Posts Tagged ‘Steely Dan’

GC Myers- The Animating Presence sm

“The Animating Presence”- At the West End Gallery, Corning

Running a little behind this morning but feel an obligation to at least share a song this morning. It’s Bodhissattva from an old favorite, Steely Dan.

Bodhissattva is a Buddhist term for a person who believes that their own enlightenment is not important as guiding and assisting others to reach enlightenment. They have put off reaching becoming arhats, which is the term given to those who reached enlightenment or nirvana, meaning that they have rid themselves completely of the Three Poisons of greed, hatred, and ignorance. Since an arhat is considered a “perfected person” they become free of the cycle of samsara or reincarnation.

On the other hand, a bodhissattva, which the Dalai Lama is considered, forgoes samsara in order to continually be reborn so that they can help many others free themselves from suffering and reach nirvana before ultimately reaching enlightenment themselves at some point in the distant future. To be a bodhissattva one must practice the Six Perfections which are:

  1. Be generous and give to others.
  2. Live a life in which you do the right thing.
  3. Have patience with all people.
  4. Sustain your energy so that you keep going through difficult times.
  5. Work on concentration by meditating.
  6. Gain wisdom

So, there’s a little knowledge this morning. I don’t know if you needed it. But I guess freeing ourselves from the Three Poisons of greed, hatred, and ignorance or practicing most or all of the Six Perfections can’t hurt any of us.

Here’s Bodhissattva from Steely Dan. Good tune to start off the morning.

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Steely Dan is one of those musical acts that has been around for so long that you kind of lose track of them, take them for granted or just plain forget about what they’ve done in the past. I know that’s the case for me. And inevitably, when I stumble back on them unexpectedly, I am reminded of how much their music was a part of my own past. I find myself singing along easily to songs I haven’t heard in years– no, decades.

They are always just plain good. Great musicianship, smart lyrics and strong hooks that pull you in. I always find myself asking how I don’t listen to them so much more than I do.

If you don’t know, Steely Dan consisted of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. In the 70’s they used a cast of incredible studio musicians– guitar great  Larry Carlton was a frequent player with them. Steely Dan was a very enigmatic group that achieved huge successes from both commercial and critical standpoints throughout the 70’s even though they retired from playing live in 1974. They broke up in 1981 then reunited in 1993 and recorded and toured consistently up until Walter Becker’s death in 2017. Fagen continues touring as the sole member of the band.

I loved their work at that time and listened to most of their albums on a consistent basis then. Like I said, I don;t know how they slipped away. Here’s a couple of faves from an album I really enjoyed– and enjoy now, The Royal Scam. Here’s Don’t Take Me Alive and Kid Charlemagne.

Have a good day, okay?


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Crimson Tide

Decency wins.

It’s been about a year now and a great part of the American people is finally recognizing that the country has been led directly into a deeper and darker swamp than they had thought possible.

We once believed that this country held the moral high ground with promises of equality, justice and opportunity for all. But that high ground has sunk into an ugly filth that has all but obliterated the line between decency and indecency, between the ethical and the unethical, between what is normal and abnormal and between what is true and what is false.

It’s seems so filthy that we can no longer tell right from wrong.

Yesterday’s election in Alabama was a small step out of that mire.

There is fresh air and a renewed energy. Hope. But we are still waist deep in it and there is a feeling that we are still in peril of being forever immersed in the muck unless we keep trudging out of this mess– together.

This is perhaps the most important moment for the future of our country and we cannot afford to relax and assume that others will watch out for our common good. Involve yourself, involve others and do the right things.

Because if we do that, decency will continue to win.

That being said, I had the chorus from Deacon Blues from Steely Dan running through my head as I walked to the studio in the dark this morning: They got a name for the winners in the world/I want a name when I lose/They call Alabama the Crimson Tide/Call me Deacon Blues

It has nothing to do with the election but I feel a little better about things because of those folks in Alabama. Thanks, Crimson Tiders. Here’s the song:

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GC Myers- The Deacon's New Tie 1995I was thinking about what song to use for this week’s Sunday morning musical interlude and the song I chose brought to mind an old painting of mine, one that lives with me still. It from the early Exiles series from around 1995 and is called The Deacon’s New Tie.

Finished near the end of the series, it is a bit lighter and more whimsical than the other pieces in the earlier post. Outside of going out for an exhibit many years ago, the Deacon has been a constant companion here in the studio.

There’s really no back story to the Deacon. He sort of just emerged from the surface. I had no preconception of what he would be when I started. I remember clearly starting this piece on a blank sheet and making a nose. Slowly, the face formed and when his eyes with their hangdog look came around I knew he was different than my other Exiles characters.

The funny thing about the Deacon is that several months after the piece was done and include in the Exiles show, I came across an article in the newspaper about a 95 year-old man in central Florida who had won a case where he was trying to be forced from the land on which he had lived for nearly 70 years. There was a picture of a bald old man sitting on his veranda, a slight smile on his lips. There was something slightly familiar in that face, something that caused me take a second look. There it was: he was the spitting image of my deacon.

Then, reading the article, it stated that he was a longtime member of a local church and was known to friends and neighbors as the Deacon. Coincidence or maybe just a certain look reserved for those Deacon-like characters.

As you may have already surmised from the title, this week’s song is Deacon Blues from Steely Dan, a group that I often think people have let slip away in the collective memory.  I was a fan and know that I often forget them until I stumble across their music by chance.  Luckily, there’s a local restaurant where we’ve dined for many years and we can’t remember a single visit where a Steely Dan song hasn’t played on their sound system at some point during the meal. The owner must be a Steely Dan fan but I think many people would be surprised at the huge success, both critical and commercial, that this band achieved in the 1970’s.  Solid then and now.

Anyway, this is one of their hits from back in 1977, Deacon Blues. Give a listen and have great Sunday.

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