Like another one of Steely Dan’s Aja hits “Deacon Blues,” “Josie” has a specially written intro revisited later in the song that’s absolutely killer. The song’s subject is the neighborhood party girl (or whore?) who can never say no, and the boys are rejoicing her return. Take that, along with Chuck Rainey’s brooding bass and Larry Carlton’s and Dean Parks’ richly funky rhythm guitars, and you have one of Steely Dan’s best shindig tunes. This being the 70s, there was still room on the radio for a blues with half of the expected chords replaced with jazz ones and even become popular (this one reached #26 on the Hot 100 charts).
To the already long list of legendary drummers to have played on a Steely Dan date, you can add Jim Keltner, now. Ever an equal to Hal Blaine, Jim Gordon and Jeff Porcaro, Keltner has drummed for all the ex-Beatles except for Paul, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and Crosby, Stills and Nash. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, too. His signature fill that restarts “Josie” after a brief stop toward the end of the song is a memorable moment and pure Keltner: not flashy, but very, very precise. There will be another drumming legend to perform on a live recording of this song many years later, but I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Suffice to say, it’s all world musicianship applied to a tightly constructued song that puts “Josie” over the top and puts an exclamation point to the most solid Steely Dan album of their entire discography. So, what else is new?