Bass Great Chuck Rainey, the Soul of Steely Dan, Is Recovering in Bedford Following a Stroke

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ChuckRainey.jpeg
An old friend who knows of my lifelong love affair with Steely Dan sends this note I somehow managed to miss: Chuck Rainey, the band's more-or-less bassist from Pretzel Logic in '74 to Gaucho six years later, suffered a stroke Friday night. Susan Rainey, the second Mrs., writes on the official website that he's since been released from ICU, is "doing very well" and that "doctors expect him to make a FULL recovery." Till then, she writes: "We ask that you continue to keep Chuck and our family in your Thoughts and Prayers and that you continue to Visualize him 100% Recovered!" Absolutely.

Rainey, now 71, was born in Cleveland but became a local in '82, moving to Bedford 'round the time he ditched out of Ricki Lee Jones's band and met Susan. But ever after, local gigs for Rainey were hard to come by -- this, despite the fact his is perhaps the most wide-ranging, chart-topping, platinum-making discography of anyone living within earshot of DFW.

A small but by no means representative sampling of albums on which he appears: Aretha Franklin's Young, Gifted & Black, Marvin Gaye's unheralded masterpiece I Want You, Rickie Lee Jones's Pirates, Jackson Browne's The Pretender, Donald Fagen's The Nightfly, Bette Midler's '73 eponymous release, Tim Buckley's Greetings from L.A. and several each by Quincy Jones, King Curtis, Mose Allison and, of course, Steely Dan. In the video that follows, Fagen and Walker Becker discuss the making of Aja -- and why Chuck disobeyed orders when it came time to play "Peg."

In '96, Josh Alan Friedman wrote an epic Rainey profile for the Observer, asking: How can a man who's played with 'em all not get a gig 'round town? It's worth repeating today; Rainey's calendar shows concerts and workshops from Boulder to Tokyo throughout 2011, but just one gig locally -- at the Center of Spiritual Living on Spring Valley in February. Said Rainey then: "I'm a player, so I want to play."

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11 comments
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Kipkithcart
Kipkithcart

Chuck is not only the essence of pure bass perfection his is a very kind, humble and beautiful soul! I was bless to have shared the stage with him for two years and I consider that time one of the highlights of my life both musically and personally. Bless you chuck ur the best! hope to see you soon! Kip tsax Kithcart

ChizukoY
ChizukoY

We are so glad to get the latest news about Chuck.I'm a pianist & played with Chuck in June in Japan.We'll keep praying for him!

cp
cp

Wow, Robert, I didn't realize you had a lifelong love affair with Steely Dan too! I knew I liked you for some strange reason!

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

I told someone today: Whenever I can't find anything to listen to among the 5,782 songs on my iPod, I always go to the Dan as a default. Also: the only band no one ever tried to copy, because it's impossible. No one before or after ever sounded like Steely Dan.

gabbahey
gabbahey

Robert, thanks for sharing! This is amazing, I've never seen this footage, and am a fellow SD fanatic...

Here's to Chuck's getting well soon!

Paul
Paul

Ricky, don't lose that number ....

Another great one is leaving us who had a bigger impact on this earth than most people ...

B. Richardson
B. Richardson

That little bit of video always cracks me up.  Perfect encapsulation of a great personality...everybody please keep Chuck in your thoughts.  He is one of the sweetest people you'd ever hope to meet, and we all want him to be grooving hard for years to come.

Augie
Augie

Awesome video!  Thanks for the post.  Love seeing great musicians doing their thing, and in this case, on of their finest works.  Good luck and God bless Chuck in his recovery.  

Pat Boyack
Pat Boyack

Many times people think a guy like Chuck will not do local gigs because of his stature in the international music community. The Blues scene used him a lot for awhile and then I think he moved away. Didn't know he had come back into town. 

......and Chuck will do studio gigs and not charge what he gets from either coast as long as the person making the recording is doing it out of pocket. If a studio is flipping the bill expect to pay triple scale. 

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