Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs: The Dukes of September

Donald Fagen Live: “Kid Charlemagne”

Steely Dan combined rock, jazz and funk in “Kid Charlemagne,” a single off the band’s 1976 album, The Royal Scam. Written by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, the song alludes to figures in the drug culture of 1960s San Francisco. Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald accompany Donald Fagen in a live performance of “Kid Charlemagne” during a Dukes of September concert.

Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs: The Dukes of September is a concert taped live at New York City’s Lincoln Center and airing in March 2014 on Great Performances (check local listings). (In New York, THIRTEEN will air the concert Thursday, March 13, at 9:30 p.m.)

Kid Charlemagne

Lyrics co-written by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker for Steely Dan.

While the music played you worked by candlelight
Those San Francisco nights
You were the best in town
Just by chance you crossed the diamond with the pearl
You turned it on the world
That’s when you turned the world around
Did you feel like Jesus
Did you realize
That you were a champion in their eyes
On the hill the stuff was laced with kerosene
But yours was kitchen clean
Everyone stopped to stare at your technicolor motor home
Every A-Frame had your number on the wall
You must have had it all
You’d go to L.A. on a dare
And you’d go it alone
Could you live forever
Could you see the day
Could you feel your whole world fall apart and fade away

Chorus:

Get along, get along Kid Charlemagne
Get along Kid Charlemagne
Now your patrons have all left you in the red
Your low rent friends are dead
This life can be very strange
All those dayglow freaks who used to paint the face
They’ve joined the human race
Some things will never change
Son you were mistaken
You are obsolete
Look at all the white men on the street

Chorus

Clean this mess up else we’ll all end up in jail
Those test tubes and the scale
Just get them all out of here
Is there gas in the car
Yes, there’s gas in the car
I think the people down the hall
Know who you are
Careful what you carry
‘Cause the man is wise
You are still an outlaw in their eyes

Chorus