Ranked 238/500 on Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Two names in particular spring to mind in connection with Steely Dan: Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. The two men discovered while at college at the end of the Sixties that they shared musical tastes, although they played in different bands. They subsequently formed a songwriter duo before making their breakthrough in 1972 under the name Steely Dan (a name which came from William Burrough’s novel The Naked Lunch) with their debut album Can’t Buy A Thrill. This LP remained for over a year in the Billboard charts, and the single taken from the album, Do It Again, leapt into the Top Ten. This was just the beginning of an extraordinarily successful career which lasted until the temporary disbandment of the group in 1981 (a brand new album entitled Two Against Nature has appeared since then). Every one of their seven studio albums was crowned with a Gold or Platinum Disc.
Can’t Buy A Thrill is not as “polished” as later albums, such as Aja or Gaucho for example, but their inimitable mixture of melodic rock, shot through with soul, jazzy rhythms and ambitious instrumental solos made Fagen and Becker stand out from all the others right from the very start (just compare them with the Eagles or the Doobie Brothers!). Apart from the now “classical” songs such as Dirty Work, Midnight Cruiser, Reelin’ The Years and of course the unforgettable Do It Again, it goes without saying that all the others titles are endowed with all those qualities which make Steely Dan so unique.
- Walter Becker (bass, vocal)
- Donald Fagen, David Palmer (keyboard, vocal)
- Snooky Young (fluegel horn)
- Jerome Richardson (saxophone)
- Jeff Baxter, Elliott Randall (guitar)
- Denny Dias (guitar, sitar)
- Victor Feldman (keyboard, percussion)
- Jim Hodder (drums, percussion, vocal)
Recording: 1972 at The Village Recorder, Los Angeles CA., USA, by Roger Nichols and Tim Weston
Production: Gary Katz
About Speakers Corner
At the beginning of the 90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the situation was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and, of course, Speakers Corner all maintained a mutual, unwritten ethical code: we would only use analogue tapes to manufacture records.
During the course of the present vinyl hype, many others have jumped on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source to master from: CDs, LPs, digital files, MP3s – or employed existant tools from the 80s and 90s for manufacturing.
A digital delay is gladly used when cutting a lacquer disc because tape machines with an analogue delay have become quite rare and are therefore expensive. When cutting the lacquer, the audio signal is delayed by one LP revolution against the signal, which controls the cutter head, and for this a digital delay is very often employed. Of course, the resultant sound signal is completely digital and thus only as good as this delay.
We should like to emphasise that Speakers Corner Records on principle only uses the original master tape as the basis for the entirely analogue cutting of lacquer discs. In addition, the pressing tool is newly manufactured as a matter of principle. We have one digital recording in our catalogue (Alan Parsons / Eye In The Sky“), but even in this particular case we used the analogue tapes for cutting.
We only employ existing tools for manufacturing if an improved result is not forthcoming, e.g. the title Elvis Is Back, which was mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray, or several titles from our Philips Classics series, which in any case Willem Makkee cut from the original masters at the Emil Berliner Studios in the 90s. It goes without saying that we only used the mother and that new tools were made for our production.
To put it in a nutshell: we can ensure you that our releases are free from any kind of digital effects – excluding the exception above – and that the lacquer discs are newly cut.
1. Do It Again
2. Dirty Work
4. Midnight Cruiser
5. Only A Fool Would Say That
6. Reelin' In The Years
7. Fire In The Hole
8. Brooklyn (Owes The Charmer Under Me)
9. Change Of The Guard
10. Turn That Heartbeat Over Again