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Steely Dan
Countdown To Ecstasy

Steely Dan — Countdown To Ecstasy (July 1973, SHM—SACD 2014)

USA Flag     Steely Dan — Countdown To Ecstasy 
♦  Charakteristickým prvkem alba jsou velmi jemné textury. Základní melodie, sekundární melodie, paralelní podpůrné melodie, statická podpora, harmonická podpora, rytmická podpora a harmonicko–rytmická podpora jako celek. Sophisticated, distinctive rock group built around accessible melodic hooks, complex harmonies and time signatures, and a devotion to the studio.
♦  Released in 1973, Countdown to Ecstasy was not as commercially successful as Steely Dan's first album. Becker and Fagen were unhappy with some of the performances on the record and believed that it sold poorly because it had been recorded hastily on tour. The album's singles were "Show Biz Kids" and "My Old School", both of which stayed in the lower half of the Billboard charts (though "My Old School" and — to a lesser extent — "Bodhisattva" became minor FM Rock staples in time).
Location: Annandale–on–Hudson, New York, United States
Album release: July 1973
Recorded: Caribou Ranch, Nederland, Colorado; The Village Recorder, Santa Monica, California
Record Label: ABC / Universal (Japan)
Duration:     41:14
01 Bodhisattva     5:19
02 Razor Boy     3:11
03 The Boston Rag     5:40
04 Your Gold Teeth     6:59
05 Show Biz Kids     5:26
06 My Old School     5:46
07 Pearl Of The Quarter     3:51
08 King Of The World     5:02
♦  Written by Walter Becker / Donald Fagen
Steely Dan
♦  Donald Fagen — acoustic and electric pianos, synthesizer, lead vocals
♦  Walter Becker — electric bass, harmonica, background vocals
♦  Denny Dias — electric guitar, Stereo Mixmaster General
♦  Jeff "Skunk" Baxter — electric and pedal steel guitars
♦  Jim Hodder — drums, percussion, background vocals
Additional musicians
♦  Ray Brown — string bass on "Razor Boy"
♦  Ben Benay — acoustic guitar
♦  Rick Derringer — slide guitar on "Show Biz Kids"
♦  Victor Feldman — vibraphone, marimba, percussion
♦  Ernie Watts — saxophone on "My Old School"
♦  Johnny Rotella — saxophone on "My Old School"
♦  Lanny Morgan — saxophone on "My Old School"
♦  Bill Perkins — saxophone on "My Old School"
♦  Sherlie Matthews — background vocals
♦  Myrna Matthews — background vocals
♦  Patricia Hall — background vocals
♦  David Palmer — background vocals
♦  Royce Jones — background vocals
♦  James Rolleston — background vocals
♦  Michael Fennelly — background vocals
Producer: Gary Katz
Engineer — Roger Nichols
Assistant engineer — Miss Natalie
Album design — Dotty of Hollywood
Photography — Ed Caraeff
Reissue Producers: Walter Becker, Donald Fagen
Remastering engineer: Roger Nichols
Reissue design: Red Herring Design, New York City
Consultant: Daniel Levitin
Billboard Albums
♦  1973 Countdown To Ecstasy The Billboard 200 #35
Billboard Singles
♦  1973 My Old School The Billboard Hot 100 #63
♦  1973 Show Biz Kids The Billboard Hot 100 #61
♦  The original cover painting was by Fagen's girlfriend Dorothy White. At the insistence of ABC Records president Jay Lasker, however, several figures had to be added when he found the discrepancy between five band members and three figures on the cover unacceptable. The proofs for the album cover were later stolen during a dispute over the final layout.
♦  Jeff Baxter Guitar, Guitar (Steel), Member of Attributed Artist, Pedal Steel, Pedal Steel Guitar
♦  Walter Becker Bass, Bass Instrument, Composer, Guitar, Guitar (Bass), Harmonica, Liner Notes, Member of Attributed Artist, Reissue Producer, Vocals
♦  Ben Benay Additional Personnel, Guitar, Guitar (Acoustic)
♦  Ray Brown 12–String Bass Guitar, Additional Personnel, Bass, String Bass
♦  Ed Caraeff Photography
♦  Rick Derringer Additional Personnel, Engineer, Guest Artist, Guitar, Slide Guitar
♦  Denny Dias Guitar, Member of Attributed Artist, Mixing, Unknown Contributor Role
♦  Donald Fagen Composer, Keyboards, Liner Notes, Member of Attributed Artist, Percussion, Piano, Piano (Electric), Reissue Producer, Synthesizer, Vocals
♦  Victor Feldman Additional Personnel, Guest Artist, Keyboards, Marimba, Percussion, Vibraphone
♦  Michael Fennelly Vocals, Vocals (Background)
♦  Pam Hall Vocals (Background)
♦  Patricia Hall Vocals, Vocals (Background)
♦  Jimmie Haskell Arranger, Saxophone Arrangement
♦  Jim Hodder Drums, Member of Attributed Artist, Percussion, Vocals, Vocals (Background)
♦  Royce Jones Vocals, Vocals (Background)
♦  Audio Production, Producer
♦  Daniel Levitin Consultant
♦  Sherlie Mathews Vocals (Background)
♦  Myrna Matthews Vocals, Vocals (Background)
♦  Sherlie Matthews Vocals, Vocals (Background)
♦  Lanny Morgan Additional Personnel, Saxophone
♦  Roger Nichols Audio Engineer, Engineer, Remastering
♦  David Palmer Keyboards, Vocals, Vocals (Background)
♦  Bill Perkins Additional Personnel, Saxophone
♦  James Rolleston Vocals, Vocals (Background)
♦  John Rotella Additional Personnel, Saxophone
♦  Ernie Watts Additional Personnel, Guest Artist, Saxophone
Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine; Score: *****
λ   Can’t Buy a Thrill became an unexpected hit, and as a response, Donald Fagen became the group’s full–time lead vocalist, and he and Walter Becker acted like Steely Dan was a rock & roll band for the group’s second album, Countdown to Ecstasy.
λ   The loud guitars and pronounced backbeat of “Bodhisattva,” “Show Biz Kids,” and “My Old School” camouflage the fact that Countdown is a riskier album, musically speaking, than its predecessor. Each of its eight songs have sophisticated, jazz–inflected interludes, and apart from the bluesy vamps “Bodhisattva” and “Show Biz Kids,” which sound like they were written for the stage, the songs are subtly textured. λ   “Razor Boy,” with its murmuring vibes, and the hard bop tribute “Your Gold Teeth” reveal Becker and Fagen’s jazz roots, while the country–flavored “Pearl of the Quarter” and the ominous, skittering “King of the World” are both overlooked gems. Countdown to Ecstasy is the only time Steely Dan played it relatively straight, and its eight songs are rich with either musical or lyrical detail that their album rock or art rock contemporaries couldn’t hope to match.
Critical reception:
♦  Countdown to Ecstasy was well received by contemporary music critics. David Logan of Rolling Stone felt that the album's musical formula does not get redundant and said that, despite ordinary musicianship and occasionally absurd lyrics, Steely Dan's "control" of their basic rock format is "refreshing" and "bodes well for the group's longterm success." Billboard complimented the "studio effect" of the dual guitar playing and found the "grandiloquent vocal blend" catchy. Stereo Review called it a "really excellent album" with "witty and tasteful" arrangements, "winning" performances, "high quality" songs, and a "potent and persuasive" mix of rock, jazz, and pop styles. Robert Christgau, writing in Creem, gave the album an "A–", and observed "studio–perfect licks that crackle and buzz when you listen hard" and "invariably malicious" vocals that back the group's obscure lyrics. He named Countdown to Ecstasy the ninth best album of 1973.
♦  In a 1981 review, Christgau gave it an "A" and said that Steely Dan achieved a "deceptively agreeable studio slickness" because of Fagen's replacement of Palmer, who did not fit the group. In The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), Rob Sheffield gave the album five out of five stars and called it "a thoroughly amazing, hugely influential album" with "cold–blooded L.A. studio rock tricked out with jazz piano and tough guitar". Pat Blashill also gave the album five stars in his review for Rolling Stone. He said that the "joy in these excellent songs" and in the band's playing revealed Steely Dan to be "human, not just brainy", "like good stretches of the Stones' Exile on Main Street". In his five–star review of the album, Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine found Countdown to Ecstasy musically "riskier" than the band's debut album and wrote that the songs are "rich with either musical or lyrical detail that their album rock or art rock contemporaries couldn't hope to match." Chris Jones of BBC Music found Steely Dan's ideas to be "post–modern" and "erudite", and asserted that they were "setting a benchmark that few have ever matched." Music journalist Paul Lester viewed it as a progression from their debut album and wrote that "Becker and Fagen offered cruel critiques of the self–obsessed 'Me' decade", while their "blend of cool jazz and bebop, Brill Building song craft and rock was unparallelled at the time (only Britain's 10cc were creating such intelligent pop in the early Seventies)".
♦  In his 1999 autobiography A Cure for Gravity, British musician Joe Jackson describes Countdown to Ecstasy as a music revelation for him, bridging the gap between "pure pop" and his jazz–rock and progressive influences, while furthering his attempts at songwriting.
BY DAVID LOGAN   |   August 16, 1973
¤ ¤  Steely Dan 1972. Five jaded guys from Gotham City going west to find the American Dream, only to find Los Angeles, where, as they say, you can't buy a thrill. Lo and behold, what do they find there in the promised land but two smash singles, a gold album and (drum roll) success.
¤ ¤  Steely Dan 1973. Countdown To Ecstasy is upon us with another dose of mainstream rock & roll, restating the basic themes of Can't Buy a Thrill, but this time concentrating a bit more on the rocking side of their style, best exemplified by "Reelin' in the Years." Kicking off with "Bodhisattva," they move out. A hard–driving guitar exchanging leads with Donald Fagan's straightforward keyboards on top of a pulsating bass — it's honest to beejeevies rock & roll!! Two rather nondescript ditties follow and then they rock on for 7:30 on "Your Golden Teeth." This time, with the mildly Latino beat of "Do It Again," the Steelies strike gold and really boogie; nothing too original, but they combine a wealth of mid–Sixties rock influences in a palatable way.
¤ ¤  Side two opens with an absolutely insane chorale called "Show Biz Kids." The chorus is similar to the hypnotic chants from Nilsson's "Put the Lime in the Coconut," and this effort is every bit as successful, as its lyrical inanity is completely overwhelmed by the sheer enthusiasm put forth by the players and singers. "My Old School" is another exuberant exercise in the toe–tappin' and foot–stompin' that just seems to be the natural byproduct of this group. Though their playing is hardly unique and their singing is occasionally hampered by patently ridiculous lyrics, they exhibit a control of the basic rock format that is refreshing and that bodes well for the group's longterm success.
¤ ¤  In fact, it is this ability to play four–to five–minute rock songs in a jaunty, up–tempo fashion without becoming redundant or superfluous that may well make Steely Dan the American dance–band alternative to Slade. Countdown To Ecstasy is far from an ambitious' statement of a progressive musical philosophy; in fact, one could perhaps argue that the Steelies have found a formula and are exploiting it. Well, for my part, if it takes exploitation of a formula to get the dilettantes and the glitter boys back to playing rock & roll, then I'll go back, Jack, and do it again, with Steely Dan.
Fortaken: http://www.rollingstone.com/
TOUR 2014
¤ ¤  The 2014 Steely Dan tour is here and you are invited to see it live this year as Steely Dan embarks on the latest concert series! The Steely Dan tour is finishing up in Louisville, KY with 1 remaining date booked. The final date of Steely Dan's tour in North America during December will be followed by additional live performances yet to be announced. Steely Dan is touring in various locations this year with the next date happening in Louisville, KY on 12/27/2014. Steely Dan plans on spending most of 2014 and 2015 performing live at as many venues as possible, so keep your eyes out for additional dates that may be named. Don't miss seeing Steely Dan live in 2014 as the tour showcases both new hits and old favorites. Share in the excitement of Steely Dan's concerts at one of the live shows coming to a venue near you.
¤ ¤  Steely Dan fans are one of a kind and they love the unique sound, incredible vocals, and the unbelievable energy that make Steely Dan's live music one of a kind. If you're in the Louisville, KY area, don't forget to purchase your tickets fast for the show on 12/27/2014 before they sell out.
¤ ¤  The Steely Dan tour is sure to be a huge draw for concert goers in 2014. When Steely Dan takes the stage, you can be sure the crowd is going to be huge!
¤ ¤  To see all of the tickets still available for the Steely Dan concerts, click on a city and date to the right. But hurry, you don't want to miss seeing one of the most exciting shows of the year, Steely Dan live in concert!
¤ ¤  Concertgoers to "Jamalot Ever After" can expect the same high–level of musical excellence which, on recent tours, garnered raves from fans and critics alike:
¤ ¤  "Everyone gathered Friday evening was a believer — and they were treated to something close to rapture." — The Los Angeles Times
¤ ¤  "(Steely Dan is) a latter–day jazz big band tweaking a cherished repertory… freed from studio permanence, reveling in the road." — The New York Times
¤ ¤  "The songs are the thing, and what songs they are (Steely Dan) dipped into pretty much every facet of their vast and rich repertoire, serving up an 18–tune set distinguished by its muscularity, finesse and chopsmanship." — The Globe & Mail
¤ ¤  "This was different. This was live. This was vibrant. This was a cascade of color carried along by Fagen, Becker, eight brilliant supporting musicians and three superb backing vocalists." — The Chicago Sun–Times
¤ ¤  Onstage, Donald and Walter are joined once again by their now–legendary supporting musicians: Keith Carlock on drums, Freddie Washington on bass, Jim Beard on keyboards, Jon Herington on guitar, Michael Leonhart on trumpet and keys, Jim Pugh on trombone, Roger Rosenberg on baritone saxophone and Walt Weiskopf on saxophone. The band wouldn't be complete without the three sublime, soulful songbirds: La Tanya Hall, Carolyn Leonhart, and Cindy Mizelle. Together, they will treat audiences to selections from The Dan's extraordinary four–decade catalog, rich with infectious tunes, bodacious harmonies, irresistible grooves, and sleek, subversive lyrics — all punctuated with blazing solo work and rich ensembles.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SteelyDan
SACD: http://www.sa-cd.net/showtitle/9784
¤ ¤  Jim Beard [Keyboards: '08 — '14]
¤ ¤  Keith Carlock [Drums: '03 — '14]
¤ ¤  La Tanya Hall [B. Vocals: '13 —'14]
¤ ¤  Jon Herington [Guitar: '00 —'14]
¤ ¤  Carolyn Leonhart [B. Vocals: '00 —'14]
¤ ¤  Michael Leonhart [Trumpet, Keys: '00 — '14]
¤ ¤  Cindy Mizelle [B. Vocals: '03 — '08: '11,'14]
¤ ¤  Jim Pugh [Trombone: '00 —'14]
¤ ¤  Roger Rosenberg [Baritone Saxophone: '06 —'14]
¤ ¤  Freddie Washington [Bass: '06 —'14]
¤ ¤  Walt Weiskopf [Saxophone: '03 —'14]
The Shuffle Diplomacy 2011 Touring Band
Photo 1: BACK ROW L–R: Freddie Washington, Cindy Mizelle, Jon Herington, Catherine Russell, Jim Pugh, Jim Beard, Keith Carlock, Donald Fagen
The Mood Swings 2013 Touring Band
BACK ROW L–R: Roger Rosenberg, Waklt Weiskopf, Donald Fagen, Keith Carlock, Jim Beard, Freddie Washington.
MIDDLE ROW L–R: Jon Herington, Michael Leonhart, Carolyn Leonhart, Catherine Russell, LaTonya Hall
FRONT ROW L–R: Walter Becker, Jim Pugh
FRONT ROW L–R: Michael Leonhart, Carolyn Leonhart, Walter Becker, Walt Weiskopf, Roger Rosenberg
¤ ¤  STEELY DAN has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and helped define the soundtrack of the '70s with hits such as Reelin' in the Years, Rikki Don't Lose That Number, F.M., Peg, Hey Nineteen, Deacon Blues, and Babylon Sisters, culled from their seven platinum albums issued between 1972 and 1980 (including 1977's ground breaking "Aja"). They reunited in the early '90s, launching a string of sold–out tours. In 2000 they released multi–Grammy winner (including Album Of The Year) "Two Against Nature", and released its acclaimed follow–up "Everything Must Go" in 2003. They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
¤ Can't Buy a Thrill (1972)
¤ Countdown to Ecstasy (1973)
¤ Pretzel Logic (1974)
¤ Katy Lied (1975)
¤ The Royal Scam (1976)
¤ Aja (1977)
¤ Gaucho (1980)
¤ Two Against Nature (2000)
¤ Everything Must Go (2003) © Steely Dan Concert. Musician Donald Fagen of the band Steely Dan performs at 'Collaborating for a Cure' the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation Benefit Concert on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)


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