Steely Dan: Countdown To Ecstasy

Artikkelnr.: CAPP 135 SA

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Analogue Productions

Countdown To Ecstasy  Steely Dan's gold-selling second studio album reissue

Hybrid Stereo SACD release from Analogue Productions!

Mastered direct to DSD from the original master tape by Bernie Grundman

Plays in all CD and SACD players

Steely Dan's second studio album, originally released in 1973 by ABC Records, was certified gold-selling by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for selling 500,000 copies in the U.S. 

Steely Dan's platinum-selling debut studio album Can't Buy A Thrill, released in November 1972, was a commercial success, peaking at No. 17 on the Billboard chart. It later appeared on many professional listings of the greatest albums, including Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums (2000) and Rolling Stone magazine's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" (2003)

The album was written by band members Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, recorded in August 1972 at The Village Recorder in Los Angeles, and produced by Gary Katz. Its music features tight song structure and sounds from soft rock, folk rock, and pop, alongside philosophical, elliptical lyrics. Two songs recorded during the Can't Buy A Thrill sessions were left off the album and released as a single: "Dallas" b/w "Sail the Waterway." 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, "Midnite Cruiser" (sometimes spelled "Midnight Cruiser"), 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.

AllMusic gave the album 4.5 stars, with reviewer Stephen Thomas Erlewine praising the core duo Walter Becker and Donald Fagen as "remarkable craftsmen." Erlewine noted that "there are very few of the jazz flourishes that came to distinguish their (later) albums", but added that the first single from the album, "Do It Again," incorporates a tight Latin jazz beat, while the second single, "Reelin' In the Years," features jazzy guitar solos and harmonies.

Rolling Stone, in its review, said the debut album was a collection of some of the group's best jazz/rock songs.

"Two of Fagen's four (vocal solo) songs were the singles, ‘Do It Again' and ‘Reelin' In The Years,' the later starting off (and continues throughout) with a ripping solo by session player, Elliot Randall, and in fact, was rated by Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page as his favourite guitar solo of all time. That's quite an endorsement. The song peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Charts. ‘Do It Again' charted at No. 6, making it their second highest chart for a single. ‘Dirty Work,' another great song from the record features Palmer. The album is tight, with some of the best musicianship money can buy." — Rolling Stone

The album cover features a photomontage by Robert Lockart that includes an image of a line of prostitutes, standing in a red-light area from Rouen in France waiting for clients. The image was chosen because of its relevance to the album title. Walter Becker and Donald Fagen themselves commented on the album art in their liner notes to the reissued The Royal Scam, saying that The Royal Scam album possessed "the most hideous album cover of the seventies, bar none (excepting perhaps Can't Buy A Thrill)." The cover was banned in Francisco Franco's Spain and was replaced with a photograph of the band playing in concert.

After a brief battle with esophageal cancer, Walter Becker died on September 3, 2017 at the age of 67. Steely Dan has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2001. VH1 ranked Steely Dan at No. 82 on their list of the 100 Greatest Musical Artists of All Time. Rolling Stone ranked them No. 15 on its list of the 20 Greatest Duos of All Time.

COUNTDOWN TO EXTASY
Artist Steely Dan
Tittel Countdown To Extasy
Sjanger Pop / Rock
Mastret av Bernie Grundman
Format CD / SACD  (Hybrid SACD)
Antall plater
Lydkvalitet Audiofil
Plateselskap Analogue Productions
Utgivelsesdato 1973 / Juni 2023
Platenummer CAPP 135 SA
Diverse  
Opplag  
COUNTDOWN TO EXTASY
Nr          TITTEL       TID
01 Bodhisattva 05:16
02 Razor Boy 03:10
03 The Boston Rag 05:48
04 Your Gold Teeth 06:58
05 Show Biz Kids 05:21
06 My Old School 05:44
07 Pearl Of The Quarter 03:49
08 King Of The World 05:03

Founded by core members Walter Becker (bass) and Donald Fagen (vocals, keyboards), Steely Dan's popularity rose throughout the late 1970s on, and their seven albums throughout that period of time blended elements of jazz, rock, funk, R&B, and pop. Steely Dan created a sophisticated, distinctive sound with accessible melodic hooks, complex harmonies and time signatures, and a devotion to the recording studio. Becker and Fagen, with producer Gary Katz, gradually changed Steely Dan from a performing band to a studio project, hiring session musicians to record their compositions. The duo didn't perform live between 1974 and 1993. But their popularity nevertheless grew throughout the '70s as their albums became critical favorites and their singles became staples of Adult Oriented Radio and pop radio stations.

Like Steely Dan's 1972 debut album Can't Buy A Thrill, Countdown to Ecstasy has a rock sound that exhibits a strong influence from jazz. It comprises uptempo, four-to-five-minute rock songs, which, apart from the bluesy vamps of "Bodhisattva" and "Show Biz Kids," are subtly textured and feature jazz-inspired interludes. Countdown to Ecstasy was the only album written by Steely Dan for a live band. "My Old School" features reverent horns and aggressive piano riffs and guitar solos. "The Boston Rag" develops from a jazzy song to unrefined playing by the band, including a distorted guitar solo by Jeff "Skunk" Baxter. Jim Hodder's drumming eschews rock music for pop and jazz grooves. Bop-style jazz soloing is set in the context of a pop song on "Bodhisattva". Commenting on the album's style and production, Tom Hull says it is "clean, almost slick", with "no dissonance, no clutter," reminiscent of 1940s bop and "the overproduced early 60s pop rock."

Countdown to Ecstasy has lyrical themes similar to Can't Buy A Thrill. It explores topics such as drug abuse, class envy, and West Coast excess. "My Old School" is inspired by a drug bust involving Walter Becker and Donald Fagen at Bard College, "King of the World" explores a post-Nuclear holocaust United States, and "Show Biz Kids" satirizes contemporary Los Angeles lifestyles.

Rolling Stone described Countdown To Ecstasy as "another dose of mainstream rock and roll, restating the basic themes of Can't Buy A Thrill, but this time concentrating a bit more on the rocking side of their style."

The original cover painting was by Fagen's then-girlfriend Dorothy White. At the insistence of ABC Records president Jay Lasker, however, several figures had to be added when he found the discrepancy between five band members and three figures on the cover unacceptable. The proofs for the album cover were later stolen during a dispute over the final layout. The back cover features an orchid surrounded by the band and their recording equipment.

After a brief battle with esophageal cancer, Walter Becker died on September 3, 2017 at the age of 67. Steely Dan has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2001. VH1 ranked Steely Dan at No. 82 on their list of the 100 Greatest Musical Artists of All Time. Rolling Stone ranked them No. 15 on its list of the 20 Greatest Duos of All Time.