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Deacon Blues (steely Dan Cover With J.ri…vas)

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Steely Dan studies part 5: The last cover of this little tribute to Steely Dan and again many thanks to Jimmy Rivas for joining this project with his exceptional voice.
Don't hesitate to enjoy the full set at


Jimmy: vocals (visit his fine cloud at @j-rivas)

Dirk: Arrangement, Production

Instruments used: VSL Special edition 1

The album "Aja" released 1977 is probably the most radical and at the same time one of the most successful recordings of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen. The Steely Dan factors smoothness, Jazz-influence and sophistication are expanded to a new maximum. The lyrics are as dark and ambiguous as ever and the production-quality is to die for. Just use "Aja" as a reference for mixing and you will get better results.
"Deacon blues" is one of the highlights: The song tells about a saxophone-player and as always The Dans are uncovering the dark sides of the Jazz-scene. I read a very convincing interpretation somewhere, where a guy said, that the narrator in "Deacon blues" is dead. The "shade" is a ghost, he is going to heaven and expanding into the universal cosmos. Before he wanted to become a bluesman and before he is even learning an instrument (the saxophone) he already assimilating to the Jazz-lifestyle, drinking, drugs, women. And before he can play something he dies in a car accident. The lyrics during the chorus are setting a brutal contrast between the clean life of the normal society (Alabama crimson tide, a football team) and the romantic dark life in the Jazz-scene (call me deacon blues). And this song is just so beautiful, one of the best chorus ever written …

"As midlife-crisis songs go, Steely Dan's "Deacon Blues" ranks among the most melodic and existential." -- The Wall Street Journal

About the cover: The opulence of the original delivers more than enough material for orchestration: The rich chord-progressions, the slight bigband-touch, the melodic fills. So I have not created much additional material for the orchestra-arrangement. This was my first experience with Midi-orchestration and my respect for all people here at SC, which are producing hollywood-style full orchestra-tracks has grown while working on this one. Not because of the arranging-process, this happened pretty fast within a few days. But the hard work comes after it, when you have to bring the Midi-track to life in the sequencer. It takes hours and hours of editing velocities, key-switches and timing until you end with an acceptable result.

Photos used:

1. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rotterdams_Philharmonisch_Orkest-2011.jpg
2. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lester_Young#/media/File:Lester_Young_%28Gottlieb_09441%29.jpg

All rights of the arrangement reserved by heartscore-music/ Dirk Radloff July 2015

Licence : All Rights Reserved