2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
See how they roll,
This review is from: Countdown To Ecstasy (Audio CD)
From the first exultant, fast-paced track Bodhisattva, with Jeff `Skunk` Baxter excelling himself on guitar - and what a truly great guitarist he was and is - we know this is no "difficult second album" but rather a thing of wonder, and an even more sophisticated set of songs than the Dan`s superb, sunlit debut.
It is a bit of a tough record to review, as it`s quite simply perfect, not one note wasted, great lyrics (as usual) and musically impeccable. Highlights? They`re aren`t any: every track`s a winner. Mind you, I would have to say that about almost all their albums, such has been the Dan`s consistency over the many years they`ve been together.
It`s a relief too to have Donald Fagen settled in as lead singer. David Palmer was fine on Can`t Buy A Thrill, on which he sang lead on some of the tracks, but Fagen`s voice has just the right quality of sardonic knowingness to suit Steely Dan`s jazz-inflected rock approach. That`s another thing, this is one band it`s hard to pigeonhole. They`re a kind of rock band, but with a strong jazz pedigree, some of the most intelligent lyrics of any band (as songwriters, Becker & Fagen are obviously a well-read couple of dudes) and a mixture of West Coast hip and New York cool - or possibly the other way round!
Ok, a highlight: My Old School is uttery brilliant, a track nobody else could have done remotely as well, and one of their finest ever all-round performances. Again, the Skunk plays a blinder. It`s followed by the one slow ballad, the gorgeous Pearl Of The Quarter. Sheer bliss.
CTE was the first Dan album I ever heard - a friend taped it onto a cassette for me (hi, Nige) - so I have a special feeling for it, though after almost forty years I still think it`s one of their best. It benefits enormously from the ever-inventive guitar of Baxter, who was to leave after their next album, the astonishing Pretzel Logic. But that`s another story...
Meantime, these eight songs are one hell of an essential listen.
Do you throw out your gold teeth
Do you see how they roll?