STEELY DAN — Katy Lied

Jazz music community with review and forums

STEELY DAN - Katy Lied cover
3.95 | 17 ratings | 4 reviews
Buy this album from MMA partners

Album · 1975

Filed under RnB


A1 Black Friday 3:33
A2 Bad Sneakers 3:16
A3 Rose Darling 2:59
A4 Daddy Don't Live In That New York City No More 3:12
A5 Doctor Wu 3:59
B1 Everyone's Gone To The Movies 3:41
B2 Your Gold Teeth II 4:12
B3 Chain Lightning 2:57
B4 Any World (That I'm Welcome To) 3:56
B5 Throw Back The Little Ones 3:11

Total Time: 35:29


- Donald Fagen / vocals, piano, keyboards
- Walter Becker / bass, guitar, backing vocals
- Michael Omartian / pianos, keyboards
- David Paich / pianos, keyboards
- Wilton Felder / bass guitars
- Chuck Rainey / bass guitars
- Hugh McCracken / guitar
- Denny Dias / guitar (solo on 'Your Gold Teeth II')
- Rick Derringer / guitar (solo on "Chain Lightning")
- Dean Parks / guitar (solo on "Rose Darling")
- Elliott Randall / guitar (solo on "Throw Back the Little Ones")
- Larry Carlton / guitar on "Daddy Don't Live in That New York City No More"
- Jimmie Haskell / horn & horn arrangement on "Throw Back the Little Ones"
- Bill Perkins / horn on "Throw Back the Little Ones"
- Phil Woods / alto saxophone solo on "Doctor Wu"
- Jeff Porcaro / drums on all songs except "Any World (That I'm Welcome To)"
- Hal Blaine / drums on "Any World (That I'm Welcome To)"
- Michael McDonald / background vocals
- Myrna Matthews, Sherlie Matthews, Carolyn Willis / background vocals on "Everyone's Gone to the Movies"

About this release

ABC Records – ABCD-846 (US)

Recorded at ABC Recording Studios Inc., Los Angeles

Thanks to snobb for the updates


More places to buy metal & STEELY DAN music

  • CDUniverse - Specializing in the sale of domestic and imported music CDs and Imports


Specialists/collaborators reviews

"Katy Lied" is extremely significant in the evolution of Steely Dan. It's the first album to be created after Donald Fagen and Walter Becker jettisoned the traditional band concept in order to become the ongoing two-man research and development department at their very own private recording studio laboratory. No longer limited to relying solely on the talents of other members of a set group, they now had the revolutionary freedom to pick and choose for each individual song the talented session musicians they considered best able to translate their compositional ideas onto tape. Don & Walt were also continuing to meticulously mold and refine their own unique style, one that separated them from every other artistic endeavor on the planet then and now. Whereas most of the pioneers of the Jazz/Rock Fusion movement were jazzmen intent on bringing a hard rock mentality into their realm, Steely Dan was doing the opposite. They were primarily a rock & roll outfit intending to boldly season their tunes with flavor-packed dashes of contemporary jazz, both classic and modern. The result is hybrid music that sounds like no other. Case in point. "Black Friday" begins with a percolating Rhodes piano rising stealthily up from the shadows, soon to be yoked to the young drum whiz Jeff Porcaro as he lays down a solid, driving foundation for them to build this rocker on. The boastful protagonist has, for vengeful reasons known only to him, somehow schemed to cause the company he works for to go belly-up in spectacular fashion. "When Black Friday comes/I'll collect everything I'm owed/and before my friends find out/I'll be on the road." Fagen chortles gleefully. The hot guitar that bulldozes through the number is deliciously brash and dirty and the solo is a scorcher. One of the many charms of this album is their use of no less than seven different axe men (see credits) to achieve their uncompromising goals, so trying to determine who played what and when can be a challenge unto itself. On the surface this fiery cut may seem to be no more than a standard bluesy rock song but when the chorus hits the whole complexion of the track changes. It's a great opener, that's for sure.

The excellent "Bad Sneakers" is next and it has a smooth, jazzy groove to flow in. The faux sitar effect is graciously subdued in the mix and Michael McDonald's unmistakable voice in the harmonies adds a fresh timbre to the surroundings. The tune's point of view comes from a poor individual who is in the frightening process of losing his marbles. ".I'm going insane/and I'm laughing at the frozen rain/and I'm so alone/Honey, when they gonna send me home?" he pleads. The guitar ride is exquisite. On "Rose Darling" Donald's voice is a bit Dylan-like in its delivery of double-entendre words that I interpret to be an ode to self-stimulation. Giving himself a hand he sings "All I ask of you/is make my wildest dreams come true/no one sees and no one knows." So much for subtlety, boys. The inventive chord structure and strong, cascading chorale make it work. "Daddy Don't Live in That New York City No More" is a blend of R&B and 50s rock and roll spread over an easy, infectious rhythm. The street- level lyrics describe a con man that has either gone on the lam or now swims with the fishes. "Driving like a fool out to Hackensack/drinking his dinner from a paper sack/he says I gotta see a joker/and I'll be right back." Or maybe not.

The apex of the album follows and it is pure, hypnotic magic. Starting with enticing hints of the mystical aura that is to resurface years later on the "Aja" album, "Doctor Wu" is simply fantastic in its brilliant blend of expert arranging, use of melody and inspired individual performances. Fagen's vocal has just enough wistful sadness to draw you into the world of a drug addict desperately in love with his narcotic and actually have you feel sorry for the sap. "Don't seem right/I've been strung out here all night/I've been waiting for the taste/you said you'd bring to me," he moans, "Katy lies/you could see it in her eyes/but imagine my surprise/when I saw you." The song is poetry in motion and when saxophone legend Phil Woods leans into his instrument and pours out his passionate notes the whole thing ascends into the clear blue ether. You don't want it to end. Nothing could comfortably follow that masterpiece so the light, Caribbean samba of "Everyone's Gone to the Movies" fits into this spot as well as any could. The dark side of this duo loves perverts and this ditty about a guy who gets his jollies showing skin flicks to unsuspecting youngsters is right up their demented alley. It's a decent casserole of sax, vibraphone and Latin percussion and includes a spicy Rhodes piano break.

For die-hard jazzers the waltzing "Your Gold Teeth II" (the amazing first part is found on the "Countdown to Ecstasy" album) may represent the highlight of the proceedings. Piano, vibes and synthesizer color the cool intro and the tune sports a contagious modern jazz atmosphere that is undeniably intelligent. I have no idea what the song is about but the full chorus of "Throw out your gold teeth/and see how they roll/the answer they reveal/life is unreal" is very effective, the slinky guitar solo is engaging and Porcaro dazzles on the drumkit. The slow, bluesy swagger of "Chain Lightning" makes the listener feel as if he's perched on a barstool in a smoky nightclub, sipping on whiskey and smoking Lucky Strikes. Donald croons "don't bother to understand." and I'll take him at his word. Guest Rick Derringer spits out a defiant, spontaneous guitar ride that completes the scene.

The low point arrives with "Any World (That I'm Welcome To)" in that it is too straightforward pop for my tastes and offers nothing in the way of surprises. For a long time I didn't think much of the album ender, "Throw Back the Little Ones," but that's because I wasn't really paying attention. It has numerous changes of styles and rhythms coming one after another that fascinate and the abstract lyric content ("Lost in the Barrio/I walk like an Injun/so Carlo won't suspect/something's wrong here.") just adds to the Zen of its oddness. The horn section's brief spasm that appears right after the guitar ride is downright Zappa-ish and the bizarre piano run at the end will make you cock your head like the old RCA dog sitting in front of the newfangled gramophone.

I was so glad to get the reissue a while back because my vinyl copy suffered from thin, lifeless sound and the remastering job done for the CD went a long way in correcting that tragic flaw. (The technical gremlin attacks that bedeviled the recording of "Katy Lied" live in infamy. Donald and Walter were so traumatized by the experience that they refuse to discuss it to this day but you can check out Denny Dias's retelling of that unbelievable horror story on the SD website.) Having escaped the rat's maze of the spirit-breaking, record-tour-record-tour routine the labels demanded of their contracted property in those days, Steely Dan was at this point blazing their own trail and playing by their own rules. This album is not your typical combination of jazz and rock. It's not typical at all. In fact, it's more about futuristic songwriting than anything else and that's an area that I've always thought to be underappreciated in the jazz world. Give it a spin.

With a bizzare mention of the recording equipment used on the session on the back cover of Katy Lied, rumour was the two main men of the band were not happy with the finished product. I was and still am today. This may not be the best album from the band but neither is this a poor effort as this album contains the songs "Black Friday", "Daddy Don't Live in That New York City No More","Doctor Wu","Chain Lightning" and "Bad Sneakers". Not a bad list and there are even some more worth a mention but as the backing band had basically fractured with the departure of all the members bar Denny Dias. Donald Fagen and Walter Becker were needing more musicians,. Victor Feldman returns on vibes, Jeff Porcaro who was a session musician on Pretzel Logic gets the main role on drums this time around, Rick Derringer makes an appearance and Phil Woods does a lovely little sax solo,.The list of musicians is almost endless as it was for the previous album Pretzel Logic but even through all these issues the quality remains. Released in 1975 on the ABC record label and "Black Friday" is the tune that leads us in with its gradual build up in volume at the intro and we are off with one great rock tune with Australian flavour all over it and of course is one of my favourites from the record ( Black Friday was a Huge Bush Fire Disaster in 1939 which unfotunately has been long eclipsed by others )." Bad Sneakers" follows on and one great Denny Dias guitar solo is part of the tunes best moment.."Rose Darling" is number three and quite a nice pop/rock combo. "Daddy Don't Live In That New York City" is one great funk tune which is the 4th track but the following song "Doctor Wu" with Phil Woods providing the sax is a high point for the record which unfortunately does not seem to carry on with side two but although there is not a bad one the last two tracks from side 2 do not seem to do it."Chain Lighting" would be the best with your "Gold Teeth II "

A transitional album perhaps but only in band but the two core members were still writing all the material and following their own path into contempary music history. A great record from a great time.

Jeff Skunk Baxter and Mike McDonald did not land on the scrap heap they joined The Doobie Brothers and sold many a record with them.

Members reviews

Perfectly produced and beautifully performed pop jazz-rock, with razor-sharp lyrics and finely-polished compositions from the warped minds of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen: that's what you want when you hear a Steely Dan album, and that's what Katy Lied delivers in spades. From the suddenly topical again stock market ditty of Black Friday to the nostalgic and emotionally loaded Doctor Wu, Becker and Fagen prove once again that they are the masters of studio craftsmanship. Sure, it means a bit towards unfashionable soft rock (or "yacht rock", as the cool kids are calling it these days), but when it's performed this well and sounds this good I certainly don't care.
Sean Trane
After the break up of the group (first started by Skunk’s defection to Doobie Brother’s, prior to PL’s release), the group collapsed, but the masterminds stayed together as a team, vouching to become a studio band (which is what they were anyway) and never to tour again (until the 90’s I think), but everything was to be rebuilt as they had no manager (probably wouldn’t need one) but still a label that gave them the go-ahead under the duo’s diktats. So heading back to the studio with a fill of song, they called up old acquaintances from previous album and started recording the tracks. The album came out with a very ugly insect artwork (and stupid title) and sold quite well, but there was no single and apparently the duo were extremely displeased with the album’s sound, but my take is that the batch of songs was not up to par with the albums to come and the CTE album. It seems to follow up on PL’s idea of having a bunch of really short songs, the longest is a reprise of Your Gold Teeth from their Countdown, and it is barely above 4 minutes all in normal usual song verse-chorus format or close enough that we don’t see the difference.

Apart from a fairly lively Black Friday (the failed hit single about that ’29 crisis) with good double piano play and Becker’s good lead guitar, the album is a slow boring suite of songs. If Bad Sneakers is not yet catastrophic, it does sounds uninspired (excepted for the lead guitar breaks, when they come around), but Rose Darling (and its sexual antics), Daddy (upbeat and guitar-friendly but ultimately boring) and Doctor Wu (this is as close to a title track as you’ll get here, with the opening Kati tried lyrics) with its unwelcome sole sax solo >> don’t you hate when an instrument is popped up from nowhere, brought up to the forefront for one single solo and never heard again on the album??? For me this is an example of poor song writing that plagued the second part of the 70’s. That and Michael McDonald vocals on choirs. No wonder the Doobies went stale when first Skunk Baxter than McDonald joined them.

The uneasy lyrics of Gone To The Movies are only part of the creepy groove that SD install (excellent drumming and percussions) from the start makes it an highlight. The second instalment of Your Gold Teeth (from Countdown) fails to match its predecessor, yet it is a peak in this album, precisely because it’s the jazziest of all their tracks on the album. The album closes on the seriously uninspired blues Chain Lighting (ciggies of course) with Derringer’s solo in the middle, the boring filler (and bored itself) Any World, the seam-less Little Ones, which punctuates the album’s lack of plot and consistency.

Certainly not much an improvement on Pretzel or Thrill, Kati might just be the “group’s” low point in their “studio-only years”, mostly due to indeed relatively flat production and recording, but also relatively weak songwriting (by SD standards); but let it be known that a bad SD album is still a good album, because of the usual Dan-esque subtleties sprawled over the album.

Ratings only

  • ed141414
  • Phrank
  • Fant0mas
  • KK58
  • esset55
  • Lynx33
  • Vano
  • Rokukai
  • Pr0fundus
  • Drummer
  • Zarathustra
  • The Manticore
  • Tychovski

Write/edit review

You must be logged in to write or edit review


Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
A Love Supreme Post Bop
Buy this album from our partners
Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
Buy this album from our partners
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Progressive Big Band
Buy this album from our partners
Blue Train Hard Bop
Buy this album from our partners
My Favorite Things Hard Bop
Buy this album from our partners

New Jazz Artists

New Jazz Releases

You Never Know Eclectic Fusion
Buy this album from MMA partners
Another Time, Another Place Post Bop
Buy this album from MMA partners
Diversity - Nylon String Energy Volume 3 Pop/Art Song/Folk
Buy this album from MMA partners
Life In Time Avant-Garde Jazz
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Jazz Online Videos

Everything Happens to Me
js· 5 hours ago
"Honey B" - Eric Wurzelbacher
js· 1 day ago
Come Find Me
js· 2 days ago
js· 4 days ago
More videos

New JMA Jazz Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions


Latest Jazz News


More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us