East St. Louis Toodle-oo - Steely Dan - A Decade Of Steely Dan (CD)

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Becker and Fagen began playing in local groups. They looked like ghosts — black turtlenecks and skin so white that it looked like yogurt. Absolutely no activity, chain-smoking Lucky Strikes and dope. After Fagen graduated inthe two moved to East St.

Louis Toodle-oo - Steely Dan - A Decade Of Steely Dan (CD) and tried to peddle their tunes in the Brill Building in midtown Manhattan. Becker later said bluntly, "We did it for the East St. Louis Toodle-oo - Steely Dan - A Decade Of Steely Dan (CD). Although some of these songs "Caves of Altamira", "Brooklyn", "Barrytown" were re-recorded for Steely Dan albums, most were never officially released. Becker and Fagen joined the touring band of Jay and the Americans for about a year and a half. He hired Becker and Fagen as staff songwriters; they flew to California.

Katz would produce all their s albums in collaboration with engineer Roger Nicholsand Nichols would win six Grammy Awards for his work with the band from the s to Burroughs novel Naked Lunch. Distribution of "stock" copies available to the general public was apparently extremely limited; [23] the single sold so poorly that promotional copies are much more readily available than stock copies in today's collectors market.

As of"Dallas" and "Sail the Waterway" are the only officially released Steely Dan tracks that have not been reissued on cassette or compact disc. In an interviewBecker and Fagen called the songs "stinko. Can't Buy a ThrillSteely Dan's debut album, was released in Along with " Dirty Work " sung by David Palmerthe songs became staples on classic rock radio.

Because of Fagen's reluctance to sing live, Palmer handled most of the vocal duties on stage. During the first tour, however, Katz and Becker decided that they preferred Fagen's interpretations of the band's songs, persuading him to take over. Palmer quietly left East St. Louis Toodle-oo - Steely Dan - A Decade Of Steely Dan (CD) group while it recorded its second album.

He wrote the No. Released inCountdown to Ecstasy was not as commercially successful as Steely Dan's first album. Becker and Fagen were unhappy with some of the performances on the record and believed that it sold poorly because it had been recorded hastily on tour. Guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter left Steely Dan in when they ceased performing live and began working in the studio exclusively.

Pretzel Logic was released in early Louis Toodle-Oo ". Striving for perfection, Becker and Fagen sometimes asked musicians to record as many as forty takes of each track. A rift began growing between Becker-Fagen and Steely Dan's other members particularly Baxter and Hodderwho wanted to tour. Becker and Fagen disliked constant touring and wanted to concentrate solely on writing and recording. The other members gradually left the band, discouraged by this and by their diminishing roles in the studio.

Alive In America. The St. Louis Toodle-Oo CD2. Louis Toodle-Oo CD1. Citizen Steely Dan: CD4. Citizen Steely Dan: CD3. Citizen Steely Dan: CD2. Citizen Steely Dan: CD1. Gold Expanded Edition. A Decade Of Steely Dan. This could allow us, I believe, to place Donald Fagen in the same category as musicians like Frank Zappa, David Bowie, John Lennon, you name them; the game-changers, as some often call them.

Not a single dull or tedious second of this very carefully crafted collection of eight songs, each one being a fascinating entity of its own; Except Fagen and Becker, 'Countdown' also sees the talents of Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter on electric guitars, Denny Dias on guitars, and Jim Hodder on drums and percussion, as well as a cast of other guest musicians appearing on some of the songs.

Needless to mention how good the songs are, each one particularly impressive on its own, with some favorites including 'Bodhisattva', 'The Boston Rag', 'Your Gold Teeth', 'Show Biz Kids', 'King of the World', but really, every single song is so outrageously good, that it becomes absurd. It has to be noted that the lyrics on 'Countdown' are even more compelling than the ones on the debut album; It seems like this time Fagen is more ironic, more self-conscious maybe, and more critical in his observations, which include society, personality, and disappearing values.

An excellent trip inside the heads of two geniuses, 'Countdown to Ecstasy' is the first very grandiose achievement of 'Steely Dan'; Definitely an improvement over 'Can't Buy a Thrill' with the more mature, yet more adventurous sound; a crystal-clear sonic explosion from beginning to end, this record will hardly get anyone tired of listening to it, and I believe it has deservedly been praised from fans and critics alike.

Essential is the word that fits it best. The reason I bring all of this up is because Aja, for all of its accolades, is often considered a turning point in Steely Dan's career. It's seen as the moment the duo finally took the final plunge into their jazz influences to create a full- fledged pop-jazz fusion hybrid, especially when examining songs such as the complex title track and the smooth jazz stylings of 'Home at Last'.

But if you read the contemporary reviews that were released at the time, you'll come across descriptors such as 'over-polished', 'lacking in edge', 'clinical', and so forth I'm looking at you, Robert Christgau.

The fact that Aja was the immediate successor to The Royal Scam probably didn't help either, seeing as the latter was their most guitar-oriented album to date. But I don't think it should be any surprise at all that this record was the eventual outcome of Becker and Fagen's relentless tinkering with studio technology and guest musician rotations.

If anything, it was inevitable. Say what you want about the yacht rock descriptor, but Steely Dan really took that subgenre's elements as far as they could go.

So let's put context aside for a while and zoom in on the music at hand. More than any other record by the group, I would consider Aja their 'character study' album. Each tune focuses on a specific character - some in third person, some in first person - and assigns them their own interesting scenario or mood.

Some of these are left open-ended, such as the person drinking the titular 'black cow' in the song of the same name which is another term for a root beer float or the vague Chinese imagery surrounding the woman described in the title track. Others, however, are quite painfully clear; the most notable of these would be 'Deacon Blues', which focuses on a dreamer whose imagination always surpasses the reality he lives in.

Speaking of the music, it's easily the most impeccably written and performed work of the band's discography up to that point. The years of Becker and Fagen becoming a studio-only act really found their peak here, as the duo had gotten incredibly proficient at knowing exactly what musicians to use for each track. Many familiar faces return East St. Louis Toodle-oo - Steely Dan - A Decade Of Steely Dan (CD) this project, such as the legendary bassist Chuck Rainey, drummer Bernard Purdie check out his purdie shuffle on 'Home at Last' as well as the usual roster of amazing guitarists.

But there are some really surprising additions to the lineup this time around; the most striking of these would probably be Weather Report saxophonist Wayne Shorter's performance on the title track, once again signifying the group continuing their transition into the jazz realm. Steve Gadd also makes his first appearance on a Dan album with the same song, closing out the tune with a drum solo that's now considered legendary.

As with previous records, however, the magic is in how every musician is used. Chuck Rainey, for instance, has a much different style of bass playing to that of Walter Becker's; this leads to an amazing contrast between the approaches of the upbeat and funky 'Peg' and the smooth, slow rhythms of 'Deacon Blues'.

Aja also happens to have the shortest tracklist of any Dan album up to this point and only rivaled by its followup Gauchowhich means the duo didn't have any time to waste on filler tracks that might have been used in previous records to pad out the runtime 'Pearl of the Quarter' and 'With a Gun' immediately come to mind. Seven tracks, all killer no filler. Every song is unique enough to stand out, while also being consistent enough stylistically to not stand out like a sore thumb.

It's worth noting that this isn't the group's jazziest album - either Gaucho and Two Against Nature would take that honor - but that actually works in its favor. Songs like 'Peg' and 'Josie' serve as perfect ways to break up the more dense and progressive sections of the record, not to mention being instantly memorable and impossibly catchy. What makes Aja so amazing lies in the fact that it balances so many different moods, themes, and styles as flawlessly as it does.

When you step back and examine the album as a whole, it's pretty astounding how well Becker and Fagen managed to juggle artistic credibility and commercial appeal. So, getting back to where we started, Aja serves as a perfect example of why Steely Dan shouldn't just be passed off as nothing but 'boomer music'. That pejorative label happens to be the very reason I passed on the band for several years, but this record proves just how incredible the fusion of jazz and rock can be when it's in the right hands.

This is the culmination of all the studio experiments and painstaking perfectionism that Steely Dan worked with, and the high standards they set paid off beautifully. Becker and Fagen accepted nothing less than the best, and with Aja they reaped the incredible rewards that came with such a mindset. The Royal Scam is affectionately referred to by fans as the duo's "guitar album", and for damn good reason. As with previous Steely Dan releases, this one shows yet another facet of their core jazz-rock sound: guitar-driven funk.

Prior records had their funky moments as well, but they were never featured quite as prominently as they were here. More importantly, as is the case with funk rock in general, the chemistry between the guitar and the rhythm section is crucial to the quality of these songs.

Luckily, East St. Louis Toodle-oo - Steely Dan - A Decade Of Steely Dan (CD) lineup of guitarists featured on The Royal Scam is absolutely fantastic. Add Walter Becker himself to the mix and you've got an amazing all-star cast.

But of course, they're all used in the service of these amazing tunes. Despite being more funky in nature, this might also be one of the most diverse tracklists the group ever put out; jazz, pop, funk, hard rock, progressive rock, and a hint of blues can all be found on the album.

In fact, just after the opener, we get a complete change of pace with the horn-driven number "The Caves of Altamira"; the song marries a story about the genesis of creativity and expression with an arrangement that only gets more complex as it goes on.

Meanwhile, "Don't Take Me Alive" might just be one of the most hard-rockin' Steely Dan numbers; Larry Carlton's lead guitar work absolutely tears it up on this fast- paced number, perfectly complimenting the dark lyrics about a criminal who's killed his own father and wants the cops to shoot him.

How pleasant! And the stylistic contrasts continue. But it's not like any of this detracts from the cohesion and focus of the record. If anything, each song is like its own unique extension of the Steely Dan style while still very much being in the Steely Dan style. This is perhaps best represented in some of the album's deeper cuts, most notably "Haitian Divorce" and "The Fez". The former is a song that I never would have expected to enjoy; I'm not much of a reggae fan as it is, so I wasn't really excited about the prospect of a Steely Dan song using rhythms and guitar leads reminiscent of the genre.

And yet, it somehow works! Other themes are also present, such as prejudice, aging, poverty and middle-class ennui, and are typically seen from an ironic and detached perspective.

The moral point-of-view expressed in Steely Dan songs reinforces traditional values, that substance abuse and sexual promiscuity lead to ruin. Many would argue that Steely Dan never wrote a genuine love song, instead dealing with personal passion in the guise of a destructive obsession. For example, upon deeper analysis the listener realizes that the "love" expressed is actually about prostitution "Pearl of the Quarter"incest " Cousin Dupree "pedophilia "Everyone's Gone to the Movies"pornography "Peg" or some other socially unacceptable subject.

Steely Dan's lyrics contain subtle and encoded references, unusual and sometimes original slang expressions, a wide variety of "word games" and intriguing lyrical choices and constructions of considerable depth.

The obscure and sometimes teasing lyrics have given rise to considerable efforts by fans to explain the "inner meaning" of certain songs. Some of their lyrics are notable for their unusual meter patterns; a prime example of this is their hit " Reelin' In the Years ", which crams an unusually large number of words into each line, giving it a highly syncopated quality. In the song "Glamour Profession" the conclusion of a drug deal is celebrated with dumplings at Mr. Chow, a Chinese restaurant in Beverly Hills.

The band even employed self-reference ; in the song "Show Biz Kids," the titular subjects are sardonically portrayed as owning "the Steely Dan T-shirt. Error: no text specified help. Culture Wikia Explore. Wiki Content. Duke Ellington DJ Shadow!!! Explore Wikis Community Central. Register Don't have an account? Steely Dan. History Talk 0. Walter Becker l playing electric guitarDonald Fagen r playing melodica.

The two have been the core members of the band since its founding in He was extraordinary in his willingness and desire to make records sound better. He was just maniacal about making the sound of the records be what we liked He always thought there was a better way to do it, and he would find a way to do what we needed to in ways that other people hadn't done yet.

Great Rock Bible. Retrieved August 3, Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved July 31, Archived from the original on December 4, Retrieved December 22, August 1, Retrieved October 15, Retrieved March 10, Retrieved March 22, Retrieved September 3, Mojo Magazine. October

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