Pretzel Logic (Remastered) Steely Dan
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- 1Rikki Don't Lose That Number (2023 Remaster)04:31
- 2Night By Night (2023 Remaster)03:36
- 3Any Major Dude Will Tell You (2023 Remaster)03:07
- 4Barrytown (2023 Remaster)03:17
- 5East St. Louis Toodle-Oo (2023 Remaster)02:45
- 6Parker's Band (2023 Remaster)02:40
- 7Through With Buzz (2023 Remaster)01:31
- 8Pretzel Logic (2023 Remaster)04:28
- 9With A Gun (2023 Remaster)02:15
- 10Charlie Freak (2023 Remaster)02:41
- 11Monkey In Your Soul (2023 Remaster)02:31
Info for Pretzel Logic (Remastered)
"Pretzel Logic" is the third studio album by American rock band Steely Dan, released by ABC Records on February 20, 1974. It was recorded at the Village Recorder in West Los Angeles, California, with producer Gary Katz. The album was Steely Dan's last to be made and released while the group was still an active touring band, as well as the final album to feature the band's full quintet-lineup of Becker, Fagen, Denny Dias, Jim Hodder, and Jeff "Skunk" Baxter (who subsequently left to join The Doobie Brothers), though it also features significant contributions from many prominent Los Angeles-based studio musicians.
A commercial and critical success, the album's hit single, "Rikki Don't Lose That Number", helped restore Steely Dan's radio presence after the disappointing performance of their previous album.
They enlisted prominent Los Angeles-based studio musicians to record Pretzel Logic, but used them only for occasional overdubs, except for drums, where founding drummer Jim Hodder was reduced to a backing singer, replaced by Jim Gordon and Jeff Porcaro on the drum kit for all of the songs on the album. Steely Dan's Jeff "Skunk" Baxter played pedal steel guitar and hand drums.
Pretzel Logic has shorter songs and fewer instrumental jams than the group's 1973 album Countdown to Ecstasy. Steely Dan considered it the band's attempt at complete musical statements within the three-minute pop-song format. The album's music is characterized by harmonies, counter-melodies, and bop phrasing. It also relies often on straightforward pop influences. The syncopated piano line that opens "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" develops into a pop melody, and the title track transitions from a blues song to a jazzy chorus.
Other standout tracks include "Any Major Dude Will Tell You," a reflective ballad with lush harmonies, and "Parker's Band," a playful ode to the jazz great Charlie Parker.
Lyrically, the album explores themes of nostalgia, lost love, and the struggles of the creative process. In "Barrytown," the band reflects on their early days as struggling musicians, while in "Through with Buzz," they offer a biting critique of the music industry and the pressure to conform to commercial expectations.
One of the defining characteristics of Pretzel Logic is its use of unusual chord progressions and unexpected musical twists and turns. The band's intricate arrangements and skilled musicianship are on full display throughout the album.
Rolling Stone praised the album, calling Steely Dan the "most improbable hit-singles band to emerge in ages."
"When the band doesn't undulate to samba rhythms (as it did on 'Do It Again,' its first Top Ten single), it pushes itself to a full gallop (as it did on 'Reelin' in the Years,' its second). These two rhythmic preferences persist and sometimes intermingle, as on 'Rikki Don't Lose That Number,' which jumps in mid-chorus from 'Hernando's Hideaway' into 'Honky Tonk Women.' Great transition." — the review said.
AllMusic gave the album 5 stars, with reviewer Stephen Thomas Erlewine noting that "instead of relying on easy hooks, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen assembled their most complex and cynical set of songs to date." Dense with harmonics, countermelodies, and bop phrasing, Pretzel Logic is vibrant with unpredictable musical juxtapositions and snide, but very funny, wordplay.
The album's cover photo featuring a New York pretzel vendor was taken by Raeanne Rubenstein, a photographer of musicians and Hollywood celebrities. She shot the photo on the west side of Fifth Avenue and 79th Street, just above the 79th Street Transverse (the road through Central Park), at the park entrance called "Miners' Gate."
After a brief battle with esophageal cancer, Walter Becker died on September 3, 2017 at the age of 67. Steely Dan has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2001. VH1 ranked Steely Dan at No. 82 on their list of the 100 Greatest Musical Artists of All Time. Rolling Stone ranked them No. 15 on its list of the 20 Greatest Duos of All Time.
Overall, Pretzel Logic is a standout album in Steely Dan's discography. The album's blend of catchy hooks, complex arrangements, and thoughtful lyrics has made it a favorite among fans of classic rock and pop music.
Donald Fagen, keyboards, saxophone, lead vocals, backing vocals
Walter Becker, electric bass guitar, guitar, backing vocals
Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, lead guitar (wah-wah on 5), pedal steel guitar
Denny Dias, guitar
Jim Hodder, backing vocals (6)
Timothy B. Schmit, backing vocals (1,4,8)
Michael Omartian, piano, keyboards
David Paich, piano, keyboards
Ben Benay, guitar
Dean Parks, guitar, banjo (5)
Wilton Felder, bass
Chuck Rainey, bass
Plas Johnson, saxophone
Jerome Richardson, saxophone
Ernie Watts, saxophone
Ollie Mitchell, trumpet
Lew McCreary, trombone
Jim Gordon, drums (all except 2)
Jeff Porcaro, drums (2, 6)
Victor Feldman, flapamba (1), percussion
Roger Nichols, gong (5)
Recorded October 1973 – January 1974 at The Village Recorder, West Los Angeles
Produced by Gary Katz
Walter Becker (bass) and Donald Fagen (vocals, keyboards) were the core members of Steely Dan throughout its variety of incarnations. The two met at Bard College in New York in 1967 and began playing in bands together shortly afterward. The duo played in a number of groups -- including the Bad Rock Group, which featured future comedic actor Chevy Chase on drums -- which ranged from jazz to progressive rock. Eventually, Becker and Fagen began composing songs together, hoping to become professional songwriters in the tradition of the Brill Building. In 1970, the pair joined Jay & the Americans' backing band, performing under pseudonyms; Becker chose Gustav Mahler, while Fagen used Tristan Fabriani. They stayed with Jay & the Americans until halfway through 1971, when they recorded the soundtrack for the low-budget film You Gotta Walk It Like You Talk It, which was produced by the Americans' Kenny Vance. Following the recording of the soundtrack, Becker and Fagen attempted to start a band with Denny Dias, but the venture was unsuccessful. Barbra Streisand recorded the Fagen/Becker composition ‘I Mean to Shine’ on her album Barbra Joan Streisand, released in August 1971, and the duo met producer Gary Katz, who hired them as staff songwriters for ABC/Dunhill in Los Angeles, where he had just become a staff producer. Katz suggested that Becker and Fagen form a band as a way to record their songs, and Steely Dan -- who took their name from a dildo in William Burroughs' Naked Lunch -- was formed shortly afterward. (Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AllMusic)
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