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Steely Dan - Katy Lied CD (album) cover

KATY LIED

Steely Dan

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.57 | 92 ratings

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jimidom
5 stars What do you get when you combine the talents of two neo-intellectual songwriters with a penchant for jazz as well as an affinity for expensive German microphones, and you assemble them with a roster of all star studio musicians including Hal Blaine and Michael McDonald? You get Katy Lied, Steely Dan's fourth studio album. With the considerable talents of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker leading the way through a set of songs which feature their trademark tongue-in-cheek approach to lyric writing, their heavily jazz- influenced tune smithing, and rock solid performances by the legendary roster of studio pros, Katy Lied is indeed a classic, and among Dan fans is arguably their best work.

The first thing one notices when listening to Katy Lied is how unassuming the overall sound is. It doesn't really sound all that complex for a Steely Dan album, although it is replete with the requisite Steely Dan jazz influence and killer guitar solos courtesy of Denny Dias, Elliott Randall, Larry Carlton, and Rick Derringer. However, thanks to the sonic perfectionism of Fagen & Becker and the effortless performances of the studio musicians, the listener is only fooled into believing that he or she is listening to standard FM rock faire. With more careful listening, one discovers why this album was one of the finest of the 1970's.

The late Jeff Porcaro's masterful shuffle groove, jazz harmony vocals that would make the Manhattan Transfer blush, and the dark comedy of the tale of financial ruin make the lead-off track, Black Friday, a gem of a tune and a fitting opener to this classic album. Another gem follows with Bad Sneakers and its saracastic lyrical nod to the original Steely Dan lineup. Other standout tracks include the additional dark comedy of Daddy Don't Live In That New York City No More, the sensational cryptic tale of drug addiction, Dr Wu, and the raw emotion of the introspective Any World (That I'm Welcome to).

While the ensuing Steely Dan albums from Royal Scam to Gaucho are perhaps a little more progressive sounding with a bit more jazz, more lyrical wit, and even more killer guitar work, there is something truly magical about how it all comes together on Katy Lied. Add to that the near-perfect sonics, and you have a truly amazing audio experience. For fans of progressive music, it receives the highest of recommendations.

jimidom | 5/5 |

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