Steely Dan Countdown to Ecstasy
Rolling Stone: Ranked #13 in Rolling Stone's "50 Coolest Records".
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- Released: November 17, 1998
- Originally Released: 1998
- Label: Mca
Rolling Stone - 4/11/02, p.106Ranked #13 in Rolling Stone's "50 Coolest Records".
Rolling Stone - 8/16/73, p.54"...[their] ability to play four-to-five minute rock songs in a jaunty, up-tempo fashion without becoming redundant or superfluous...may well make Steely Dan the American dance-band alternative to Slade..."
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Steely Dan: Jeff Baxter (pedal steel guitar); Walter Becker (bass instrument); Jim Hodder (background vocals); Donald Fagen, Denny Dias.
Personnel: Walter Becker (vocals, guitar, harmonica, bass guitar); Donald Fagen (vocals, piano, electric piano, keyboards, synthesizer, percussion); David Palmer (vocals, keyboards, background vocals); Jim Hodder (vocals, drums, percussion); Sherlie Matthews, Patricia Hall, Royce Jones, Michael Fennelly, James Rolleston, Myrna Matthews (vocals, background vocals); Ben Benay (guitar, acoustic guitar); Rick Derringer (guitar, slide guitar); Jeff Baxter (guitar, steel guitar); Denny Dias (guitar); Ernie Watts, John Rotella, Lanny Morgan, Bill Perkins (saxophone); Victor Feldman (keyboards, vibraphone, marimba, percussion); Sherlie Mathews, Pam Hall (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Denny Dias.
Audio Remasterer: Roger Nichols .
Liner Note Authors: Donald Fagen; Walter Becker.
Recording information: Caribou Ranch, Nederland, CO; Village Recorder, Santa Monica, CA; Village Recorders, Santa Monica, CA.
Photographer: Ed Caraeff.
Arranger: Jimmie Haskell.
Riding high on the success of their debut CAN'T BUY A THRILL, Steely Dan put together what was, on the surface, their most commercial and straightforward album. "Bodhisattva," for example, which opens the album, works a driving, jump-blues groove that seems at odds with the band's laid-back, jazz inclinations. The heavy, bluesy stomp of "The Boston Rag" and the slinky, edgy boogie of "Show Biz Kids" may make it seem as though Steely Dan was vying for favor with their more roots-oriented pop-rock contemporaries.
Nothing could be further from the truth, however. COUNTDOWN TO ECSTACY is more ambitious, complex, and layered than its predecessor, with a heavier dose of jazz fusion, more subtle and textured arrangements, and an even higher level of studio craftsmanship. Both "Razor Boy" and "Your Gold Teeth" demonstrate flashes of Latin flavor-- marimba-driven bop in the former, and salsa-cum-lounge jazz in the latter. The presence of session musicians--drummer Jim Hodder and guitarists Jeff Baxter and Denny Diaz--fleshes out Donald Fagen and Walter Becker's superb songwriting and playing, making for an excellent and overlooked addition to the band's catalogue.