Monday, February 18, 2013

Steely Dan: Can't Buy a Thrill, front cover

Here (again perhaps) is Steely Dan's Can't Buy a Thrill.  Their fantastic debut record.  Apparently - this version of the cover was banned in some countries I think because it depicts call girls queuing up waiting for Johns.  Hence the title of the album.  It's a great record - with one of the all-time great seventies songs on it: Reelin' in the Years.  That distinctive guitar solo opening is not that of long-time band member Walter Becker - it is band founder Denny Dias.  Legend has it that Denny was looking to assemble his own ad his own band while living out on Long Island.  He placed an advert in the Village Voice in the summer of 1970 saying "Looking for keyboardist and bassist; Must have jazz chops; a-holes need not apply."  That's how h joined up with Donald Fagan and Walter Becker.  And Denny got rid of the other members of his band and stuck with those two - as mentioned that in the DVD production of The Making of Aja.  The quintessential urban-sounding New York band - they struck out for California and added drummer Jim Hodder and Jeff "Skunk" Baxter on guitar, and early lead singer David Palmer.  And signed with ABC's Dunhill imprint.   Denny stayed on for the first 5 or 6 Steely Dan records until Walter and Donald basically mothballed it.  "Dias is now a computer programmer living in LA."

Also according to wiki - "The album cover features a line of prostitutes standing in a red light area waiting for clients, an image which was chosen because of its relevance to the album title.  The cover was banned in Francisco Franco's Spain and was replaced with a photograph of the band playing in concert.  The title is taken from a lyric in the Bob Dylan song "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" on Highway 61 Revisited.  Walter Becker and Donald Fagen themselves commented on the album art in their liner notes to the reissued The Royal Scam, saying that album possessed "the most hideous album cover of the seventies, bar none (excepting perhaps Can't Buy a Thrill)."   This is the only Steely Dan album to include David Palmer as a lead vocalist, having been recruited after Donald Fagen expressed concerns over singing live.  Drummer Jim Hodder also chips in lead vocals on one song, as well as singing the "Dallas" single.  By the time recording of the next album began, the band and producer Gary Katz had convinced Fagen to assume the full lead vocalist role."

1 comment:

  1. Indeed, that guitar solo and all the other guitar work is amazing. There are millions of younger guitarists now, but they don't seem to have enough of the inner soul of the music and knowledge of music itself to achieve this level of musical genius!


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