Can't Buy a Thrill - ABD Records 1972
The lead vocals are not all sung by Donald Fagen, who leaves some of them to singer David Palmer. In fact two of the very best songs, "Brooklyn" and "Dirty Work" are sung by Palmer. Other core members at this point were guitarists Jeff "Skunk" Baxter and Denny Dias with Jim Hodder on drums.
The songs are generally very cacthy and melodic, with "Do it Again" and "Reelin 'in the Years" both making it the top-twenty in the charts.
The music can, at some points be compared with country-rock bands like The Eagles or America, but with more musical refinements. Virtually all songs can be called classics, and the album definitely belongs among the group's most successful.
The rhythmic side, which has always been a very important part of the group-profile, is apparent with the infectious beats of "Do It Again", "Only a Fool" and "Brooklyn."
"Fire in the Hole" is a song pointing more towards future directions - a rather complex melody, which is really very melodic and song likely to grow on you. One song, "Midnight Cruiser" sung by drummer Jim Hodder, almost sounds like a James Taylor song.
All in all a terrific debut album, which still has appeal and charm, and with Becker and Fagens songwriting already at a very high level - more commercial, perhaps, than what would later come.