4.0 out of 5 stars Good price, Good album --- Remastering is Subtly Better
I like Steely Dan and I like this, their second album. It's the same Steely Dan band, except they dropped their "lead singer", David Palmer, so Fagan sings everything from now on. It's the only time where the songs were written to fit the given band. Starting with the next album, Fagan and Becker would begin using some session musicians - starting with drummer Jeff...
Published 10 months ago by From the Musician's Pen
3.0 out of 5 stars Studio Reflection Of Their Touring Days
Walter Becker & Donald Fagen's musical creation was apparently not meant for live shows (at least during the 70s). The smooth sterility of their perfected sound could not survive many tours, which is why Becker & Fagen soon haulted any further live shows (until the 90s anyway), frustrated and disappointed with them altogether. Because it was written and recorded during...
Published on Oct. 18 2002 by Bud Sturguess
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good price, Good album --- Remastering is Subtly Better,
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This review is from: Countdown To Ecstasy (Audio CD)I like Steely Dan and I like this, their second album. It's the same Steely Dan band, except they dropped their "lead singer", David Palmer, so Fagan sings everything from now on. It's the only time where the songs were written to fit the given band. Starting with the next album, Fagan and Becker would begin using some session musicians - starting with drummer Jeff Porcaro - and the original band would then cease to exist. Instead songs would be written and musicians sought who could record them.
I already own the box set, and wanted to upgrade to the remastered CD's because of good reviews on the "improved" sound. The remastering is subtle - the sound is cleaner, clearer and has more depth, but has retained all the dynamics without being overly loud or bright. However, without a hi-fi stereo system, I doubt most people would notice any improvement over the oringal CD's or the box set - previously released versions already sounded quite good. So, it's an unnecessary purchase for most people(hence, my reason for deducting one star).
The remastered version includes lyrics and extra running commentary, which is continued on each successive CD.
Final verdict - it's a good Steely Dan album, if you haven't already got it. If you already own the 1993 box set, you don't need this remaster.
5.0 out of 5 stars Remastered Ecstasy......,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Countdown To Ecstasy (Audio CD)Back in 1973 a number of fantastic albums arrived, and this is one.
The job of remastering is tight. As I reported with "Can't Buy a Thrill"
the original engineer has been in on the process. Every Steely remaster
is a very good buy. I had my copy come in at $8.99 plus tax. Better than
the retailer in downtown Toronto....again! If you are going to build a
Steely Dan collection, include this. You can bet "Your Gold Teeth" it's
worth it. Because I combined with another disc, shipping was on the house...
4.0 out of 5 stars Damn Good,
This review is from: Countdown To Ecstasy (Audio CD)Dan heads are gonna hate me for saying this, but I don't think this is their best. I prefer the 1st album and the ones immediately following this, but there are some seriously unmatched moments here. "Bodhisattva", "Razor Boy", "King of the World", "Boston Rag" all carry an aura that has not been equalled by anyone since. The only reason that I am not giving this a 5, well there's two of them:
1. The MASS exposure of the two songs on each and every one of their compilations and on classic rock radio. You know which ones I'm referring to. Hint: I didn't name them in the 1st paragraph. If you don't know....
GO BUY THE ALBUMS AND DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!!!!
2. I'm not big into "Pearl of the Quarter", which boasts a New Orleans- influenced sound that Becker and Fagen chose not to revisit.
But the Dan sounds like a rock band for the first and only time on this album, and if you want a good portrait of why they became a staple on rock radio then and now, one spin will reveal all the reasons. How can any true rock fan live without those four songs I mentioned earlier???? Can you write a song as complex as "Boston Rag"? Can you play Denny Dias' guitar parts on "Bodhisattva"? I SERIOUSLY DOUBT IT.
NOTE: IF YOU LIKE THIS AND "PRETZEL LOGIC", YOU NEED, AND I WILL EMPHATICALLY RESTATE, NEED RECORD PLANT '74. GO FIND IT.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my lifetime 5 favorites,
This review is from: Countdown To Ecstasy (Audio CD)Just listen people, I have been listening to this album since it came out and beleive you me, there have been very few since that can even come close. The writing, the musicianship, the passion! When you compare this album to the (c)rap being marketed these days, you can see why it is still selling well!!
5.0 out of 5 stars The Right Balance!,
This review is from: Countdown To Ecstasy (Audio CD)For those who are turned off by some of Steely's slickness on later records, their sophomore effort is that nice blend of sophistication and muscle. There are only 8 songs here, but everyone is a gem (and none ever get skipped!). Whether you want stomping rock (the great for driving "Bodhisattva") or jazzy sophistication ("Razor Boy," "Your Gold Teeth" etc.) you'll find it here. Although their later albums are completely brilliant, some would use this album as argument that the Dan should have stayed an intact BAND, instead of graduating to the cream of the crop session musicians they subsequently used. Truly, all band members sound brilliant on this album, so who knows why Becker and Fagen wanted to get rid of Jim Hodder, for example? Regardless of their reasons, this CD is great to take along in the car and crank as you sing along at the top of your lungs to "My Old School" (you know you do it.). The remaster sounds divine and on the 30th anniversary of this legendary album, we should pause and give thanks for the many blessings Walter and Donald have bestowed upon us. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!
5.0 out of 5 stars Steely Dan: Show Biz Kids,
This review is from: Countdown To Ecstasy (Audio CD)How bizarre it is that Steely Dan's brilliant second album, 1973's "Countdown To Ecstasy," wasn't exactly a hit upon it's initial release. Maybe it was the weird watercolor painting on the cover. Or maybe it was the first single, "Show Biz Kids," which contained the f-word (though the naughty word was edited out for single release). Or how about bad marketing on MCA Records' part...who the heck knows? Thankfully, time has proven "Countdown" to be one of Steely Dan's very best albums. Dan masterminds Walter Becker & Donald Fagen, along with guitarists Jeff "Skunk" Baxter & Denny Dias, as well as drummer Jim Hodder, totally cook on this magnificent set. Practically every single cut here is a Dan classic: the outstanding jazz/rock blowout that is "Bodhisattva," the cocktail pop of "Razor Boy," the awesome melodic rock of "The Boston Rag" (tell all your buddies that it ain't no drag!), and the salsa-esque "Your Gold Teeth." But it doesn't end there---there's also the slinky "Show Biz Kids," in which the band get into a single groove, stay there for the whole song, and jam into the heavens. This is followed by the masterful piano bopper "My Old School," the tasty, country-flavored "Pearl Of The Quarter," and the groovy finale, "King Of The World." The songs are amazing, Becker & Fagen & the gang are superb (both in their musical chemistry and studio skills), Fagen's vocals are very soulful, and the street-sensibile lyrics are intruiging. YOU will be in total ecstasy listening to Steely Dan's "Countdown To Ecstasy," one of the Dan's most supreme offerings.
5.0 out of 5 stars Mindblowing,
This review is from: Countdown To Ecstasy (Audio CD)As the 1970s fade into the memory holes of increasingly aging and forgetful baby boomers, certain musical accomplishments of that era stand out as truly timeless. "Countdown to Ecstasy" is one. Steely Dan fans know that the group's principals, Fagen and Becker, were jazz fanatics who found rock and roll an outlet for their creativity. But back in 1972, after a debut album of intricate, moody, LA pop, this album, the group's second, came as a huge surprise. At the time, "jazz rock fusion" was a big topic, with artists ranging from John McLaughlin, Frank Zappa, Jean-Luc Ponty, Weather Report and even Miles Davis, to Chicago and Blood, Sweat and Tears claiming they had found that nexus. Some of them caught lightening once in a while, but to my taste, the hybrid rarely worked better than it did on this album, which claimed nothing for itself other than to be Steely Dan's follow-up, but demonstrated more depth of jazz understanding, jazz chops, and a truly intelligent idea of how to blend Dylan-esque lyrics, swinging rhythms, and orgiastic guitars into a seamless, natural, effortlessly brilliant, and remarkably varied set.
"Boddhistatva" is an incredible toe-tapper, a joke on the Eastern religion mania of the hippies, and a perfect setting for a couple of mindblowing guitar solos that both rock and swing like crazy. "King of the World" is apocalyptic science fiction with Jetson-like sounds, hanging easily on a fast, cool, jazzy bassline. The great Ray Brown plays stand up bass on the Latin-tinged "Razor Boy," and a tight, Basie-like horn section flavors the happy pop sound of "My Old School." "Your Gold Teeth" is a jazz workout, but "Pearl of the Quarter" somehow works in a country steel guitar, and "Show Biz Kids" has a great, pure rock and roll solo by ringer Rick Derringer of "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" fame.
Speaking of ringers, as everyone knows, Steely Dan eventually boiled down to the two writers and an assortment of session players, leaving the original band behind. Part of me was thinking today, "what would this album sound like if they had used all those great session players, instead of the band?" It might be a trip to hear what someone like Bernard Purdie or Steve Gadd might've done with "Boddishatva," or Larry Carlton on "King of the World." But I have to say, the original band acquits itself quite well on this album. It was designed to let them stretch out, and they gave us some of the tastiest playing on any Steely Dan album. The twin lead guitarists, Denny Dias and Jeff Skunk Baxter are frequently brilliant, and drummer Jim Hodder has a nice, light, swinging touch, and keeps steady time on both the jazzier and the rockier numbers. "Aja" is the greatest of all Steely Dan albums, but for me, this is their next best, and is just as involving.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Absolute Classic,
This review is from: Countdown To Ecstasy (Audio CD)I have been listening to this recording for almost 30 years and I still enjoy it. This is a group of songs that never get old or seem dated. The craftmanship of the music and guitar licks still amaze me today. Your Gold Teeth and My Old School always make me sing out loud and get my foot tapping. Great guitar, vocals, horns, it has it all. This recording is fun to listen to, yet intricate enough to keep it fresh. A must own CD for any serious music lover.
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Dan At The Top Of Their Form,
This review is from: Countdown To Ecstasy (Audio CD)Hello. If you're reading this review, you either are A) checking out what others thought of this CD or B) maybe you've floated through the universe without finding this CD...so you're thinking of picking it up. This review is for the "B" crowd.
This CD is one of the best I own.
Steely Dan produces sly, very intelligent jazz-tinged pop-rock with cynical bents, superb instrumentals, and deliberately obscure themes. I *never* get bored with this CD, and repeated listenings always yield some new insights. I hate to say it, but this kind of music targets the higher IQ cohorts (whether they've missed with me is another story).
One warning on the remastered CDs: The last time I listened to a Dan remastered release, it was artificially bright. I have pristine copies of some of their LPs and did a comparison on a high-end stereo -- the CDs were punched up in the treble. So, if you have an audiophile system, you may not like what you hear. Of course, normal stereos may benefit from this kind of studio tinkering (though I think it's bad engineering form).
Compare to Thrill and Royal Scam.
4.0 out of 5 stars Blastoff To Ecstasy,
This review is from: Countdown To Ecstasy (Audio CD)How did these guys get so jaded so fast? While probably the least song-oriented of the Steely Dan albums, "Countdown To Ecstasy" is the most biting. It contains the most savage putdown of West Coast affluence this side of Frank Zappa in the form of "Show Biz Kids," and closes with "King Of The World," a Texan's post apocolypse look at the world that was once populated with "assassins cons and rapers."
The songwriting is consistent with "Can't Buy A Thrill's" gallery of losers, cruisers and ne'er do wells. If it was at all possible, the populi of Ecstasy-ville are more descriptively eccentric than before, perhaps from the Dan's having met them on the road.
This is also a strange precursor to the jazzy stretched out arrangements that would eventually emerge on "Aja." The bop-pop that kicks off the album with "Bodhisattva's" swirling guitar play would be brought up short by the next Steely Dan album, "Pretzel Logic." (Likely due more to Fagen And Becker's disgust with the rock touring life than anything else. The live version of "Bodhisattva" that you can find on "Gold" shows how much the band was contributing to the sound of this particular album.)
"Countdown" is probably as close to a live work as we could expect, and Steely Dan would never sound this loose again.
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