Kid Charlemagne

As I work in my office, I’m playing tunes or podacasts.

As I was typing my screed on my dog’s spoiled guts I was listening to classic Steely Dan

I tried like hell to find a good live version, as I’m sucker for such things, but there was none to be had with the incomparable Walter Becker. The few I found, every one was old, the guitarists relative no names that couldn’t do it justice.

Sorry. Some things, Some people. Well, you just can’t climb into their sneaker and do it justice.

But it’s a great song.

And I had a hell of a time getting lyrics. To Wit:

Now your patrons have all left you in the red
Your low rent friends are dead
This life can be very strange
All those Day-Glo freaks who used to paint the face
They’ve joined the human race
Some things will never change

Kid Charlemagne.

It ain’t “Day Glo”, it’s DAGO. Sorry, I listened to it over and over. Day Glo wasn’t a thing when this song was written.

Son, you were mistaken
You are obsolete
Look at all the white men on the street

Kid Charlemagne

Ain’t no way that gets said today. None.

Clean this mess up else we’ll all end up in jail
Those test tubes and the scale
Just get it all out of here
Is there gas in the car
Yes, there’s gas in the car
I think the people down the hall
Know who you are
Careful what you carry
‘Cause the man is wise
You are still an outlaw in their eyes

It’s not the “people down the hall know who you are” it’s “People down the hall are going to call…”

as in “Drop Dime”.

Context. Context is key.

Could they even conceive of such lyrics today? If they could, could they articulate them?

And if they got it together, could they wind it into music? Rock music with those Jazz overtones?



They lack the skill, imagination, and dedication. I have heard few musicians born after 1970 with anywhere near that kind of craftsmanship.

Here’s another “Could they even, would they even write this today?”

Johnny’s playroom
Is a bunker filled with sand
He’s become a third world man
Smoky Sunday
He’s been mobilized since dawn
Now he’s crouching on the lawn
He’s a third world man

Soon you’ll throw down your disguise
We’ll see behind those bright eyes
By and by
When the sidewalks are safe
For the little guy
[Verse 2]
I saw the fireworks
I believed that I was dreaming
Till the neighbors came out screaming
He’s a third world man

[Guitar solo]

Soon you’ll throw down your disguise
We’ll see behind those bright eyes
By and by
When the sidewalks are safe
For the little guy

When he’s crying out
I just sing that Ghana Rondo
E l’era del terzo mondo
He’s a third world man

BTW as a guitar player, the solo where I noted it above is one of the best in history, a true wind it up and play it over and over like a mental patient solo. Check it out.