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The Nightfly

The Nightfly

20 Oct 1982
4.7 out of 5 stars 125 customer reviews

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The Nightfly
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 20 Oct. 1982
  • Release Date: 20 Oct. 1982
  • Label: Reprise
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 38:48
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B002J0HMMS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 125 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,611 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
In my humble opinion the greatest album ever made.I can play this every day and not get bored of it,there's always something new that you hear.
Every track a winner but my favourite is New Frontier-just love the harmonica at the end.
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Format: Audio CD
Five stars really aren't enough, are they? Fagen and Steely Dan producer Gary Katz wrestled with early digital recording technology to create something that stands apart from every pop, rock and jazz album you've ever heard. It's not hard to tell from most other reviewers that this record has a very special emotional significance for a lot of people, and I'm among them. The supreme irony is that with sequencers, synths and primitive drum machines - plus the cream of 1970-80's session talent, or course - Fagen created a uniquely evocative mood piece where every note weighs heavy with nostalgia for a time that most of this album's fans have never even lived through. I won't add to the superlatives... I'll just re-state them. This ranks as one of the finest musical achievements of this or any decade.
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Format: Audio CD
A great solo effort from (arguably) the more talented half of the excellent Steely Dan. An outstanding album from beginning to end, with the only crticisim being that it's too damn short! Love Don's cover of "Ruby Ruby", but my particular favourite is the well-observed "New Frontier".
Had this on a dreadful audio tape for years before spotting it on Amazon. The songs are still as strong as I remember them. No weak tracks at all - you have to sit through the whole 39 minutes! Reeks quality from start to finish. Highly recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
Superlatives just aren't enough sometimes. "The Nightfly" is such a magical combination of exquisite lyrics, impeccable harmony and flawless studio production that I can say that this is the only album that I know of that has no weaknesses at all. I've listened to the thing probably a thousand times in the last twenty years and it just gets better each time. Greg Phillinganes's piano solo on "Ruby Baby" is stunning; Michael Brecker's sax solo on "Maxine" is jaw-dropping : the list goes on an on.
A track that I particulary like is the eponymous "The Nightfly". It tells the story of a lonely, late-night radio host called Lester who runs a 'phone-in show:
"You say that there's a race
Of men in the trees.
You're for tough legislation.
Thanks for calling.
I wait all night for calls like these."
The chorus (and this is why Donald Fagen is a genius) is based around a radio jingle for the station WJAZ ("at the foot of Mount Belzoni"!). It's such a wonderful dove-tailing of theme and music. How many recording artists have ideas like this?
Total and utter perfection.
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Format: Audio CD
Fabulous, sublime, a magnificent collection, still great after twenty years.

One or two details - may I just draw your attention to the wonderful Michael Brecker tenor solo on "Maxine"? or the little fragments of harmonica / electric piano at the end of "New Frontier"? Or the superb changes in the middle eight in "The Nightfly"?

Will he ever make another record as damn near perfect as this?

Listening to "Morph the Cat" twenty odd eyars later there are positive signs. Have a listen to the "The Great Pagoda of Funn"... he's nearly there!

"Oooooooohhhhh Miami!"
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Format: Audio CD
In between recording with "Walter Becker" the seminal albums "Aja" and "Gaucho" under the banner of "Steely Dan", Donald Fagen recorded this masterpiece of audio art.

The a fore mentioned album called the "The Nightfly" runs at less than 40 minutes long and has 7 self-penned tracks and has 1 track written by the legendary song-writing partnership of "Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, their song "Ruby Baby" is clearly the most commercial sounding on the whole album, the collection was arranged by "Donald Fagen" and on production duties was the same producer as the man who had produced all the "Steely Dan" recordings "Gary Katz".

As the album opens up with the track "I.G.Y." (International Geophysical Year) the "electric piano" playing of "Greg Phillinganes" he creates a retro sound that he manages to duplicate on all the tracks he plays on which is half of the tracks here.
The album if the sleeve notes are to be believed is the dreams of a young man growing up in a remote suburb of a northeastern city during the late 50's and early 60's about the same general height and weight and build as "Mr Fagen"

The problem I have with this album in its current incarnation on C.D. is that the disc that is currently available it has not been re-mastered; a lot of the delicate little touches have been lost that you were quite clearly able hear before on vinyl. I must put forward the case for the artist to go back to the studio and do some sonic renovation so that this classic from the early 80's can be heard as it's meant to be heard.

In closing a great album let down by the current pressing, which is a shame the album is superb and deserves better...
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Format: Audio CD
Bought this album more-or-less on release (December 1982, aged 19), solely due to a virtually hagiographic review from the sadly-late Richard Cook in the NME. I'd never heard of Fagen, though I had heard of Steely Dan, but had never knowingly heard any of their material (though later listening experience suggests that, like many, the likes of "Reelin' In The Years" and "Do It Again" had permeated into my subconscious).

I can understand some of the charges levelled against this album and Steely Dan in general: it is more than a little smart-arse, arch, knowing (perhaps a little too intelligent for some?); more than a little "well-produced". [And we won't even touch on the fact that splendidly moustachioed guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter ended up chairing a US Congress Advisory Board on missile defence (or defense): how on earth did that come to pass?)

But for heaven's sake: this is just great. It sounds beautiful, if that's important to you; the songs are great, and the arrangements, and the playing. Basically, it swings its little backside off, from first to last, and is an utterly wonderful and essential record. Don't listen to the trolls: listen to the record.

[P.S. while I'm damned sure that in the early 80s Richard Cook was the only reviewer I pretty near trusted implicitly, the only other album I can remember buying because of one his reviews is John Cale's harrowing "Music For A New Society". Look that up as well.]
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