Steely Dan Covered Twice


Woody Herman


Herbie Mann



Listen -Woody Herman – Kid Charlemagne – MP3″

Listen -Herbie Mann – Do It Again – MP3″

Greetings all.

I come you forlorn, as my vacation – during which much family fun was had (all within a 100 mile radius) was had – has come to an end and I must return to the sturm und drang of working for a living.
It’s been an eventful week, during which our diabetic cat had a seizure (scary shit), we went to a hot air balloon fest (which was amazing) and I was compelled to sit through ‘Mamma Mia!’ with my wife, which though I love her dearly, was an eye rolling, clock watching experience of the first order.
I hope everyone has been digging the Beatles covers in Funky16Corners Radio v.54. The tunes I bring you today continue on in the “covers” theme, but jump forward a few years on the timeline into the discography of Steely Dan.
Say what you will – and I know there are haters out there – but I have always been a HUGE fan of Steely Dan as well as Donald Fagen’s solo albums. I’m old enough to have grooved on their stuff when it was new, and thanks to the fact that my wife was also a big SD fan when I met here, we’ve spent a lot of time digging those albums together.
During a digging expedition a few months back, while plowing through a particularly large table full of 45s I happened upon (I think in the very same box) a pair of 45s in which Steely Dan songs were being covered by a couple of jazzbos (in fact it may have been the same box where I pulled Count Basie’s version of ‘Come Together’ featured in last week’s mix). The first one (and the least surprising of the two) was Herbie Mann’s version of ‘Do It Again’ (first performed by Steely Dan on their 1972 debut LP ‘Can’t Buy a Thrill’). Though I had no idea Mann had covered the Dan, it was unsurprising as he was known for covering then-current pop material.
The second 45 I dug out was a cover of ‘Kid Charlemagne’ (from ‘The Royal Scam’ in 1976) by Woody Herman. This was a little more of a surprise. Though Herman was a very hip dude, especially for someone who came to prominence in the swing era, I had no idea he’d ever dipped into the Steely Dan catalog. Woody Herman is an especially interesting case. He was active musically from the 30’s to the 80’s. His most famous band, the aptly named Thundering Herd was known as a hard charging unit and an incubator for progressive jazzers (like Stan Getz and Serge Chaloff). He kept a big band going years after it was economically feasible to do so, and stayed if not ahead – just a touch behind – the curve, even recording some excellent albums for Cadet in the late 60’s.
Herman’s take on ‘Kid Charlemagne’ comes from his 1978 LP, ‘Plays Chick, Donald, Walter & Woodrow’, which – if you hadn’t already figured it out – featured tunes written by Chick Corea, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, and Herman himself. It is – as expected – a pretty hip outing with a band that included Herman on soprano sax and clarinet, Joe Lovano on tenor and guest spots by Victor Feldman and Tom Scott (both of whom had guested on Steely Dan albums). The Herman band takes the tune at a brisk pace, with a little added synthesizer.
Herbie Mann’s version of ‘Do It Again’ comes from his 1973 LP “Turtle Bay’, which featured a bunch of rock material, including a cover of the Allman Brothers ‘In Memory of Elizabeth Reed’. I’m a huge jazz flute fan, and as one might expect Herbie gets in a grip of solo time, alongside some cool electric piano. There are those that will – with noses raised high in the air – scoff at Senor Herbie’s bare chested flute wrangling. He continually chased (and actually got, in 1975 with ‘Hijack’) pop success, and though I’m also a huge fan of “serious” jazz, I also dig jazzers working the pop side of the street.
I hope you dig the tunes, and I’ll be back later in the week with some blazing funky soul.


PSS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for a new mix!

PSSS Check out Paperback Rider as well.

13 Responses to “Steely Dan Covered Twice”

  1. All Music, All blogs Says:


    You got a hell of a great blog, I love your funky style! I have decided to add you to my list of blogs. I hope this will boost your traffic, please have a look at Please feel free to add my blog to your linklist.

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    peace and blessings!


  2. diembe Says:

    what a brain-bendingly cool blog. yowza.

    showing my age here, i suppose–i have seen herbie mann and woody herman both play live. and i just saw steely dan this past weekend (set list from the very fine berkely, ca show posted on my blog).

    did not know about either of these two covers, though. what fun.



  3. TrentMakz Says:

    I’ve been a fan of you site for a whole now, thanks for turning me on to a lot of cool stuff here and at Iron Leg. I dig the passion you have for what you like.

    Two things I want to turn you on to. I heard this totally cool funky band today on WXPN on the way home from work, and he reminded me of your song selections, if you haven’t heard of him before check out the myspace for Eli “Paperboy” Reed and the Trueloves, a white kid from Massachusetts doing amazing funky soul…yes AMAZING.

    2nd, there’s this guy Randy Now who booked all the bands and ran the show at City Gardens in Trenton back in the day, he’s been doing some small & intimate shows at the Record Collector store in Bordentown, NJ on Friday’s & Saturday nights from time to time…coming up in early August he’s got the legendary Philly funkster, Billy Harner coming in to do a live show..the man The Geator called “The American Joe Cocker” and Hyski gave him the nickname “The Human Percolator” because he cooks!

    Keep it up,


  4. funky16corners Says:

    I have the most recent CD by Eli Paperboy Reed and I dig it.
    I knew about the place in Bordentown (haven’t been there yet) but I had no idea that Randy Now was associated with it, nor did I know about the Billy Harner show (I’m a BIG fan of his stuff).
    Thanks for the tip.

  5. Tony C Says:

    I reckon we must be from about the same era Larry.I’ve always liked Steely Dan. Donald Fagens Nightfly L.P is a classic.

  6. dkpresents Says:

    As long as we’re talkin’ Steely Dan covers, I have to give a shout out to the Minutemen’s version of ‘Dr. Wu’ – killer!

    Nice post…

  7. drfeelgoed Says:

    Great post & what a find! Now if only someone could up the full Woody Herman album, as it is impossible to find…
    By the way more interesting SD stuff here:

  8. chuffinghog Says:

    As ever, Larry, a couple of great covers here. But my biggest thanks are due to you for the warning about Mamma Mia. My wife decided that we were going to see the film this week and after your comment here, I dug my heels in, stayed at home with some good music and she took her mother.


  9. Jamie Welsh Watson Says:

    You are a good husband! My husband would never go see Mamma Mia with me. (-:

  10. B in CO Says:


    Have you ever checked out Horace Silver’s “Song For My Father?” The intro is a dead ringer for the intro of “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number?” MP3 is at:

  11. maxwell Says:

    heck yeah!

  12. Saxophones Shop Says:

    I have all of Steely Dan’album.

  13. Gina Says:

    hi, came here googling.
    although Mizar5 is Mizar6 now and we took a little time off of the Steely Dan content, it does come back every once in a while, especially when we find stuff by chance, like Woody Herman posts. We’ll add a link to this cool blog!


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