Ominous lines from Fagen’s the Nightfly.
I had never heard this album until this week. I had never searched it out, it was maybe good enough to know it existed without hearing it. It was semi-legendary and what the hip cats into Steely Dan really listened to, it was hard to get for many years it seemed elusive at the best, impossible to find or out of reach for my poor pocket as a student and then I forgot about it. Then yesterday while driving past Goodwill I saw the cover in the window. Well I had to pull over.
It’s unmistakable, the jazz guru cigarette in hand whispering knowledge along the airwaves. On a radio station you had to be cool enough to know about as it was so independent.
Then there it was in the stacks of used vinyl, the cover was perfect, not immediately a good sign. The vinyl looked fine.
Home we go clean it up and give it a spin and suddenly I am one of the cool kids. It was all recorded digitally in the age of vinyl and sounds nice. Immediately you are transported back to late night radio, for me it was John Peel and rock music and not jazz but the theme is the same, secret knowledge being passed on to the initiate in the dead of night. Apparently many of the lyrics are auto-biographical and just goes to prove Donald Fagen is one cool cat
This is an album that would have hit the cool quotient of the staff at Probe Records. A polite nod to the knowing as others left with their OMD records or Bad Company.
So now I feel like one of the cool kids having heard the elusive to me Nightfly album. I have to also admit I bought a Bad Company album at the same time though sometimes you just need to rock and the Bad Company boys can do that and somehow I think Mr Fagen would appreciate that although maybe with a sardonic grin as he sipped his cocktail or black coffee, and not an all out devil fingers.