Let me first state that I am one of those people (and we know who we are) that thinks that Walter Becker's first album,11 Tracks of Whack
(affectionately called 11TOW) is one of the top 100 albums of all time. There is a genius within that recording that will eventually manifest itself years hence, and the public at this moment in time is not ready to fully appreciate the all the subtle nuances and playfulness of that CD. One needs to listen to 11TOW more than a few times for it to fully penetrate the brain and reveal all the richness contained within.
This is not the case with Walter Becker's brand new effort, Circus Money, however. Circus Money hits you right in the hippocampus at first listen and by day three you are awash in the music so much so that the tunes barely leave your brain. They continue to reveal more of their rich essence as time goes on. Circus Money is more polished than 11TOW, and in my opinion closer in feeling to a Steely Dan recording, but with more of the risk taking and wittiness that is Walter Becker's trademark. From the hilarious Selfish Gene, to forlorn protagonist in Downtown Canon one hears a musical description of the places and circumstances only to be found in a cast of characters from a great literary piece. These little auditory vignettes leave me wanting more and this recording clearly demonstrates that Walter Becker is not done yet with the fine expression of his craft. I hope Mr. Becker is planning on another recording in the near future, as I don't think I can wait another 14 years for the next one as we are all getting too old too fast.
My only disappointment about this record comes from the fact that after following the progress of its eventual release on Walter Becker's website for a number of years, I am still sitting here with all this equipment that he asked me to procure for the journey, and I am flummoxed about what to do with the Xacto knife and playing cards, amongst other things. A little help, Walter, would be greatly appreciated, or maybe I just need to get back to Circus Money and listen some more.....