edge, Yes

Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd

Past Present and Future. Al Stewart

A brief question though, how many people when they see the sign, Rummage Sale Tomorrow 10am wonder if there will be vinyl??


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