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The Steely Dan Dictionary: S

Listing 9 entries:

Here come those Santa Ana winds again
Song: Babylon Sisters   Album: Gaucho

The seasonal Santa Ana winds are hot, dry and strong easterly gusts which blow across Southern California between September and February.

"Santa Ana" is Spanish for "Saint Anne" and refers to the Santa Ana Canyon near Anaheim, where the winds were thought to originate (however, in reality they come from near the Rocky Mountains).

A boon to surfers but a nemesis to firefighters and homeowners, the hot winds are said to fuel aggression and can even foretell a coming earthquake — the so-called "shake and bake" syndrome.

Link: The Santa Anas: California's infamous winds

Savoy sides presents a new saxophone sensation / It's Parker's band with a smooth style of syncopation
Song: Parker's Band   Album: Pretzel Logic

Savoy was a New-York based record label which was home to Charlie Parker between November 1945 and September 1948.

Parker's time at Savoy is regarded as the peak of his creative powers — though it also included his nervous breakdown and time at Camarillo.

In case you're wondering, "sides" is simply a jazz slang term for "records".

Link: Savoy Jazz official website

Sweet things from Boston / So young and willing / Moved down to Scarsdale
Song: Hey Nineteen   Album: Gaucho

A town located 25 miles north of New York City, population 18,000.

Scarsdale is considered to be among the most upscale towns in Westchester County, which in turn is the most upscale of the areas surrounding NYC.

The town is probably most notable for being the hometown of Linda McCartney and the former residence of Yoko Ono, not to mention lending its name to 1970s food fad "The Scarsdale Diet".

Link: Scarsdale Village Government

Maybe it's the skeevy look in your eyes / Or that your mind has turned to applesauce
Song: Cousin Dupree   Album: Two Against Nature

A slang term meaning "shady or unsavoury".

Depending on who you ask, the word either comes from the Italian word schifoso, meaning "disgusting, revolting", or the Japanese sukebei, meaning "a lewd or lecherous person".

Link: The meaning of "skeevy"

Have you ever seen a squonk's tears? / Well look at mine
Song: Any Major Dude Will Tell You   Album: Pretzel Logic

A mythical woodland creature, originating in Pennsylvania.

First mentioned in the 1910 book Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods by William T. Cox, squonks are described as being very ugly creatures who spend much of their time crying due to their appearance. When captured, they are able to dissolve completely into a puddle of tears.

A mere 2 years after the release of Pretzel Logic, Genesis dedicated an entire song to the squonk (appropriately called "Squonk") on their 1976 album A Trick of The Tail.

Link: Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods

They got the shapely bodies / They got the Steely Dan T-shirts
Song: Show Biz Kids   Album: Countdown to Ecstasy

A type of (fictional) Japanese dildo, mentioned in William Burroughs' infamous 1959 book Naked Lunch.

See the following excerpt:
Mary is strapping on a rubber penis. "Steely Dan III from Yokohama," she says, caressing the shaft. Milk spurts across the room. "Be sure that milk is pasteurized. Don't go giving me some kinda awful cow disease like anthrax or glanders or aftosa...."

Link: Buy Naked Lunch from Amazon.com

I was grinding through my day gig / Stackin' cutouts at the Strand
Song: What A Shame About Me   Album: Two Against Nature

The Strand Bookstore in New York, located on the corner of 12th Street and Broadway.

Founded in 1927 and specialising in remaindered and bargain books, the Strand is reputedly the largest second-hand bookshop in the United States, with 18 miles of shelves.

Link: Strand Bookstore official website

Drive west on Sunset / To the sea
Song: Babylon Sisters   Album: Gaucho

Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles — a 20-mile long street which runs from Central LA to the ocean, via Hollywood.

Nicknamed "The Boulevard of Dreams", it was originally made famous worldwide by the classic 1950 Billy Wilder movie Sunset Boulevard. In more recent years, it also gained infamy as the site of Hugh Grant's 1995 liaison with hooker Divine Brown.

Link: Famous Hollywood Streets: Sunset Boulevard

He's all the talk in shops and schoolyards / Sutton Place / The automat
Song: Morph the Cat   Album: Morph The Cat

A neighbourhood in New York City, located in midtown Manhattan, alongside the East River.

Sutton Place is a small and elegant neighbourhood, considered to have some of the finest architecture in New York. Also notable for containing the United Nations Secretary-General's official residence.