I am a big fan of Steely Dan. On a recent podcast of the Bluegrass Blog Mixer (check it out) we discussed the great works of the Dan and one member, we will call him JH, just didn't get the band. The other members of the podcast were surprised , not really we knew JH didn't like the Dan. JH asked for examples on why we thought they are such a great band. My example was the song The Caves of Altamira.
The track is off of Steely Dan's The Royal Scam album. The album was released in 76, never mind that I was 7 when it came out, as mentioned in many other blogs I listened to my parents AM radio on which Steely Dan were kings.
My love of this song is the great story it tells and the amazing music that supports it. In the song a young man who has never felt part of the Normal world retreats to a cave to find refuge. In the cave he discovers ancient paintings. Through the paintings of long lost people the young man regains his attachment to the world. There are many levels on which this song speaks to people and me. First of, like in many Dan songs, the main character feels like an outcast and just of sync with the accepted world. I think most of us can fit this mold at one time or another. The other level is knowing that as mankind we have always wanted to leave our mark. Even cavemen who didn't have any other form of communication left their mark on the walls of their caves, "Hey I was here and this is what it was like". I don't want to meet the person who can't identify with cry of humanity, please remember I was here.
The other part is the music is great and the sax solo cuts right through you. The layering of the horns, the electric piano and the syncopation of the delivery helps bring you along into the story. No, the song is Well produced not Over, take that Haters!
If you want to introduce yourself to why Steely Dan is a great band The Cave of Altamira is a great place to start.
Til next time listen to the best your ears deserve it.