Song of the Week – Sail the Waterway, Denny Doherty

Ignored            Obscured             Restored

I have already posted about songs written by the pre-Steely Dan songwriting team of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen that were recorded by other artists.  The first was “American Lovers” by Thomas Jefferson Kaye (April 18, 2020) and another was “I Mean to Shine” by Linda Hoover (March 11, 2023).  Another, today’s SotW, is “Sail the Waterway” by Denny Doherty.

After the Mamas and the Papas broke up, Doherty went on to record a couple of solo albums.  The first was 1971’s Watcha Gonna Do?  The album had a country rock feel and contained several Doherty originals alongside Hank Williams’ “Hey Good Lookin’” and a Beatles’ medley of “Here Comes the Sun/Two of Us.”

After that album was completed and released Doherty entered the studio again in 1972.  This time he recorded four songs.  None had been heard until they were released on an album called Of All the Things: The Complete ABC/Dunhill Masters, in 2017.

Of note is that two of the aforementioned four 1972 songs were written by the pre-Steely Dan Becker/Fagen team — “Sail the Waterway” and “Giles of the River”.  Further, Becker and Fagen played on the tracks, and they were produced by Gary Katz, a name very familiar to Steely Dan fans.

Later, in November 1972, Steely Dan released their own debut.  But a well-kept secret is that they released a single ahead of the album on June 16, 1972.  The A-side was “Dallas”, and the B-side was “Sail the Waterway”!

Enjoy… until next week.