Saturday, January 5, 2013

Pearl of the Quarter

Whenever I get a comment here at the Ramble I act on it. So here goes with another Steely Dan song. It's another song without a definite genre, although I guess it could be called a New Orleans Rhythm & Blues number.

I was always intrigued by the chorus in this song and when I figured out the chords I knew why. It's almost more mathematical than musical. The song, which is in the key of C (let's say) goes up to an E major chord for the chorus. Then the progression is:

E     Em    D    Dm    C    Cm    F    C

Chord fiends may have noticed that I have a penchant for songs that cleverly combine major and minor chords of the same note. Like a song in A major that fugues into A minor, or vice versa. Well, here is a song that has three major-to-minor chord progressions in a row, each one a step lower than the previous. And somehow Donald Fagen manages to place a melody over it that makes sense.

These are the only two Steely Dan songs that I know at this time. Do it Again might be too well known for me to tackle and Reelin' and Rikki are way too difficult.

My goal in the Midnight Ramble is to immortalize, digitally, the best old tunes I used to know. Necessarily, they have to be songs I can actually play and sing, so that cuts out a lot of classics. But it gives me a chance to dredge up some nifty songs that we used to love playing, and aren't heard much anymore, even on the oldies stations.