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The Steely Damned

The original Steely Dan songs -- especially post­Royal Scam -- were so meticulously arranged and brilliantly played that it's a thrill to hear Walter Becker and Donald Fagen's musical fussiness copied so faithfully. Lead singer Bob Tedde doesn't sound exactly like Fagen, but he's got the laconic inflections down. And the hands of guitarist Hank Easton channel original Jeff "Skunk" Baxter's licks so well it's scary -- to say nothing of his rock-solid copy of Jay Graydon's lead on "Peg," 12 bars of the most innovative rock guitar ever recorded. It says something that it takes 15 dedicated people to imitate the sound of a band that consisted of two guys. But that's the beauty of the Dan -- and the duty of the Damned.

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