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Can't Buy a Thrill

Can't Buy a Thrill

by Steely Dan Steely Dan
Can't Buy a Thrill

Can't Buy a Thrill

by Steely Dan Steely Dan


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Walter Becker and Donald Fagen were remarkable craftsmen from the start, as Steely Dan's debut, Can't Buy a Thrill, illustrates. Each song is tightly constructed, with interlocking chords and gracefully interwoven melodies, buoyed by clever, cryptic lyrics. All of these are hallmarks of Steely Dan's signature sound, but what is most remarkable about the record is the way it differs from their later albums. Of course, one of the most notable differences is the presence of vocalist David Palmer, a professional blue-eyed soul vocalist who oversings the handful of tracks where he takes the lead. Palmer's very presence signals the one major flaw with the album -- in an attempt to appeal to a wide audience, Becker and Fagen tempered their wildest impulses with mainstream pop techniques. Consequently, there are very few of the jazz flourishes that came to distinguish their albums -- the breakthrough single, "Do It Again," does work an impressively tight Latin jazz beat, and "Reelin' in the Years" has jazzy guitar solos and harmonies -- and the production is overly polished, conforming to all the conventions of early-'70s radio. Of course, that gives these decidedly twisted songs a subversive edge, but compositionally, these aren't as innovative as their later work. Even so, the best moments ("Dirty Work," "Kings," "Midnight Cruiser," "Turn That Heartbeat Over Again") are wonderful pop songs that subvert traditional conventions and more than foreshadow the paths Steely Dan would later take.

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Product Details

Release Date: 11/17/1998
Label: Mca
UPC: 0008811188627
catalogNumber: 11886
Rank: 1145


  1. Do It Again
  2. Dirty Work
  3. Kings
  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

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Steely Dan   Primary Artist
Donald Fagen   Organ,Piano,Keyboards,Electric Piano,Vocals,Soloist
Victor Feldman   Percussion,Keyboards
Jerome Richardson   Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Soloist
Clydie King   Vocals,Background Vocals
Elliott Randall   Guitar,Soloist
Walter Becker   Bass,Guitar,Electric Bass,Bass Guitar,Vocals
Jeff Baxter   Guitar,Pedal Steel Guitar,spanish guitar,Soloist
Venetta Fields   Vocals,Background Vocals
Jim Hodder   Percussion,Drums,Vocals,Background Vocals
Shirley Matthews   Background Vocals
David Paich   Keyboards
Snooky Young   Flugelhorn,Horn
Denny Dias   Guitar,Sitar,Electric Sitar,Soloist
Sherlie Matthews   Vocals,Background Vocals
David Palmer   Keyboards,Vocals

Technical Credits

Donald Fagen   Composer,Liner Notes,Reissue Producer
Walter Becker   Composer,Liner Notes,Reissue Producer
Gary Katz   Producer,Audio Production
Roger Nichols   Engineer
Tristan Fabriani   Liner Notes
Vartan   Art Direction
Robert Lockart   Cover Design

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