It’s hard to explain sometimes why I like Steely Dan so much. They are a funky band filled by guys who aren’t funky at all, playing with a bunch of groove, even though they aren’t groovy at all. They have hints of jazz in their sound, but they aren’t jazz musicians… they are just… Steely Dan. On their third album, “Pretzel Logic”, I remain thoroughly impressed by the quality of the playing and production. The sound quality and musical structure is just remarkable and ahead of many of their peers at the time.
This record opens with their biggest hit of the album, “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number”, which is a song I like but don’t love. Even with that, it is a comfortable and warm beginning to another strong Steely Dan performance. The rest of side one is equally strong, with “Night by Night”, “Any Major Dude Will Tell You” (which is a song I did previously know and really like), “Barrytown”, and an unusual Duke Ellington jazz cover, “East St. Louis Toodle-Oo”.
Side two brings us back to a more familiar Steely Dan sound on the up-tempo “Parker’s Band”, and the title track on side two is just a perfect capture of their groove, harmonies, and beat. This album is not their most famous or recognized, but if you enjoy the Steely Dan sound, I’m quite confident you will enjoy this entire album.