Well, I finally bought "Gaucho" yesterday. Despite my deep love for the music of Steely Dan, I never owned Gaucho. I was a bit of a SD snob, sticking instead to the first 5 albums (the more guitar oriented stuff). Although I owned Aja, it was begrudingly. I have since of course grown to love every cut on "Aja", learning "Josie" note for note on both guitar and bass, and having played along with "Home at Last" more times than I can count. But I still didn't buy "Gaucho". "Hey 19" was so overplayed on FM radio in the early 80's, and I told myself, "too slick", "no soul", etc.
Well, that all changed last week. It's been cracking for some time, mostly due to seeing/hearing "Babylon Sisters" live. But it really hit home last Thursday, about halfway through the tune "Time Out of Mind." Fagan was singing:
Children we have it right here, It's the light in my eyes
It's perfection and grace, It's the smile on my face
Tonight when I chase the dragon, The water will change to cherry wine
And the silver will turn to gold, Time out of mind
I'll leave the interpretation to the reader (email me if you have no idea), but I'll take the first lines at face value...because in that moment, I experienced perfection and grace. I was touched. I bought the damn album. Now I'm angry. And sad. I spent all those years WITHOUT THIS ALBUM. No, it isn't perfect, and isn't my favorite. BUT, it has a few more conduits to emotions. The title track is stunning on a number of levels. "Time Out of Mind" is up and down at the same time. "Third World Man" is stark and haunting (there is a great live version on the "Live in America" disc from the '93 tour with Erskine on drums...and in the liner notes, it simply says "Erskine - perfect").
So what's the take home lesson? Open your mind. Don't let your preconceived notions be your gatekeeper. Take a chance with your ears.