Bottom line, though, is that Royal Scam is a very cool record. Ive always liked this one, if only for the marimba and enticing beat. The opening vamp, by the way, rips off Keith Jarretts Long as You Know Youre Living Yours, and he eventually got compensated for it. Doesn't mean they should be maligned just because they're from the past. Boston Rag: Slow verses and a broad chorus conjure an ominous reminiscence involving one Lonnies narcotic misadventure. As a former producer, I would get to a point where I had heard a mix so many ways that it all started to run together to me, and I had a hard time finding the 'best' mix. Can I trawl through, say, Aretha Franklinâs catalog and find more to like versus Prince or Neil Young? 11 votes, 36 comments. Notice the jazz cap-tips: theres the vamp from Horace Silvers Song for My Father underpinning Rikki, the dizzy weekend ethos of Parkers Band, another bebop reference in Monkey, and I almost forgot to mention the spot-on cover of Dukes East St. Louis Toodle-oo. Its amazing what a little touring will do, along with more adventurous writing. I heard it means something naughty involving a woman's body part, but I hope not. (Plus a few guests, of course.) Im most impressed with the harmonic modulations and how the emotions shift accordingly, as when Fagen sings the Aja refrain. For you younger people, Steely Dan was a rock band from the 1970's. Bodhisattva: This rocking overture was obviously geared for the stage and should be heard in that spirit. The sci-fi criminal fantasy Sign in Stranger moves to a skanky beat and soulful piano, and The Fez, love it or hate it, dives deep into the disco pocket, replete with synth strings and countless chord changes. On the positive side, the title track creates an insinuating blues mood, while the lovely hooks of Any Major Dude sink easily. Glamour Profession looks at an omnipresent drug dealer, set to an insistent disco beat and swimming in a pool of heady voicings. A song like Pixeleen exemplifies the Dan at their best; this funny ode to a digital heroine is rendered with all the sophistication of an oldie like Glamour Profession and has an extra hook in Carolyn Leonharts support vocal. Steely Dan was not a jazz group in practice, but they sure had the language down. The songs themselves are great. “The Good Songs,” Becker decided. Anyway, EMG is half brilliant, half acceptable, and at the very least, it provides some witty music you wont find anywhere else. Steely Dan even went so far as to prompt their brilliant Grammy Award-winning Chief Engineer Roger Nichols to create a machine called to provide some of the drum and percussion sounds on the song "Hey Nineteen" from the Gaucho album (and a few years later on Donald Fagen's 1982 masterwork, The Nightfly). Your Gold Teeth: See how they roll. If youre looking for a one-shot summation of Steely Dans brilliance, go to the title track Aja. There's a reason why "remastered" is part of the title of Then and Now: The Best of Steely Dan Remastered. I really like Steely Dan. Any World That Im Welcome To: This ones valuable for a lack of irony, a poignant musing on personal displacement. Perhaps the ensuing years of wrangling top players left the duo with a DIY sensibility, and theres no denying the rightness of Beckers basslines or Fagens keyboards. The recording aims for crystal clarity, although there were apparently problems with the original mastering (or noise reduction) equipment, leaving the album with a slightly thin sound and a crash cymbal that sounds like a sneeze. These guys are almost as fun to read as they are to listen to. Without a significant lyric, it falls into the good filler role. The next three albums are all track for track pretty much as perfect as they get. Throw Back the Little Ones Its basically an instrumental that happens to have a vocal part. Countdown to Ecstasy This comeback effort picks up exactly where Gaucho left off slick rhythm tracks, electric piano, diddly-do guitar, horns, and smarty lyrics. The Steely Dan back catalog was remastered in the late 1990s, and the reissues contain amusing liner note reflections from Donald and Walter. Any Steely Dan fans out there? It’s fine to obsess over that point the way Becker and Fagen did when it came to getting the exact perfect sound. Under the cover of a catchy chorus and/or polite groove, they sometimes slide into subversive subject matter, if only for comedic or ironic purpose. This is the most adult sounding Dan album to date, a difficult description to explain as they already sounded wise from the start. I have been a big fan of Steely Dan for quite some time. The music underscores the scenes with resigned verses, a wacked-out bridge, and jazzy interludes, the second of which features a wonderful Dias solo though the fadeout. (Neither of them play on Negative Girl, not the first time thats happened.) The lyric is impenetrable unless one knows the old film of a similar name. The verse music conjures an appropriate feeling of uncertainty, while the chorus brings in heavenly female backing singers to hint at possible success (See the glory of...) only to have Fagen yank the rug out (...the royal scam). Listening to pretty much any Steely Dan song can best be described as swaddling into a virtuosic sonic cocoon, welcoming a dozen-plus instrumentalists to â¦ The three best tracks appear at the beginning, middle, and end of the program. Again, I dont know if these are all classic texts, but the performances win out. And why not Becker and Fagen were far from creatively exhausted, although this album has some lame entries. Steely Dan was known as more of a studio band than a live group, but in the current music business, money is made by touring, so Steely Dan hit the road. Through the fadeout, Steve Gadds drum solo releases all of the songs suggested feelings. I should say that Im not as entranced by the introspective mini-epic Deacon Blues as everyone else seems to be, but Im amazed by how well crafted it is, what with the umpteen modulations and finely calibrated arrangement. In My Rival, a sneaky groove, humid organ textures, and cool horn riffs underline a faux-sinister lyric. The dusty, acoustic With a Gun is SDs best country excursion, done partly tongue in cheek. Everything Must Go Watching video of Steely Dan in the studio and reading stories of their recording obsession is simply mindblowing. And then theres the global cat n mouse story Godwhacker, the backing track of which is similar to Genesis Just a Job To Do, another hitman portrait. u/itsahhmemario. They may be "dated" but so is Muddy Waters or Bach, for that matter. Well, well, it wasnt just a smash and grab, they actually kept going. The funk is funkier, the twang twangier, the seeds seedier, etcetera, in these tales of regret, school days, show biz, love, and doomsday survival. So the distinction that this 1993 collection is … (Cant offer a lyrical interpretation, though.) The romping ode to bebop Parkers Band references Fifty-Second Street and throws in a Bird-like quote at the end. The devils advocate might observe that the Dans last album (until their turn of the century reunion) is calculated to a fault, since studio indulgence will drain the life from music if gone unchecked, and I used to feel that way about most of Gaucho. Steely Dan is outstanding on vinyl and CD, but in concert it's not the same sound. They are the total package: I love the music and Reedâs whole journalism major-turned-poet laureate of downtown Manhattan thing, which helped him write some of the best lyrics in the American rock songbook. Maybe it started with my friendâs dad and his gold 1986 Porsche 930 that he got to keep in the divorce (a very Steely Dan-esque sort of thing) that always smelled like weed and Polo cologne. Fagens voice is thinner these days, and on the high notes he almost recedes into the background. If you say you like music but you donât like the Velvet Underground, well, then I question everything about you. Steely Dan’s key oldies get played on most of the available radio formats. By this point, Steely Dan is very good at creating self-contained musical narratives while leaving some mystery for the listener to ponder, and on that point, Doctor Wu has inspired more interpretations than almost any other SD lyric. To me around the age of 9 or 10, the guy was cool as hell. 1973, There aint nothing in Chicago for a monkey woman to do. I love almost â¦ Watching video of Steely Dan in the studio and reading stories of their recording obsession is simply mindblowing. Steely Dan refers to "Steely Dan III from Yokohama," a strap-on dildo from the novel The Naked Lunch by William Burroughs. Daddy Dont Live in That New York City No More: The bluesy vamp of this skankazoid tune is not unlike what any decent bar band could dial up, although it takes some subtle turns. 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