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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2007
Donald Fagen and Walter Becker can do no wrong as far as I'm concerned. This final album before Steely Dan's storied 20-year hiatus is just as ultra-smooooooooth as it gets, capturing that early-80s cocaine-infused vibe pretty flawlessly. And even after they got back to work, releasing "Two Against Nature" and "Everything Must Go" in rapid succession, they were still head and shoulders above 95% of the pop trash that passes for music these days. How unfortunate that radio programmers won't give them the time of day anymore.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2000
And so we come to what I assume is the end of the Steely Dan remastering project. Aja was the last Dan album recorded in analogue (and apparently Fagen & Becker did consider recording Gaucho digitally).
I was expecting this to be the Dan album that benefitted least from the re-mastering process -- as it was the most recent of the analogue albums -- but no, wrong again. So much new detail is revealed in the mix that it constantly battles for my 100% attention. In the past I could work quite happily with a Dan album playing in the background, but all these remastered versions just insist that I drop everything else and listen. It's almost like listening to an entirely new set of tunes.
Once again we have Becker and Fagen's elliptic sleeve notes. They contribute a vital perspective on what was going on at the time, without saying much about what was actually going on. There is no reference to the copyright lawsuit that Keith Jarrett pursued and won -- compare the opening to 'Gaucho' and then Jan Garbarek's sax opening on 'Long as You Know You're Living Yours' on the 'Belonging' album. What was such a talented songwriting team thinking of?
Allegedly Becker and Fagen made extensive use of a drum machine for this album -- Fagen felt that no drummer could keep a perfect beat -- but a human drummer is given a credit on each track.
Sadly Denny Dias is not on this album. The track listings on the entire remastered series have made the fullest declaration yet of who played what on each track, and I have been astonished to find out this year how often Dias played some of my favourite 1970's guitar solos.
Larry Carlton, one of the the Dan's most stalwart session guitarists, turns up for just the last track, "Third World Man", and boy, is that solo a goodie. Apparently the solo had been hanging around, unused, in the Dan vaults for a number of years, and Fagen finally wrote the song around the solo. It is a fantastic finale to the end of the first Dan era -- seven diamond-encrusted albums from what was the world's finest pop/rock/jazz/whatever band. We will not see the likes of them again.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2000
Danfans rejoice!! The remastered version of Steely Dan's final album for MCA has finally been released, more than a year after the reissue of "Aja". In the liner notes Becker and Fagen make light of the lengthy delay of this re-release. From the accidental erasing of one of the songs slated for the album(The Second Arrangement) to Walter Becker being hit by a car, and the two plus years spent in the studio making this record, this obviously was a trying time for Messrs. Becker and Fagen, but the strain doesn't show. For years "Gaucho" has been unfairly compared to their previous album(which is a masterpiece, but we don't need to get into that now), this album is just as strong and stands very well on its own. Great songs like "Babylon Sisters", "Time Out Of Mind", and "Hey Nineteen" are classics that have held up well and will sound great years beyond now. An excellent first class reissue.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2004
if you have a surround sound setup and Super Audio player,

do yourself a favor and purchase this Hybrid SACD of Gaucho.

Not only is the original recording hi-fi, but the surround mix is thoughtful, daring, dynamic, and balanced.

i've heard many albums done well in surround (The Who's Tommy, Roxy Music's Avalon), but this one is the best sounding.

i find myself listening to this a lot.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2007
This album was bought on a nostalgic-for-high-school-days jag while far from home. I think this album has some of this group's strongest lyrics and melodies. "Babylon Sisters" and "Hey Nineteen" -- what great stories they are; everything you need for the end of a perfect day. Other albums by Steely Dan have not aged so well and the new stuff by Donald Fagen is a train wreck.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2005
Recorded in 1979 and released in 1980, Gaucho was part of that period of transition between the groovy 70s and preppy/conservative early-80s that yielded some weird fads and fashions like PacMania, Solid Gold dancers, moon boots, terry-cloth shirts, leg warmers, and Rubiks Cube.

Contemporaneous hits like "Pop Muzik" by M were disco-hybrids. Enter the last Steely Dan album, Gaucho, an interesting mix of lyrical pop and decadent disco. While having a strong resemblance to its predecessor, Aja, it amplified the slick, garish disco elements of the former Steely Dan album on the songs "Babylon Sisters" and "Glamour Profession".

But their trademark studio professionalism was precisely honed with the addition of even more top-flight studio musicians like Larry Carlton, Joe Sample, Mark Knopfler, and David Sanborn. The hits "Hey Nineteen" and "Time Out Of Mind" were constantly played on the FM-light radio stations. The album cuts, "Gaucho", "My Rival" and "Third World Man", displayed that Fagen's lyrical songwriting ability was only getting better with time. Also, the album has great keyboard-playing by Fagen, Joe Sample, and others. Recording-wise, Gaucho has probably the best sound of any Steely Dan album (it received a 1981 Grammy award for best-engineered non-classical album), and is one of the classic pop albums from the early 80s.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2000
I'll have to take issue with the previous review written by Greg Ulbrich. Greg called me at work to tell me how taken aback he was by the results of this new remastering of "Gaucho" (which is just about my favorite Steely Dan effort). So I thought, "How bad could it be? " After work I went home, and we listened to it together. Sorry to disagree, sweetheart, but this CD is totally BOSS. Sure, the bass is a little pumped up, but if you have the equipment to play this little baby, you can adjust it to your heart's content. As for the relegation of the backing vocals to the rear channels, I'll admit it was a bit disorienting at first, but we're so used to simple stereo that any recording in this format is likely to be a little jarring. THIS IS THE FUTURE OF RECORDED MUSIC. Get used to it! Oh, how I love "Gaucho." "The Glamour Profession" has got to be one of the coolest, slickest tracks of all time. Greg, I'll bet you'll be giving this recording FIVE STARS a year from now!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2008
The last of the early Dan albums, and I say it's a pretty good one... I personally prefer all prior albums to this one but it is a fitting swan song fer everything Steely. Some awesome tunes like the title track, "Time Out Of Mind" (which features Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler on guitar-leads, and the only track with Michael McDonald backin' them vox up) & the radio staple "Hey Nineteen".
The production & musicianship on the album is as-always flawless! I look at the album basically as the less accessible AJA, not necessarily a bad thing at all. But I would say if you aren't a total Steely nut yet then try out maybe AJA or Can't Buy A Thrill as firsties to git your whistle soggy first...
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 10, 2008
Having previously enjoyed Steely Dan exclusively on the radio, it's been a blast to get into their albums. I was under the mistaken impression that everything they've done sounds great, but essentially the same. Yes, they have a distinctive sound, but the variety on GAUCHO is impressive. When I'm not distracted by the funny, sardonic lyrics, the title track is actually a thing of great beauty. I sometimes wish it were in a foreign language so I could just soak in the gorgeousness of the unexpectedly hymnlike melodic turns and chorus. Overall, superb musicianship, instrumentation and arrangements reveal multiple layers and details that paint lovely, funky sound pictures. I don't know the personal sagas of Becker and Fagen, so I can't comment on the cynical, funny lyrics other than to say that nobody does cynical and funny better than Steely Dan. Even when I have no idea what the hell they're talking about, I'm seduced by the sophisticated synchronicity of music and lyrics. "Time Out of Mind" is an uplifting gem enhanced by the guitar of Mark Knopfler, "Third World Man" is sad and sinister with a bit of Dylanish inflection, "My Rival" makes me laugh even as I'm bopping to the groove, "Hey Nineteen" is funny in the way only self-mockery can be -- and all of it sails along with some of the best hooks in the business. Hope I don't sound like a cliche, because GAUCHO sure doesn't. What took me so long? Better late than never...
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2006
The ultimate ear candy. What it is, I am not 100% sure. It epitomizes the Southern California lifestyle.

"Babylon Sisters" and "Glamour Profession" should be the standards to test ALL sound systems (along with "In My Room" by the Beach Boys, of course).

You don't need Cuervo Gold or "fine Columbian" to enjoy this sonic delight.
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