Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Catalyst: The Original Recordings (1968-71)
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
Them sly steelies
oldbollweevil | Tokyo | 09/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you have the Citizen box, you may remember where Messr. B&F lament the fact that there was virtually nothing in the way of unreleased goodies with which to augment the canon and titillate the hardcore. But then you may have wondered at the old magazine ad reprinted in the Citizen booklet which touted two non-album Dan songs: "Dallas" and "Sail The Water Way." And then, upon getting this set, a wealth of unreleased shtuff, you may well begin to imagine that Walt and Don were yanking our collective chain."Dallas" and "Water Way" aren't here, but a whole lot of good stuff is. It's rough, to be sure: often skeletal instrumentation, a bit of tape hiss, some raw vocals--but all that can be forgiven due to the quality of songs (and may even be refreshing after the lacquered perfection of 2VN). The songs are incredible. "Sun Mountain," in Donald's vocal version, is probably the most heart-rending ballad they ever did. "Mock Turtle" features some funny, literate lyrics, a tight band performance, and a Walter Becker lead vocal (!). Listen to the piano/lead vocal/backup vocal interplay on "A Little With Sugar." The syncopated pop sundae "You Go Where I Go." The deliciously scandalous lyrics to "Soul Ram." The world-weary Fagen take on "Brooklyn." There's just too much to love about these songs.The packaging, too, is first-rate--at least for this type of just-barely-legal release. An extensive essay detailing the early days of the band, coupled with a chart showing who plays what on which track (of course, who knows how accurate this is).I guess I can understand why perfectionist parents like Becker and Fagen might be reluctant to acknowledge this love-child of a set, but the rest of us need have no such qualms. If you like Mr. Steely Dan and whatever, you must hear this."
Dawn of the Dan.. better than juvenalia for the Dan Fans.
dvdtrkr | San Diego CA | 05/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Steely Dan have a limited amount of albums they've put out over the years. When they put their box set out, there were almost no rare cuts on there (except 1). For some reason their first single was left off of there as well...
In 1980, Kenny Vance, formerly of Jay and the Americans, had recorded Becker and Fagen in the Brill Building (although very few would record their songs, Streisand being the only one of note ("I Mean to Shine") and put out demos called "The Early Years" which contain recordings made in between 1968-1971. A soundtrack called "You've Gotta Walk It" has also surfaced containing early Becker and Fagen recordings.
If this is out of print, look up "Android Warehouse", which is 1 track less than this collection, but the same songs.
The first CD has that "Brill Building" demo sound, just Don and Walt and a piano, with Kenny Vance occasionally singing. Some of the tracks (Caves, Barrytown, Charlie Freak, Any World, Parkers Band) would be on the Dan's next 5 albums. Far from the refined sound they'd be known for, they sound like 2 guys banging away on a piano for the purpose of the more polished performers of the day, never thinking that these tapes would ever be released (to their dismay, but write it off as "putting someone's kid through college").
The second CD is the embryonic band version of Steely Dan. Denny Dias, who had been a part of Steely Dan before they worked exclusively in the studio is on most of the tracks. The vocalists are either Donald or Keith Thomas, not David Palmer who sang on their first 2 "legit" albums "Can't Buy a Thrill" and "Countdown to Ecstasy". "Brooklyn" is a slower "groovy" version than would be released on "Can't Buy a Thrill".
The music is rough around the edges, but the pieces are in place for what would make them successful.
Recommended because the demos are better than most and worthy of the 4 stars, but not recommended because Becker and Fagen had no say in putting it out... also not recommended for people who don't have the 73-80 era albums.
The raw stuff
dvdtrkr | 04/21/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This 2-CD set is a bit pricey for anyone who isn't a stone-coldDan freak. But it's amazing to consider the level of Don and Walt'sgrasp of pop craft even this young, with no money, with one crummy piano (Disc 1), with little hope and with no studio to speak of.Dig the modulations and cool time-sig shifts in the intro to "Old Regime"! Check the rock-solid pop of the alternate version of "Sun Mountain" (that's Kenny Vance singing it instead of Fagen; I actually like it better than Fagen's vocal)! Get your skeevy mind blown by the subversive, bluesy swing of "Let George Do It"! And more! Much more!Well, yeah, but those are the high points. Still, if you really dig Dan -- or even better, if you think SD is nothing more than 2nd-rate easy listening with a layer of studio lacquer -- lend an ear... It's not especially good singin' or good playin', and minimal recordin', but the songs (most of them, anyway) are gems. END"