my Steely Dan megamix

Disc 1:

1. F.M.
2. Babylon Sisters
3. Sign In Stranger
4. My Old School
5. Godwhacker
6. Peg
7. Night By Night (mp3)
8. The Caves Of Altamira (mp3)
9. Kings
10. This All Too Mobile Home (live in Memphis, 3/20/74) (mp3)
11. The Royal Scam
12. Jack Of Speed (mp3)
13. Through With Buzz
14. Your Gold Teeth
15. Your Gold Teeth II
16. Deacon Blues

Disc 2:
1. King Of The World (mp3)
2. Kid Charlemagne
3. Black Cow
4. The Second Arrangement (Gaucho outtake) (mp3)
5. Cousin Dupree
6. Reelin' In The Years
7. Hesitation Blues (live on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, 7/23/02)
8. The Boston Rag
9. Westside Story (live in Manassas, 7/21/96)
10. Dirty Work
11. Bad Sneakers
12. Rikki Don't Lose That Number
13. Pearl Of The Quarter
14. Haitian Divorce
15. Home At Last
16. Pretzel Logic
17. Any World (That I'm Welcome To) (mp3)

Steely Dan are a band that have come to mean more to me, and take over a larger and larger place in my listening habits, throughout my whole life. Growing up, they were one of the artists in constant rotation in my dad's car, and I'd remember him singing along to "Deacon Blues" during long trips. In high school, when I got my first turntable, I dug out his old LP of Pretzel Logic, and one summer during college my roommate had Aja and Royal Scam. But it wasn't until about four years ago that I picked up the Citizen Steely Dan box set and delved into the back catalog fully, and they became one of my favorite bands of all time. I've been working on this mix on and off pretty much ever since then, and finally got it done recently.

I made a point to include songs from every album, although, without even meaning to, I ended up weighting the mix towards songs from each album to almost the exact degree that I like each album: all-time faves Countdown To Ecstasy and The Royal Scam each get 5 songs, Aja and Pretzel Logic get 4 each, then 3 each from Katy Lied and Can't Buy A Thrill, 2 from Two Against Nature and just one apiece from Gaucho and Everything Must Go. About half of the band's hit singles are covered, but I made no point to include all of them and left out a few I'm over or aren't particularly wild about.

The non-LP stuff, other than the W.C. Handy cover from NPR's Piano Jazz program, comes from the now-defunct Steely Dan Archive site, and I wish I had downloaded more from that site when it still existed. SD's albums are so uniformly excellent that it's kind of hard to believe that they have outtakes as good as "The Second Arrangement" (which I probably like better than anything that made the cut on Gaucho) and "This All Too Mobile Home." I know there's loads of SD studio bootlegs out there, one of these days I really need to collect that stuff.

It kind of aggravates me when people simplify Steely Dan to some basic schtick or paradox, like smooth jazz with sleazy lyrics. There's some pretty hard rocking stuff on the early records, and some sincere sentiment, that work to balance out the band's more well known elements. And even though I don't have the head for music theory or jazz musicianship to fully appreciate the complexity of their compositions, and sometimes the deeper meanings of the songs go over my head, I still hear the chops, the wealth of hooks, the lyrical detail enough to be staggered by what a great band they were in their prime. And really, that just leaves more in these records for me to analyze and rediscover as I get older and learn more. Hopefully this isn't the peak of my Steely Dan obsession and I can just keep digging deeper and deeper even now that I've heard it all.
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