Steely Dan Sunday, “Good Stuff” (2012)

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“Good Stuff” finds Donald Fagen in a fighting and funky mood.

The rhythm section of Fagen and Michael Leonhart pops. Guitarist Jon Herington applies funky ghost notes and distorted breaks while moving the song along. Herington is an undisputed, champion utility outfielder, capable of filling any role with just the right part. Carolyn Leonhart and Catherine Russell keep the sass going with their sharp, almost staccato backing vocals.

Donald Fagen is the real star here, though. He passionately spits out lyrics like:

We cab down to the Same Mart
For Lookey Luke
They all lounging in the lobby
Then we do what we come to do
Lotsy goes down easy
Moe takes it in the face
Weinberg Brothers
Run for cover
Squirtin’ metal all over the place

There’s a special satisfaction
When a job comes off so right
Better break out the Good Stuff
The Boss wants to party all night

This time Fagen brings lyrics which are a equal to his stellar arrangements. Fagen also whips out his melodica to handle the main theme and the solo in the songs instead of relying on Will Galison’s harmonica. This solo section seems like a perfect place for a burning Herington solo, but Fagen’s unconventional bit of casting works just fine. Equally effective are the space trumpet parts provided by Michael Leonhart and the vibes parts which mesh perfectly with Fagen’s Fender Rhodes and Wurlitzer pianos.

This surely is the good stuff. In fact, it doesn’t get much better.

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