A Decade Of Steely Dan

Steely Dan

MCA, 1985


REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


I have a soft spot for this CD because it was one of the first ones I ever purchased with my own money (the other being Are You Experienced?my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 ). It's not the best Steely Dan collection out there, and has a rather questionable song selection, but for a primer into the group it does the trick.

Of the Dan's seven albums up to that point, two songs from each are represented, with the exception being The Royal Scam, which is represented by "Kid Charlemagne," one of the band's best tunes. Also included is the non-album track "FM (No Static at All)," a great soundtrack song that kicks things off here.

The major hits are here and represent a great body of work: the jazzy, ominous "Do It Again," the cynical alumni tale of "My Old School," the erstwhile "Hey Nineteen" and the rocking "Bodhisattva." Aja is represented by the amazing "Deacon Blues" and the standard "Peg" -- "Josie" would have been a better choice, but such is life. "Reeling In The Years" and "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" also make an appearance, as well they should.

But then things get interesting. Why the instrumental "East St. Louis Toodle-oo?" Why "Bad Sneakers?" These should have been tossed out to make room for "Josie," "Don't Take Me Alive" and "Dirty Work." And why not include "Show Biz Kids," surely the best Steely Dan biography there is?

Still, what's here is good music, jazzy rock/pop with cynical, cryptic lyrics and plenty of unique flourishes discovered on repeated listens. It's not the best single-disc Dan collection, but if you happen across it in a bargain bin, it has most of what you need to know about the group to get started.

Rating: B+

User Rating: B



© 2006 Benjamin Ray and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of MCA, and is used for informational purposes only.