The Steely Dan Dictionary: M

Listing 10 entries:

They all masissi but we hang tough / Apsatively gonna help you beat that stuff
Song: Two Against Nature   Album: Two Against Nature

Sometimes spelled "masisi", this is a slang (and deliberately offensive) word for homosexuals in Haitian Creole.

It takes a crusty punk to really beat / The mean streets of Medicine Park
Song: Blues Beach   Album: Everything Must Go

Holiday resort town in Oklahoma.

Built in 1908, Medicine Park was Oklahoma's first purpose-built tourist resort, and is named after nearby Medicine Creek, a body of water believed by the Kiowa and Comanche Indians to have healing powers.

Link: Official Medicine Park website

The band was hot so / They danced the famous Merengue
Song: Haitian Divorce   Album: The Royal Scam

A style of Caribbean music and dance, originating in Haiti and the Dominican Republic in the mid-19th century and considered a national symbol of both countries.

Steely Dan lyric sheets over the years have consistently spelled it "merengue", though that's the spelling used in the Dominican Republic — the Haitian version is spelled "méringue" instead. (Amusingly, neither of them match with Donald Fagen's pronunciation of "mereng-oh" in the song!)

There are differences between the two, primarily tempo: the Dominican merengue is slower and more melodic, while the Haitian méringue is more suited to fast-paced dancing. Both names derive from the French dessert meringue, possibly referring to the light and delicate steps involved in the dance.

Link: YouTube: Five Minute Dance Lesson: Merengue, Level 1

And when Abu rams the clip in the mini-Glock / Up on the catwalk inside the warehouse
Song: Pixeleen   Album: Everything Must Go

Smaller-size version of the popular Glock handgun.

Austrian company Glock (named after founder Gaston Glock) started making pistols in 1982 with great success and introduced the mini-Glock in 1988.

Glock handguns are mostly made from polymers rather than metal, and have no external safety catches (all safety mechanisms are controlled automatically by the trigger) making them fast and simple to use and a popular choice for self-defence and law enforcement.

Link: Mastering the Mini-Glock DVD

Have you heard about the boom on Mizar Five / People got to shout to stay alive
Song: Sign In Stranger   Album: The Royal Scam

A star in the constellation Ursa Major (better known as the "Big Dipper"), approximately 88 light years from Earth.

In fact, Mizar is not just a single star, but a quadruple star — consisting of two binary stars orbiting each other.

Link: The history of Mizar

When you need big lovin' / She never stops / Yes it's Monkey Time / Twenty-four-seven
Song: Planet D'Rhonda   Album: Sunken Condos

Reference to "The Monkey Time", a 1963 hit single by US R&B singer Major Lance.

The single reached #2 on the US R&B chart and #8 on the Hot 100. It was written by Curtis Mayfield — better known as a singer in his own right (most famously on the Superfly soundtrack in 1972).

Link: YouTube: Major Lance performing The Monkey Time

Jack with his radar / Stalking the dread moray eel
Song: Glamour Profession   Album: Gaucho

Common name for any of 80 species of eels, of the family Muraenidae.

Morays are common in shallow tropical waters, and feared for their razor-sharp teeth and powerful jaws which can cause serious injuries, though they rarely attack humans.

Link: Ouch! The Alien Bite of the Moray Eel

Meet me at midnight / At Mr. Chow's / Szechuan dumplings / After the deal has been done
Song: Glamour Profession   Album: Gaucho

Upscale Chinese restaurant in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, popular with Hollywood stars and other celebrities.

Takes its name from owner Michael Chow, who also runs Mr. Chow restaurants in New York and London.

Link: Seeing Stars: Where the Stars Dine

You got to come on man / And take a piece of Mr. Parker's band
Song: Parker's Band   Album: Pretzel Logic

Legendary jazz musician Charlie "Yardbird" Parker (1920-1955).

Born in Kansas City, Parker pioneered the bebop style of jazz, characterised by its fast tempo and high level of complexity. As a result, he is generally regarded as the most influential jazz saxophonist of all time.

Parker died at age 34 after long struggles with alcohol and heroin abuse. His tumultuous life was depicted in the 1988 film Bird, starring Forest Whitaker and directed by Clint Eastwood.

Link: 6 Jazzy Facts About Charlie Parker

When Black Friday comes / I'll fly down to Muswellbrook
Song: Black Friday   Album: Katy Lied

A town in New South Wales, Australia.

Muswellbrook is approximately 280 kilometres north-west of Sydney and has a population of 15,000.

You may be interested to know that Donald Fagen mispronounces the town's name in the song — locals don't pronounce the W, so it should sound more like "Musselbrook".

Link: Muswellbrook Shire Council