Thursday, November 19, 2015

Donald Fagen: Sunken Condos (2012)

This is jazz-funk Fagen, spread over three sides of clear vinyl. It's a truly great record with lots of rhythms and grooves.

My copy is the USA and Canada pressing, which, for some reason, was pressed in Holland, though the jacket says it was printed in Canada. Anyway, what's interesting are the current prices. The recent median sale price on Discogs is about $50. Copies for sale range from about $50 to $85 Canadian. I recently saw a copy for sale in a local store for $68. I paid far less.

When I first heard the record, I was kind of stopped in my tracks when Out of the Ghetto came on. I'm not sure that a white guy should be permitted to sing Isaac Hayes' Out of the Ghetto. Fagen does a good job, but it made me wonder. Imagine a white guy singing these lyrics:

You've come a long way baby,
From wealth and food stamp lines,
You're moving on up,
And leaving poverty behind.

And this:

You've had a good education,
And seen the best of the schools,
But when you take a drink,
The ghetto comes out of you.

And, them, the chorus, or part of it:

I took you out of the ghetto
But I could not get that ghetto out of you.

It sounds like la mission civilisatrice to me. Again, can a white guy sing these lyrics?

When we go to the disco,
You drive the fellas wild,
When you shake your booty,
Ghetto style.

You're a hunk of raw sugar,
Got some real sweet hips,
Your love, your love, your love,
Is like a honey drip.

I have no answer. But maybe I reading too much. After all, the tracks ends this way,

Ghetto mamma, don't you change,
Ghetto mamma, stay the same.

Maybe it's simply cultural appropriation to sing lyrics written by a black man. That's what the virtue signallers these days might say. Add it to the list of things we can't do: yoga, eat ethnic food, and wear clothing originating in another culture.

In the end, it can't top Isaac's version. Anyway, I really like this record.

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