STEELY DAN — Can't Buy a Thrill (review)

STEELY DAN — Can't Buy a Thrill album cover Album · 1972 · RnB Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Way back in late 1972 my older brother came home with a bunch of records that he'd borrowed off a friend, "Can't Buy a Thrill" was one. I have been playing this album ever since.This would be my number one album,desert island disc, etc in rock I only came to this conclusion about 2 years back when I was about to play the album and realised that I really can not remember at least playing this every year at some time since 1972 and through sheer repetition alone it has to be the one. This is the first Steely Dan album released and the only one where Donald Fagen did not do all the lead vocals as ABC records wanted David Palmer to as they were concerned about Donald Fagen's. David Palmer did lead vocals on "Dirty Work" and "Brooklyn" ( owes the charmer under me) and shared vocals on three other tracks. Jim Hodder also appeared and did lead vocals on the track" Kings".

Denny Dias played guitar and electric sitar on "Do it Again" and remained on every album as a full time member or a guest till "Gaucho" which he did not appear on. Jeff (Skunk) Baxter who later left the band to join the Doobie Brothers also plays steel guitar on "Fire in the Hole". One other notable mention is the backing vocalists Shirley Matthews,Vanetta Fields and Clydie King who were originally "Ikettes" till 1966 and left to form the group the "Mirettes". They quickly became one of the top session backing vocalists around and appeared with practically everybody, Bob Dylan,Pink Floyd,Rolling Stones,Aretha Franklin,Diana Ross,Leonard Cohen and the list goes on and on. One other mention is Walter Becker who plays bass and guitar and contributes a small vocal part and Donald Fagen who also sings lead vocals, piano,keyboards and even a melodica which he still uses in concert today.

There are 10 tracks on the album and the two most well known would "Do It Again" with its percussion intro and with Fagen's keyboards quickly coming in this keeps that groove throughout and is an absolute brain sticker." Reelin in the Years" is guitar from wo' to go and rock is something you like well this will surely fit the bill but another standout is "Dirty Work" with its slow melancholic feel. My personal favourite although not as catchy is "Midnite Cruiser".The album has a jazz influence throughout but is basically a rock/pop album which does need to be heard a few times to appreciate it which I found even when I was 13 which after the first listen I couldn't see what the fuzz was about but things quickly improved with the next play. One of my other favourite tracks would be "Changing of the Guard" with that Skunk Baxter guitar solo and even in the chorus you even get Na nana na na.(Great hey). They are all favourites the whole ten of them.

This album always appears in those top 100's normally and I know that everyone will say what about "Aja and "Gaucho" but at the time I heard this "Countdown to Ecstasy "had not long been released and "Gaucho" was still six albums away. No matter that the jazz is minimal in those days I played Rock and I still do today as Old dogs are difficult to teach new tricks and this is one I will always hang on to.The first is still the best for me and this was different when it was released way back.I do feel a little dudded these days as I have the Jap Mini Lp replica and on the original Australian release on record the inner sleeve was just plain white paper and there was no poster with lyrics. I have always had to sing along with a bit of a guess now and again

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