Show Biz Kids: The Steely Dan Story 1972-1980
REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/26/2006
So, we have two one-disc Steely Dan collections and a box set with every single Dan track ever recorded. Let's say you don't want all 7 original albums, but you are interested to hear more than one CD with the overplayed hits. Enter Show Biz Kids.
Each of the seven albums gets equal treatment, with the hits present and the wrong albums tracks selected. From the debut Can't Buy A Thrill we get "Do It Again," "Dirty Work" and "Reeling In The Years," which is about all you need to know about that album. The Countdown To Ecstasy and Pretzel Logic tracks, most notably "Bodhisattva," "Pretzel Logic," "Show Biz Kids" and "My Old School" are still great, but again, the album tracks selected do not adequately complete the story of the band's unique embrace of jazz, funk, pop, rock, soul and even country at times.
The second disc, however, greatly redeems the first. Steely Dan hit the apex of their career with The Royal Scam and Aja, and the usual suspects "Kid Charlemagne," "Don't Take Me Alive," "Peg," "Josie" and "Deacon Blues" are here, but the album tracks "Aja," "Haitian Divorce" and "Black Cow" are just as good as the hits, if not better. The non-LP cuts "FM" and "Here At The Western World" are included as a treat, while Gaucho is represented by the underrated "Babylon Sisters," the excellent "Hey Nineteen" and two other decent album tracks.
If you have this you really won't need much else Steely Dan, but there's a good chance you'll want to dig deeper anyway to hear the full story. While a bit more care in selecting album tracks would have been nice, overall this is a great summary of a great band.