Song of the Day: “Josie”

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This column and song of the day is late because my internet ramblings this morning continued unfinished business from last night: the pursuit of some serious audio equipment.

I must admit that, for a musician, I’m lacking in listening equipment. I don’t have a home stereo, even though I have some serious recording gear. I am not an audiophile. Even so, I appreciate good stuff, and I found myself lurking the darker depths of Audio Asylum message boards seeking advice on turntables and floor speakers at 1:30 a.m.. This morning I’m just glad the Amazon shopping cart remains empty and ebay listings remain unbid.

How big could these speakers be, and do JBLs play nicely with Rega turntables? Or can I use my existing mixer’s preamps in lieu of an entirely new receiver?*

I don’t really care about the answers to these questions. I don’t revel in the nuances, the tweaking perfection. I already had my vinyl revival in high school, and I don’t believe their fidelity makes any difference to my evidently-warped hammer, anvil and stirrup. An mp3 with a decently high bit rate is fine, though Neil Young disagrees.

I don’t covet Allston Authenticity through vinyl: I’ve spent quality time with pressed rubber when Napster when was in its heyday. I’m not a collector of the rare or mint. Nor do I covet mp3s anymore†, and I didn’t even blink when a Chrome extension called Downloadify, allowing you to download and save Spotify songs, was available for about five minutes before being pulled by Google.

I think the fuel for this is the desire to achieve, in some small way, a single-stream mind. My walks down Beantown’s streets are similar to yours: with white earbuds cranked I compulsively check whatever visual distraction on my smartphone, mixed with confirmations from Google Maps that I’m going the right way in a city whose streets I already know by heart.

Enough, and on with today’s song. You can take or leave Steely Dan. I’ll take them, thank you, but you won’t read here any of the oft-written descriptions that their “sardonic” lyrics gird their “jazz-rock fusion sensibili”– ugh, let’s just stop now?

“Josie” is the name of the game today because 1) The album Aja is praised up and down for its production values that remain unblemished even 35 years down the line. You can use it to calibrate your sweet home audio rig. 2) It’s got a funky as hell bassline by Chuck Rainey.

You Spotify peeps can listen too. See if this audio neophyte notices.

*If you have perspective on this, please share. I think I can. I think I can. (I wonder if the Little Engine That Could had a good stereo in the engineer’s cabin?)

† Unless they’re incredibly specific Led Zeppelin or Grateful Dead live bootlegs or Bob Dylan studio outtakes. For the former, at least GD, I have archive.org.