STEELY DAN — Countdown to Ecstasy (review)

STEELY DAN — Countdown to Ecstasy album cover Album · 1973 · RnB Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
This was the follow up "To Can't Buy a Thrill" and was released in 1973. Donald Fagen has taken over the lead vocals and David Palmer who also shared the lead duties on "Can't Buy a Thrill "is only doing backing vocals with numerous others listed on this album, "Countdown to Ectasy". The sound of the band has started to evolve and with this album there is a far more Jazz and Funk influence but still Rock primarily. Donald Fagen and Walter Becker share the song writing credits. The band is still the same with the omission of David Palmer from lead vocal duties. With Denny Dias, Jeff (Skunk )Baxter on guitars (pedal steel as well for Skunk), Walter Becker on Bass, Jim Hodder on drums and Donald Fagen doing lead vocals, keyboards and piano. Gary Katz is the Producer on this one as he is on all of their albums from this time, up to and including Gaucho. On the early albums of Steely Dan the contribution of the two guitarists is extraordinary with great solos and all round playing with that qiuck skippy jazz sound Denny Dias's style is and Jeff Baxters great solos that really make this album come alive.

There is not one bad track contained within this album and" Bodhisattva" is still performed in concert regulary with that great groove that it contains. Vibes are provided on the next track, Razor Boy by Victor Feldman and really gives the tune its distinct sound. Track 3. "The Boston Rag" was the least liked song for me when I first purchased this record way back when and has grown to be the standout for me with that slow drag feel and a wonderful guitar solo from "Skunk" Baxter. The jazz influence is all over the next track "Your Gold Teeth". "Show Biz Kids" is one rock,funk song that seems to stick in your head forever with the repeated line "While the poor people sleepin' with the shade on the light: While the poor people sleepin' all the stars come out at night". Great stuff

There were singles that were taken off the album in the U.S. but in Australia if they were issued they sure did not play them on the radio and the band was only found out by word of mouth or the odd rock paper or magazine at the time.

Another great Steely Dan record as all of them are from this period and the next album that they were to do, "Pretzel Logic" would really cement the bands position in rock as Steely Dan with that distinctive sound and style they had.

Masterpiece ? You Betcha
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