Pretzel Logic — Steely Dan's gold-selling third studio album now on UHQR!
Includes the smash hit "Rikki Don't Lose That Number"
Definitive reissue Ultra High Quality Record, the pinnacle of high-quality vinyl!
45 RPM LP release limited to 20,000 numbered copies
Mastered directly from the original master tape by Bernie Grundman
Pressed at Quality Record Pressings using 200-gram Clarity Vinyl®
Purest possible pressing and most visually stunning presentation and packaging!
Tip-on old style gatefold double pocket jackets with film lamination by Stoughton Printing
Limited to 10,000 numbered copies, pressed on MoFi SuperVinyl at RTI, and sourced from the original master tapes, Mobile Fidelity's UltraDisc One-Step 180g 45RPM 2LP collector's edition makes for an extraordinary listening experience. It strips away any remaining barriers to provide a clear, super-dynamic view of a record nominated for two Grammy Awards and that climbed to the No. 2 position on the Billboard charts. The expanse and depth of the soundstage, fullness of detail, varied textures of the percussion, and natural rise and decay of individual notes reach demonstration-grade levels.
Visually, the gorgeous presentation of the UD1S There Goes Rhymin' Simon pressing befit its select status. Housed in a deluxe box, it features special foil-stamped jackets and faithful-to-the-original graphics that illuminate the splendor of the recording. It is made for discerning listeners that prize sound quality and production, and who desire to fully immerse themselves in everything involved with the album.
The newly revealed transparency, presence, balance, immediacy, and dark-black backgrounds provided by Mobile Fidelity's UD1S set showcase the scope and craft of Simon's alluring melodies – not to mention the vocal performances that, arguably, remain the album's standout element. Simon's singing hits peaks on There Goes Rhymin' Simon that equal or best those on any of his other works, Simon and Garfunkel included. Assured, natural, and supple, his baritone resonates with a realism and extension that immerse you in the song. At certain times, he lets loose; during others, he becomes a gentle balladeer on par with a prized jazz chanteur. Such versatility alone remains staggering, but he also receives support on two tracks by the legendary Dixie Hummingbirds. The pairing is nothing short of magical.
Ditto Allen Toussaint's horn arrangements on "Tenderness" and Quincy Jones' string charts for "Something So Right." The title of the latter tune could serve as the catch-all statement for There Goes Rhymin' Simon – nothing seems out of place, overlooked, overcooked, or underdone. The same goes for the playing of the cadre of session pros heard on the record. A partial lineup: Southern virtuoso Pete Carr (Joan Baez, Bob Seger, Rod Stewart), Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section member Jimmy Johnson, and R&B master Cornell Dupree on guitar; Muscle Shoals Sound Studio founder David Hood, Blue Note veteran Bob Cranshaw, and Astral Weeks contributor Vernie Robbins on bass; Fourplay founder Bob James on Fender Rhodes and keyboards; soul-jazz expert Grady Tate and Aretha Franklin collaborator Rich Marotta on drums. Mercy.
The proof of the consummate chemistry, of course, resides in the final results, which run the gamut from Jamaican-leaning rhythms and orchestral flourishes to steady blues currents and New Orleans-soaked brass accents. Simon's instinct for strong narrative conveyed with heartfelt emotion completes a trifecta of instrumentation, arrangement, and delivery. Taking a pulse on episodes such Watergate and the Vietnam War, the singer meditates on experiences universal to everyone in America – never more saliently than on "American Tune," an anthem musically based on a hymnal and whose lyrics continue to hold true today. Similarly, Simon spins gleeful absurdity, antisocial behavior, and pensive reflection into truth on "Kodachrome," a number-two smash that permanently established him as a solo star.
Hits and singles aside, There Goes Rhymin' Simon stands as as a cohesive statement woven together, to quote Rolling Stone critic Stephen Holden, as "a rich and moving song cycle, one in which each cut reflects on every other to create and ever-widening series of refractions." Indeed, everything looks worse in black and white, and Mobile Fidelity's UD1S set plays with the greens of summers and those nice bright colors.
"While Steely Dan's Pretzel Logic UHQR may not share the full-on Wow factors that its predecessors Countdown to Ecstasy and Can't Buy a Thrill do (each in their own respective ways, of course), that doesn't discount this 2LP set's value when it comes to overall worthiness or what you'll get out of repeat listens — because the more you hear it, the more you get into it. If Pretzel Logic is your personal go-to Steely Dan album, this UHQR edition is absolutely for you. If you want to test your jazz-lineage chops and get further inside the music to hear how SD are literally transitioning their studio acumen right before your very ears into a signature style that wound up blooming in full force on their subsequent albums, then this UHQR edition is definitely for you too. ... Logic stands tall in all its 200g 45rpm 2LP clear-vinyl glory, just like many a great record on the phonograph should." — Music = 8/11; Sound = 9/11 — Mike Mettler, AnalogPlanet.com.
Steely Dan's gold-selling third studio album Pretzel Logic, charted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 and restored the group's radio presence with the single "Rikki Don't Lose That Number," which became the biggest pop hit of their career and peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The 1974 album was produced by Gary Katz and was written primarily by Walter Becker (bass) and bandleader Donald Fagen (vocals, keyboards). The album marked the beginning of Becker and Fagen's roles as Steely Dan's principal members.
They enlisted prominent Los Angeles-based studio musicians to record Pretzel Logic, but used them only for occasional overdubs, except for drums, where founding drummer Jim Hodder was reduced to a backing singer, replaced by Jim Gordon and Jeff Porcaro on the drum kit for all of the songs on the album. Steely Dan's Jeff "Skunk" Baxter played pedal steel guitar and hand drums.
Pretzel Logic has shorter songs and fewer instrumental jams than the group's 1973 album Countdown to Ecstasy. Steely Dan considered it the band's attempt at complete musical statements within the three-minute pop-song format. The album's music is characterized by harmonies, counter-melodies, and bop phrasing. It also relies often on straightforward pop influences. The syncopated piano line that opens "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" develops into a pop melody, and the title track transitions from a blues song to a jazzy chorus.
Other standout tracks include "Any Major Dude Will Tell You," a reflective ballad with lush harmonies, and "Parker's Band," a playful ode to the jazz great Charlie Parker.
Lyrically, the album explores themes of nostalgia, lost love, and the struggles of the creative process. In "Barrytown," the band reflects on their early days as struggling musicians, while in "Through with Buzz," they offer a biting critique of the music industry and the pressure to conform to commercial expectations.
One of the defining characteristics of Pretzel Logic is its use of unusual chord progressions and unexpected musical twists and turns. The band's intricate arrangements and skilled musicianship are on full display throughout the album.
Rolling Stone praised the album, calling Steely Dan the "most improbable hit-singles band to emerge in ages."
"When the band doesn't undulate to samba rhythms (as it did on 'Do It Again,' its first Top Ten single), it pushes itself to a full gallop (as it did on 'Reelin' in the Years,' its second). These two rhythmic preferences persist and sometimes intermingle, as on 'Rikki Don't Lose That Number,' which jumps in mid-chorus from 'Hernando's Hideaway' into 'Honky Tonk Women.' Great transition." — the review said.
AllMusic gave the album 5 stars, with reviewer Stephen Thomas Erlewine noting that "instead of relying on easy hooks, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen assembled their most complex and cynical set of songs to date." Dense with harmonics, countermelodies, and bop phrasing, Pretzel Logic is vibrant with unpredictable musical juxtapositions and snide, but very funny, wordplay.
The album's cover photo featuring a New York pretzel vendor was taken by Raeanne Rubenstein, a photographer of musicians and Hollywood celebrities. She shot the photo on the west side of Fifth Avenue and 79th Street, just above the 79th Street Transverse (the road through Central Park), at the park entrance called "Miners' Gate."
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.
This stereo UHQR reissue will be limited to 20,000 copies, with gold foil individually numbered jackets, housed in a premium slipcase with a wooden dowel spine.
Overall, Pretzel Logic is a standout album in Steely Dan's discography. The album's blend of catchy hooks, complex arrangements, and thoughtful lyrics has made it a favorite among fans of classic rock and pop music.