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Steely Dan - Can't Buy a Thrill CD (album) cover


Steely Dan


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.59 | 265 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Matthew T
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Way back in late 1972 my older brother came home with a bunch of records that he'd borrowed off a friend and Can't Buy a Thrill was one. I have been playing this album ever since.This would be my number one album,desert island disc, etc. I only came to this conclusion about 2 years back when I was about to play the album and realised that I really can not remember at least playing this every year at some time since 1972 and through sheer repetition alone it has to be the one.

This is the first Steely Dan album released and the only one where Donald Fagen did not do all the lead vocals as ABC records wanted David Palmer to do some of the vocals as they were concerned about Donald Fagen's. David Palmer did lead vocals on Dirty Work and Brooklyn ( owes the charmer under me) and shared vocals on 3 other tracks. Jim Hodder also appeared and did lead vocals for the track Kings.

Denny Dias played guitar and electric sitar on Do it Again and remained on every album as a full time member or a guest till Gaucho which he did not appear on. Jeff Skunk Baxter who later left the band to join the Doobie Brothers also pays steel guitar on Fire in the Hole. One other notable mention is the backing vocalists Shirley Matthews,Vanetta Fields and Clydie King who were originaaly Ikettes till 1966 and left to form the group the Mirettes. They quickly became one of the top session backing vocalists around and appeared with practically everybody, Bob Dylan,Pink Floyd,Rolling Stones,Aretha Franklin,Diana Ross,Leonard Cohen and the list goes on and on. One other mention is Walter Becker who plays bass and guitar with a small vocal part and who is also the founding member with Donald Fagen who also sings lead vocals,plays piano,keyboards and even a melodica which he still uses in concert today.

There are 10 tracks on the album and the 2 most well known are Do It Again and Reelin in the Years but another also would be Dirty Work. The album has a jazz influence throughout but is basically a rock/pop album which does need to be heard a few times to appreciate it which I found even when I was 13 as after the first listen I couldn't see what the fuzz was about but things quickly improved with the next play. One of my favourite tracks would be Changing of the Guard with that Skunk Baxter guitar solo and even in the chorus you even got Na nana na na.(Great hey).

This album always appears in those top 100's normally and I know that everyone will say what about Gaucho but at the time I heard this Countdown to Ecstasy had not long been released and Gaucho was still 6 albums away. This album I really cannot say that it is not a masterpiece especially as it is a debut as well but if you are looking for progressive music this is not your album. It is one great rock record from the early seventies

Matthew T | 5/5 |


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