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Customer Review

32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Confirmation of the Genius of Becker, 19 Jun. 2008
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This review is from: Circus Money [Us Import] (Audio CD)
It goes without saying, given the fact that Donald Fagen handles vocals for Steely Dan and has released three not-un-Dan-like solo albums, that it is unclear what the contribution is of his Steely Dan writing partner Walter Becker to the authorship of that classic music.

We have for a while had to assume that perhaps what is lacking from the Dan sound on Fagen's solo work is indicative of what Becker's contribution to Dan might be - therefore one posits that Becker brings in a more ballsy rockier musical contribution, some additional lyrical bite, some extra rough edges, some extra harmonic spice....

Added to this, Becker didn't help himself in terms of this conjecture when he released his first solo album '11 Tracks of Whack' a few years back, which, while entertaining and a supreme effort by anyone's standards, occupied a somewhat more pared down and less slick approach to production than anything that would grace a Steely Dan album or anything solo by Fagen.

Now finally with his new album 'Circus Money' we get to hear what Becker brings to Steely Dan making clear his claim to the 50/50 collaboration with Fagen. It is the true confirmation of his genius.

Anyone put off by Walt's un-Dan-like debut should disregard that concern immediately. This music hits all the right buttons for lovers of Steely Dan - and, idiomatic as the vocal melodies and lyrics would have been to Don's delivery, Walt delivers the goods so well vocally that Don is not missed here.

Generally, aside from a couple of tracks (notably 'Somebody's Saturday Night') I think the album requires around three listens to really bed in and to have it's genius felt.

All the tracks are brilliant - there are no duds here - and there is a sunny reggae feel to many of them (remember 'Haitian Divorce'?). The album is tightly played by an elite group of musicians. It has all the great backing vocals, solo breaks, harmonic departures, catchy melodies, well articulated intelligent lyrics, slinky atmospheres, awesome production (care of co-writer Larry Klein - although I'm sure Becker's hands aren't too far from the controls...), awesome audiophile recording and mastering - every great thing that you would expect from a Dan related album.

If you are looking at this, the likelihood is that you are already familiar with some of the music of Steely Dan and Becker and Fagen solo. If you liked that music then I recommend you buy this album without hesitation.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Sep 2008 12:46:57 BDT
Hill Walker says:
I bought this CD on the strength of your (and other 5 star) review(s).

I was misled.

See my review.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Sep 2008 20:45:16 BDT
Well, as they say, caveat emptor Hill Walker. You were not misled by anyone. That would be the case if the reviewer's intention was to deceive you for some sinister motive. No. He loved the album, you did not (neither did I, as it happens) so I suggest that you take people's reviews with a large grain of salt in future.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Nov 2008 13:23:31 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 Nov 2008 23:32:12 GMT
This review really is utter rubbish. To begin with, it relishes the possibility that Walter Becker might embody the edgier, rockier, spicier yet hidden element of Steely Dan but then dismisses the superb Eleven Tracks of Whack, an album that precisely demonstrated the aforementioned Becker talents better than does Circus Money, which I agree sounds at times like recent Steely Dan. The review then finishes by praising Circus Money for sounding ... just like Steely Dan, though even that isn't really true.
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