Friday, 7 December 2018

Walter Becker & Donald Fagen - Sun Mountain (1970)

Walter Becker and Donald Fagen met in 1967 at Bard College, in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. As Fagen passed by a café, The Red Balloon, he heard Becker practicing the electric guitar. He introduced himself to Becker and asked, "Do you want to be in a band?" Discovering that they enjoyed similar music, the two began writing songs together. After Fagen graduated in 1969, the two moved to Brooklyn and tried to peddle their tunes in the Brill Building in midtown Manhattan. Kenny Vance (of Jay and the Americans), who had a production office in the building, took an interest in their music, which led to work on the soundtrack of the low-budget Richard Pryor film 'You've Got to Walk It Like You Talk It or You'll Lose That Beat' (which I'll be posting later), which they later admitted that they did solely for the money. They also recorded a number of demos between 1968 and 1970 which have since leaked onto the internet in various forms. They are notable for their sparse arrangements (Fagen plays solo piano on many songs) and lo-fi production, in stark contrast with Steely Dan's later work, and although some of these songs ('Caves of Altamira', 'Brooklyn', 'Barrytown') were re-recorded for Steely Dan albums, most were never officially released. For this collection I've chosen the best of those unreleased songs, and so haven't included ones that later turned up on Dan albums. As previously mentioned, the quality isn't the best, but you can still hear the spark of what was to become one of the best song-writing partnerships in modern music.

Track listing

01 Don't Let Me In
02 A Little With Sugar
03 Sun Mountain
04 Android Warehouse
05 You Go Where I Go
06 The Mock Turtle's Song
07 Undecided
08 Come Back, Baby
09 Stone Piano
10 The Yellow Peril
11 I Can't Function
12 This Seat's Been Taken
13 The Braintap Shuffle



  1. Wow, wonder which idiot posted this

  2. I remember paying big bucks for a CD of this in the early days of CDs when even non-bootlegs were still expensive and came in cardboard 'longboxes'. You heard this yet? Theres a DL link in the youtube comments