Steely Dan’s Classic Catalog to be Remastered From Original Tapes

Steely Dan’s classic catalog remaster & reissue from original tapes onto 180-gram vinyl starts with “Can’t Buy A Thrill” on November 4.

(via Markets Insider)

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Led by the songwriting and virtuoso musical duo of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, Steely Dan released an extraordinary run of seven albums on ABC Records and MCA Records from 1972 through 1980. Filled with topline musicianship, clever and subversive wordplay, ironic humor, genius arrangements, and pop hits that outshone the Top 40 of its day, their records, which were as sophisticated and cerebral as they were inscrutable, were stylistically diverse, melding their love of jazz with rock, blues, and impeccable pop songcraft.

Now at long last, Steely Dan’s classic ABC and MCA Records catalog will return to vinyl with an extensive yearlong reissue program of the band’s first seven records, which is being personally overseen by founding member Donald Fagen. The LPs, most of which haven’t been widely available since their original release, will be available on 33 1/3 RPM 180-gram black vinyl via Geffen/UMe, and as a limited-edition premium 45 RPM version on Ultra High-Quality Vinyl (UHQR) from Analogue Productions, the audiophile in-house reissue label of Acoustic Sounds. Analogue Productions will also release this series of titles on Super Audio CD (SACD)…

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Songs You May Have Missed #734

Toy Matinee: “Last Plane Out” (1990)

Producer Patrick Leonard, having earned Warner Brothers Records around half a billion dollars by co-writing and producing Madonna albums such as True Blue, Like a Prayer and I’m Breathless, was asked by label chair Mo Austin “What would you like?”.

He replied, “I just want to make a record”, meaning a record of his own material.

Patrick Leonard

The result was Toy Matinee, the one and only album by the band of the same name–possibly the best band ever to have released only one record.

Leonard collaborated with bassist Guy Pratt, singer/multi-instrumentalist Kevin Gilbert, drummer Brian MacLeod, and guitarist Tim Pierce–most of whom had previously worked together on Madonna albums.

Probably because of this previous musical collaboration, the collective gelled into a band, felt like a band, and played like a real band immediately in a way that astounded producer/engineer Bill Bottrell.

Kevin Gilbert

Leonard, being a fan of progressive rock and jazz fusion, had previously sprinkled Madonna songs with largely unnoticed touches of the influence of such artists–“sneaking a lot of stuff by people”, as he described it.

For example, the outro of “Like a Prayer” has a bass line that mimics Jaco Pastorius of Weather Report.

“Cherish” features a shuffle beat in the style of drummer Bernard Purdie, played by Jeff Porcaro. Both Purdie and Porcaro are Steely Dan session alumni.

And the lead track from Toy Matinee, “Last Plane Out”, opens with a conspicuously nimble-fingered, too-good-for-pop acoustic intro that owes a debt to Gentle Giant.

Bill Bottrell

Bottrell’s production helped create an album that straddles the worlds of mainstream, “accessible” music and something more ambitious by reigning in the proggier tendencies of the session aces in the room.

All this and so much more is explained by the band themselves in this short documentary about the making of an album that once filled cutout bins and is now a hard-to-find cult favorite fetching top dollar.

“Last Plane Out” was one of two single releases from the LP, both of which peaked at #23 on Billboard‘s Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

The band never cracked the Pop top 40 and the album only managed a peak US chart position of #129.

There are no true band photos to share here because, being session players with other commitments, the guys who recorded the album never toured it. Kevin Gilbert assembled an entirely new band that performed the material on several short tours.

If only Toy Matinee could have had a career, not just an album.

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The Day Disco Died: Remembering the Unbridled Chaos of “Disco Demolition Night”


On this day in 1979, a fun MLB promotional event quickly devolved into the most infamous and controversial event in disco history.

In the late 70s, dance-oriented disco was one of the most popular musical genres in the United States. Seminal films such as Saturday Night Fever and Disco Godfather greatly influenced the music scene, while artists like the Bee Gees, ABBA, KC and the Sunshine Band, and Donna Summer became repeated record plays for many.

While disco provided a fun, novel outlet and style of dress to many people, it sparked major backlash from fans of rock music. Critics at the time often feared that the rise of the disco would quickly lead to a decay in rock after disco albums dominated the 21st Grammy Awards in 1978.

When Chicago’s WDAI-FM switched from rock to disco and DJ Steve Dahl got fired in 1978, the moves sparked a paradigm shift. Quickly hired at rival Chicago rock station WLUP and playing off the publicity surrounding his firing, Dahl created a mock organization called “Insane Coho Lips” consisting of his group of anti-disco listeners…

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