It would be easy to dismiss the song “Blues Beach” as “Hey Nineteen” lite. While lyrically they have nothing in common, musically — at least on the surface — they both have a simple and almost conventional rock ‘n’ roll rhythm.
Both songs feature a straightforward and effective rhythm guitar part by the late Hugh McCracken and a guitar solo by Walter Becker. Also, both songs feature a strong background vocal track, the former being contributed by Steely Dan ingénue, Carolyn Leonhart.
In many ways, “Blues Beach” continues the lyrically direct approach started on the song “Things I Miss The Most.” Unfortunately, musically, the song is a little too happy-go-lucky. The song could also use a bigger hook. Walter Becker contributes the most restrained Steely Dan guitar solo ever (moving Mark Knopfler’s solo on “Time Out Of Mind” to #2 on that list).
“Blues Beach” isn’t a bad song, but it doesn’t seem to fit, especially after the fantastic, “Things I Miss The Most,” and before the gem we explore next Sunday, “Godwhacker.”