2020 Album Draft- Round 14- Pick 7 Box Sets- MSJADELI selects- Steely Dan- Citizen Steely Dan 1972-1980.
I’m not an expert or even close to one in regards to Steely Dan; more of a tireless appreciator of their audio body of work that has pleased, thrilled, and inspired. Back in the day I’m trying to remember a time when Steely Dan didn’t having something on the air. Masterful musicians playing an amalgam of instruments, the throaty, soulful ecstasy of the vocals, and the absorbing nature of the lyrics has kept me ensnared from the first listen. I love the natural sophistication of their creations, and the jazzy-ness of it elevates it into the celestial realm.
Up until I started reading Hans’ blog, the only Steely Dan I owned was Aja. Why did I need to own more when they were plentiful on the radio? Times have changed. I don’t listen to commercial radio anymore – unless it’s NPR – so when Hans posted on the box set, Citizen Steely Dan: 1972-1980, it was a cue to acquire it. Seeing the gems amassed is like when the hobbit stumbled into The Lonely Mountain and saw all of the dwarf treasure Smaug had been guarding.
Citizen Steely Dan: 1972-1980 is a four-CD box set compilation album released in 1993. It’s a collection of all of Steely Dan’s albums (up to 1980) in chronological order, and also contains a non-album single, a non-album B-side, a rare compilation track recorded during the sessions for The Royal Scam but released only on the 1978 Greatest Hits, and a previously unreleased demo of “Everyone’s Gone to the Movies.” It is not a complete compilation of every track released by Steely Dan up to 1993.
The compilation was the first release of the remastered versions of Steely Dan’s albums until Glenn Meadows remastered studio albums in 1998, from the digital masters archived by Donald Fagen, Gary Katz and Roger Nichols in 1982. The digital tapes were prepared because the original analog tapes were in very poor shape.
Altogether on the 4 discs are 66 songs offering almost 5 hours of music. All tracks are written by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, except one song written by Duke Ellington/Buber Miley and two songs co-written by Becker/Fagan, one with Keith Jarrett and one with Paul Griffin. Not too shabby!
Choosing favorites out the bunch wasn’t easy. The first one, Midnight Cruiser, is sung by David Palmer, before Fagan took over lead vocals. I wrote about this song awhile back, at
They are sooo good on the next one:
The bridge on the next one has me sighing in aural ecstasy.
I couldn’t go without sharing what is probably my favorite Steely Dan song. It’s perfect.
And finally, the jazzy goodness of Gaucho.