“Deacon Blues” is a song written by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen in 1976 and recorded by their group Steely Dan on their 1977 album Aja. It peaked at number 19 on the Billboard charts and number 17 on the U.S. Cash Box Top 100 in June 1978. It also reached #40 on the Easy Listening chart. In Canada, it peaked at #14, a position it occupied for two weeks, and #20 Adult Contemporary. – WIKI
Steely Dan – Deacon Blues Live with the lovely Caroline Leonhart
Meaning of “Haitian Divorce” by Steely Dan
BY SMF · PUBLISHED APRIL 9, 2018 · UPDATED SEPTEMBER 10, 2020
“Haitian Divorce” is a song performed by the American rock band Steely Dan. The lyrics of the song tell the story of a married woman who travels all by herself to Haiti in order to get a quick divorce from her husband. While in Haiti, she has a very brief romantic affair with a Haitian man and somehow ends up being unable to get the divorce that took her to the Caribbean country in the first place. She returns home to America only to find out that she’s pregnant. Nine months later she gives birth to a half Haitian baby.
“The lyrics of “Haitian Divorce” are inspired by how 1970s Haiti used to be a hot spot for Americans looking for a quick and easy divorce. In the early 1970s, the Haitian government made it ridiculously easy for foreigners (especially Americans) to come into their country and get divorced from their spouses. The laws in Haiti made the divorce process so easy for foreign nationals by getting rid of a number of red tapes, including lengthy waiting periods and residency requirements. In addition to that, both partners were not required to be present at the hearing on their divorce. All in all, a foreigner could enter into Haiti and obtain a divorce in just a matter of hours!”
“It’s noteworthy that in addition to giving foreign nationals the opportunity of obtaining a quick and painless divorce, Haiti also gave couples the option of a very quick marriage devoid of so many red tapes. So generally speaking, a married foreigner could just travel to Haiti with his/her wife/husband-to-be, get a divorce and get married to his/her new flame within a matter of days.”
You can go to Vegas for a quickie marriage, but what if you want a quickie divorce? In the early ’70s, Haiti made it easy, allowing foreigners to divorce with hardly any restriction; the big sell was that only one member of the married party had to be present and request it.
For Haiti, this was a tourism ploy, as travel agents would send Americans looking for a quick and easy divorce to the island, where they would often spend some time on a resort. In many cases, these divorces were requested so that the person could immediately get remarried – a service Haiti also provided. So it was not uncommon for a married man to show up in Haiti with his mistress, get a divorce, and marry the new girl all in the course of a weekend.
Who played guitar on Haitian Divorce?
Steely Dan used a talkbox on this track, which is the same processor Black Sabbath used on “Iron Man” to create the robotic sounds. In “Haitian Divorce,” hired hand Dean Parks played the guitar, Walter Becker processed it though[sic] a talkbox to his specifications.
CAROLYN LEONHART seems to be the only credited backup singer on this YouTube version of the song “Cousin Dupree.” That’s OK with me since I was writing this post about her specifically. I did several searches on the other B.U. singers on this song without results. I know they’re there, I see at least four ladies in the video.
This woman seems to be the embodiment of THE MUSIC. She seems to have captured the essence of what it is to be an essential part of that music. I can’t seem to be able articulate exactly what it is, so just watch. She usually stands in the middle. NO WAIT… there is nothing cooler than a Steely Dan back-up singer; that’s it, an ideal American girl…
OOH AH – OOH EE
From the pages of WIKI:
“Cousin Dupree.” is the first single from Steely Dan’s 2000 album Two Against Nature. The song describes the desire a young man (Dupree) has for his attractive cousin. In 2001 the song won a Grammy Award for best pop performance by a duo or group with vocal.”
By the way, a musician I was in a studio with in the early 1970s played on this album. That would be the Hit-Maker, First-Call Sideman (for over forty-years,) Dean Parks
The Dan has reached Audio Nirvana, if you will, several times over the years. One amazing moment happens, courtesy of Dean Parks, on the Royal Scam track \”Haitian Divorce\” which features a Talkbox to produce a chicken clucking sound. Dean Parks plays through that talk-box. NIRVANA! On this recording the magic happens around 03:51 with Fagen and “the girls” trading vocal licks with the way-tasty: OOH AH – OOH EE! HOW ABOUT A KISS FOR YOUR COUSIN DUPREE!
Carolyn Leonhart was born in New York City on 10 July 1971, daughter of bassist and composer Jay Leonhart and vocalist Donna Leonhart. She was exposed to music from a very early age, attending her father’s gigs where she saw him accompany famous singers such as Sarah Vaughan, Mel Tormé and Peggy Lee. Leonhart sang on television commercials as a young child. She attended The High School of Music & Art in New York City, and for four years sang in the school’s Gospel Choir. While at school, she performed in the TV show “It’s Showtime At The Apollo”. At home she would spend hours singing while her father and brother played jazz standards. She won the Lena Horne High School Jazz Vocalist competition while in her senior year.
Leonhart attended the University of Rochester, obtaining a degree in Comparative Religion. While at university she remained deeply involved in music, singing with bands at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester. She recorded two solos with the Toshiba EMI label, and in her senior year was named Best College Jazz Vocalist by Downbeat Magazine.
Leonhart returned to New York and in 1994 began singing in jazz clubs. That year she competed in the Thelonious Monk International Vocal Jazz Competition, coming third. A critic said her choice of the songs “Nobody Else but Me” and “Day Dream” was daring, but she needed greater control and more focused delivery. In the following years Leonhart performed with a variety of musicians including The Real Live Show, a hip-hop group, and Wax Poetic. The Wax Poetic project combines electronica, trip hop, funk, and jazz. In 1998 she recorded an album with the Swiss Percussion Ensemble, a group of four classical percussionists whose instruments were mainly made of glass. In 2000, Leonhart released the album Steal The Moon, a collaborative project with pianist and composer Rob Bargad. Since then she began performing regularly with her own group at the Smoke Jazz Club in New York City, at Steamers and The Vic in California, and at other clubs on the east coast read more…
In my mind way up on top of that pedestal those irresistible, slinky, rock & roll back-up singers never seem to get the credit they deserve.
“Did I mention that Steely Dan is a favorite? Or that I have a thing for red leather? And that I always seem to focus on the female backup singers as much as the star of the show when attending a concert ? I’m working on that with my shrink” Well, check out the middle backup singer in the Kid Charlemagne video below. Red leather pants and a rock babe attitude. Oh my. You get to enjoy a great song, too. [Sorry I don’t have the other gals names in this song.]
She is the great back-up, girl singer/singer Caroline Leonheart-Escoffery with features as fine as wisps of smoke, who moves like gentle ocean waves, and who blooms like a flower at Steely Dan’s live shows and elsewhere. A singer in her own right, she has soothed us with so many righteous STEELY DAN SONGS.
Here she is taking the lead on the soulful DIRTY WORK singing with the other Embassy Brats: Cindy Mizelle, and Catherine Russell.