Out Now: Steely Dan Reissue Series of Remastered Albums from ABC/MCA Era Starts with 1972’s ‘Can’t Buy a Thrill’


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Rock Cellar Magazine

Steely Dan is best heard in crystal-clear audio — and with that in mind, a new reissue series has begun from the legendary band, remastered from the original tapes and set for a series of releases starting today, Nov. 4, and running into 2023.

This one’s certainly for the audiophiles. Per a news release:

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).

The first is now available, in the form of a revisiting of Steely Dan’s 1972 debut album, Can’t Buy a Thrill.

Click here to pick up Can’t Buy a Thrill on LP from our Rock Cellar Store ON SALE

It’s that debut record, of course, that features some of the most well-known Steely Dan songs, including “Dirty Work,” “Do It Again” and “Reelin’ in the Years”:

This reissue series comes on the heels of the Sept. 2021 release of Steely Dan’s Northeast Corridor: Steely Dan Live! and a live version of Donald Fagen’s acclaimed solo album, The Nightfly Live — click here for more on those titles.

As for the rest of the scheduled releases in this remastered reissue series:

Additional albums will roll out periodically throughout 2022 and 2023 and will include the band’s sprawling 1973 sophomore LP, Countdown to Ecstasy, with such standouts as “Bodhisattva,” “Show Biz Kids” and “My Old School,” sung by Donald Fagen who took over as lead vocalist; 1974’s jazzy Pretzel Logic, their first Top 10 album with the massive hit, “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number;” 1975’s swing-pop perfection Katy Lied, with highlights “Black Friday,” “Bad Sneakers” and “Doctor Wu,” and the addition of Michael McDonald on vocals; 1976’s guitar-driven The Royal Scam, featuring “Kid Charlemagne” and “The Fez;” 1977’s platinum-selling jazz-rock masterwork Aja, which includes the three hit singles – “Deacon Blues,” Peg” and “Josie” – and the elegant title cut; and their final album for MCA, and last for 20 years, 1980’s brilliant Gaucho, with “Hey Nineteen,” and “Time Out Of Mind,” featuring Mark Knopfler on guitar.

And yet more of the fine print regarding the “audiophile” interest in mind with these reissues:

All albums are being meticulously remastered by Bernie Grundman from the original analog tapes except for Aja, which will be mastered from an analog, non-EQ’d, tape copy, and Gaucho, which will be sourced from a 1980 analog tape copy originally EQ’d by Bob Ludwig. (There’s no evidence the original tapes containing the flat mixes of Aja and Gaucho were delivered to the record label and it’s presumed the tapes no longer exist.) Lacquers for UMe’s standard 33 1/3 RPM 180-gram version will be cut by Alex Abrash at his renowned AA Mastering studio from high-resolution digital files of Grundman’s new masters and pressed at Precision. They will be housed in reproductions of the original artwork.

The 45 RPM UHQR version will be pressed at Analogue Productions’ Quality Record Pressings on 200-gram Clarity Vinyl, packaged in a deluxe box, and will include a booklet detailing the entire process of making a UHQR along with a certificate of inspection. Each UHQR is pressed, using hand-selected vinyl, with attention paid to every single detail of every single record. All of the innovations introduced by QRP that have been generating such incredible critical acclaim are applied to each UHQR. The 200-gram records feature the same flat profile that helped to make the original UHQR so desirable.



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