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Covers of Steely Dan Songs - do you know of any singers who have done this?

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Bruce Lindfield, Aug 8, 2003.

  1. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I was listening to a French Radio station this morning and they played a very nice cover of Steely Dan's "Night by Night" (Pretzel Logic).

    It was a bluesier and funkier version with a female singer who sounded very powerful (sounded American?) and I would love to have a copy - but they didn't say who it was! :(

    And this got me thinking - all those great songs and I can't remember hearing any cover versions - well not with singers anwyay.

    I have two instrumental covers on albums - "Aja" by Christian McBride and "Do it Again" by Deodato - which is a weird "big-band" version!

    So I was thinking it would be really great to hear some good singers covering Dan songs - anybody know of any and especially who did the "Night by Night" one I heard?
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Oh well - as usual, I have answered my own original question, by trying different Google searches and have almost certainly determined that what I heard on the radio was a new 2003 album by :

    Ana Popovic a Yugoslavian(!) singer/guitarist -I found this and am determined to buy the album just from this blurb!! :)


    In the blues, years or even decades of “payin’ dues” is the norm. Most blues musicians toil in relative obscurity, and those that have been at it a while wear their struggles like a badge of honor. By those standards, Ana Popovic’s rise has been meteoric. Within five years of leaving her native Yugoslavia, the 26-year-old singer/guitarist has played major European music festivals like Peer, Bishopstock and Notodden. She has shared stages with Bernard Allison, Kenny Neal and Michael Hill and recorded with hitmaker Jim Gaines. Perhaps most impressive of all is her W.C. Handy Blues Award nomination for Best New Artist of 2003 – a rare honor for a European blues artist.
    When Ana attends the awards ceremony in Memphis this May, she’ll be returning to the place where she recorded her successful Ruf Records debut, “Hush” (Ruf 1063), in 2000. Six months after those sessions, she appeared at the Memphis in May festival alongside Bob Dylan and Ike Turner. This year, Ana’s road led back to Memphis – to record “Comfort To The Soul”. The album makes one thing clear. Ana Popovic is not about recycling worn-out clichés. Her blues are fresh, positive and genre-expanding.
    Ana Popovic was born in Belgrade in 1976. Her father first introduced her to the blues, through an extensive record collection and sessions hosted at the family home. Ana took to the guitar and founded her first serious band at age nineteen. Within a year, she was playing outside of Yugoslavia and opening shows for American blues icons like Junior Wells. By 1998, her band was doing 100 shows annually and appearing regularly on Yugoslavian television. Her debut CD, “Hometown,” provided a first glimpse of her talents as a singer and guitarist.
    In 1999, Ana relocated to the Netherlands to study jazz guitar. She quickly became a fixture on the Dutch blues scene and soon ventured into neighboring Germany. Ruf Records took notice and invited her to be a part of their Jimi Hendrix tribute, “Blue Haze” (Ruf 1053). A few months later, she was on a plane to Memphis to record the well-received “Hush.” Since then, Ana’s star has been rising like mercury on a Mississippi summer’s day.
    With “Comfort to the Soul”, Popovic looks ready to take her burgeoning career to the next level. Working with essentially the same team of studio pros as on her Ruf debut – this time under the guidance of both Jim Gaines and David Z. (Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang) – Ana has delivered another diverse package of blues, rock, soul and jazz. She calls it “a return to myself and everything I have felt in the last two years. It’s my evolution as a musician.”
    On the one hand, she pays tribute to the music and musicians who inspired her. “’Sittin’ On Top Of The World’ is one of the songs I remember from my father’s sessions in our home. I like the song’s positive message: ‘He left me, but I don’t worry’ … in other words, I’m happy with myself and havin’ a great time.” The presence on the album of both this reworked Howlin’ Wolf classic and Steely Dan’s “Night By Night” speaks for Ana’s broad definition of the blues. “This Steely Dan song always felt bluesy to me, because of the chord progression and bluesy guitar riffs.”
    The album also features a strong batch of thoughtful originals. The instrumental “Navajo Moon” was inspired by a visit to a Navajo reservation in California and by a sunset over the Grand Canyon. Ana wrote “Jaco” after reading a book about Jaco Pastorius, but dedicates it to those she calls “extreme talents, whose destiny was to be a medium for art. People like Jimi Hendrix.” In the hard-driving “Don’t Bear Down On Me,” which she co-wrote with Todd Sharpeville, Ana seems to be singing about her own struggles as a woman in the male-dominated blues world. “Sometimes it’s hard. People try to put you down. The message is to go on without them, and do it yourself.” The song also expresses her cocky, no-nonsense approach to performing. “I’m a relatively new artist on the scene. The song is basically about what I need to do: steal the show!”
    Clearly, Ana Popovic takes her music seriously. It is her road home, to herself. Or – to paraphrase John Lee Hooker – her Healer. “We’re living in a time when everything is rushed,” she observed recently. “But where are we in all of this? And where’s the music?”
    Here is “Comfort To The Soul.”

    Vincent Abbate, April 2003

  3. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    The band Rhythm Logic has a version of IGY on their (only) cd with Maysa Leak on vocals! Very nice. It's hard though to do Steely Dan with new twists as they are already unique unto themselves! I also have a cd that was a jazz tribute to Steely Dan but it's all instrumental!
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I'm being slow here, but without a complete track listing in front of me - what's IGY? :oops:
  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    IGY was on Fagen's album "Nightfly".

    Before starting the Dan Becker and Fagen tried their hand as staff songwriters and some of the early Dan tunes were recorded by other artists. Poco did "Dallas". Barbra Streisand recorded one of their pre-Dan tunes "I Mean To Shine".
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    That's not a Steely Dan song then, is it!! :meh:

    I have never heard that album, but I've got everything else by Becker/Fagen on CD, apart from Walter's solo album!
  7. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Hey, Becker and Fagen are both on it so I count it as a Steely Dan tune.
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I'll have to buy that album first!! ;)

    Anyway - I went to Borders in my lunch hour and I bought the Ana Popovic CD - I was suprised it was there - and have just listened to it.

    I'm not that impressed with most of the tracks - although Blues fans might be more into it.

    Night by Night is undoubtedly the best track by a long way which is probably why they played it on the radio :p - but the vocals sound clearly "European" now I can hear it on CD!

    I quite like the "Jaco" track and there is some nice slide guitar - she plays all the lead guitar parts which are very impressive. When I hear it I'm thinking - experienced, probably American male guitarist, who has been on the road a lot with Blues bands - not a young attractive (former) Yugoslavian female, who plays on the Dutch and German circuits mostly! ;)

    Good CD to have to break down "preconceptions!! :D

    But I always seem to find that when I hear something on the radio that I like - it is often the only track on the CD I like! Too impulsive, I guess! ;)
  9. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I've not got it in front of me, but I don't think Becker plays on it.

    Bruce - all I can think of is Herbie's (instrumental) version of Your Gold Teeth II, on "The New Standard". Oh, and "The Nightfly" is well worth getting, IMO.
  10. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Yeah, you're right. I did a search and no Becker on that one.
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Hmm...does anybody else find it strange that with all those great songs, no well-known singers seem to have dared to attempt any Steely Dan covers ?:confused:

    (before Ana Popovic, whose not that famous anyway!)

    Are they too difficult or too idiosyncratic,,or what? :meh:
  12. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Good question. Perhaps they are too idiosyncratic. I'm not sure I could do an SD song justice by doing a version of it.
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think I'll have to start a Steely Dan cover band - I've spotted the gap in the Market!! ;)
  14. There was a terrific local Chicago band some 15 years back named Insight that played at Jazz Bulls. They covered a couple of Steely Dan tunes from the Aja album.
    The band is since long gone, but certainly not forgotten.
  15. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I don't know how you survived that long drought of NO Steely Dan albums...you need The Nightfly!
    IMO, it was a Steely Dan album(I didn't think Becker was involved on this; this was in the time frame of 'the feud' between the two guys. Or so I thought).
    Another one that helped me get by was The Rock & Soul Revue(a band fronted by Fagen. Some SD are covered!).

    I know you're talking covers, Bruce.
    That said-
    The Hoops McCann Band did an album of instrumental SD covers.
    Singer Rosie Velas had an album produced by Gary Katz; I think Becker/Fagen wrote/played on this record(I will have to check).
    Eye To Eye, a duo produced by Katz, had all the SD sessioneers on their debut album. The tunes do sound Dan-ish.

    There was a band outta Baltimore(in the '80s) called Cruel Shoes...their originals sounded like the Dan.
  16. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I'd like to hear Stilig Dan - the Danish Steely Dan tribute band!! ;)
  18. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001
    or what about "STEELEYE SPAN".....uh waitaminute:eek: :D
  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I have actually seen Steeleye Span - live at Brighton Dome! :eek:

    Very good bass and drums - the rhythm section really drove the band along! :)
  20. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    Could it be from Chuck Rainey's latest solo album? I remember reading an interview in BP and he said he recorded that song with a more "world music" vibe...

    Edit: No wait, I think Rainey did the vocals himself. He said it was the only Steely tune he could play and sing...

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