Steely Dan and the Renaissance Men

Oh, the wondrous synchronicity of the interweb.

These last couple of weeks I’ve been having something of a Steely Dan wallow. I still can’t quite decide which is my favourite album, although 1974’s Pretzel Logic is high in the running, but then again…

Today, I discover these delights from Cultural Offering. Firstly a live video of Reelin’ in the Years:

Then, this profile of guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter. I had previously read that Baxter was now a missile expert, but the whole story (on Business Insider) is fascinating.

And, in sharing these delights with my oldest, and vinyl-collecting, friend I find he had “just picked up an original US press of Katy Lied last Saturday – sensational stuff & the original sounds SOOO much better than the re-press I had.”

Baxter is one of those individuals who has forged hugely successful careers in wildly different fields. John Perry Barlow was another: cattle rancher, internet pioneer, lyricist with the Grateful Dead, cyber-libertarian and founding member of the  Electronic Frontier Foundation.

A third is John Kao: entrepreneur, psychiatrist, a talented jazz pianist who played with Frank Zappa, and a theatre and film producer with the film Sex, Lies and Videotape to his credit.

Do they all qualify as sovereign professionals? I guess they do.

And an eclectic set of fantasy dinner-guests.

 

Songs for Sovereign Professionals: Get It Right Next Time

Life is a liar, yeah, life is a cheat
It’ll lead you on and pull the ground from underneath your feet
No use complaining, don’t you worry, don’t you whine
‘Cause if you get it wrong, you’ll get it right next time, next time

Life is about learning from your mistakes. You’re bound to get it wrong sometimes, just make sure you get it right next time.

Another great track from Gerry Rafferty.

Incidentally, I love the arrangement, the way that the song sort of wanders in, says it stuff, then wanders off down the street, again.

Also worth noting is Hugh Burns’ sublime, understated guitar work.

This is the official video. From 1979. Can you guess?

Get It Right Next Time comes from Rafferty’s 1979 album Night Owl, the follow-up to the hugely successful City to City (which featured Baker Street).

Settled science – the Cultural Offering of @HardenKurt

Pressed for time but eager to keep pace with the latest scientific developments?

Cultural Offering brings you Settled Science:

All this plus inspiration and more music than you can shake a stick at (as they say, but as I’ve never quite understood).

And, via Cultural Offering, here’s Steve Morse and the Dixie Dregs:

 

Photo by Jonathan Francisca on Unsplash

Hayek, Popper and Schumpeter – @TheEconomist on the Viennese economists

Three exiles from Vienna and their responses to totalitarianism.

Part of the Economist’s Schools Brief series, this is a great essay on the influential Viennese exiles.

Today the Austrians are as relevant as ever. Autocracy is hardening in China. Democracy is in retreat in Turkey, the Philippines and elsewhere. Populists stalk the Americas and Europe: in Vienna a party with fascist roots is in the ruling coalition. All three would have been perturbed by the decay of the public sphere in the West. Instead of a contest of ideas, there is the tribal outrage of social media, leftwing zealotry on America’s campuses and fearmongering and misinformation on the right.

Of no direct relevance, Vienna was recently ranked as the world’s most liveable city. It is certainly, beautiful, elegant and civilised.

And, of course it was the inspiration for a great song…

 

Image: National Portrait Gallery

John Perry Barlow – 25 Principles of Adult Behaviour

I was sad to hear of the passing of John Perry Barlow – internet pioneer, lyricist and cattle rancher – and posted this piece over on the Burning Pine blog.

I also came across this, which is better shared here. Approaching 30 and “surprised to have reached an age of indisputable adult”, Barlow wrote himself 25 principles of Adult Behaviour.

You can read the full list over on Lifehacker.

Here’s a taster:

  • Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you.
  • Expand your sense of the possible.
  • Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.
  • Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.
  • Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.
  • Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that.
  • Endure.

Worth discovering.

Also, an excuse to share the song Cassidy, mentioned in the article.

Here’s the Dead:

I have seen where the wolf has slept by the silver stream.
I can tell by the mark he left, you were in his dream.
Ah, child of countless trees.
Ah, child of boundless seas.

And also, on the subject of Cassidy(s), here’s a beautiful piece by Barlow describing the song’s origins.

Songs for Sovereign Professionals: Running on Empty

Gotta do what you can just to keep your love alive
Trying not to confuse it with what you do to survive
In sixty-nine I was twenty-one and I called the road my own
I don’t know when that road turned onto the road I’m on.

I love this song. It opens full of a 17-year old’s drive and hope and energy, but quickly turns to melancholy and a just a tinge of desperation …

I look around for the friends that I used to turn to to pull me through

Looking into their eyes I see them running too

Sometimes, we all feel that we’re running on empty.

Here’s Jackson Browne at the 2004 Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame Inductions…

And, more youthfully, on the BBC in 197. David Lindley’s lap steel here is superb…

Running on Empty is the opening (and title) track of Jackson Browne’s 1977 album. Maybe the ultimate road album, the album was recorded on stage, on the tour bus and in hotel rooms.