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Gaucho (Remastered) Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

269 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, October 10, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Fagen and Becker followed Aja with another Top 10 LP, this one released in late 1980. At #10, the song Hey Nineteen gave 'em their biggest hit in six years; it joins the hit Time Out of Mind (featuring Mark Knopfler); Gaucho; My Rival , and more!

The multiplatinum success of Aja made Steely Dan, the musical conceit of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, a household name. But that prosperity came bundled with a fateful triple-whammy for rock's dyspeptic duo: unrealistic commercial expectations, a critical backlash spawned by punk's nascent mewling, and the long-simmering meltdown of their artistic partnership. But the cool, perfect sheen of 1980's Gaucho tipped its hand to none of it. Ironically, those fashion victims who sniffed up their sleeves at Don and Walt's decadence-tinged Me Decade manifesto couldn't have had a clue that just maybe Gaucho's typically oblique protagonists had uncomfortably blurred from the third-person to the first this time 'round. At least that's what Becker and Fagen hint at in their smart-assed notes to this digitally remastered, definitive edition (all original artwork and printed lyrics restored) of the final album before their 20-year hiatus. Pristine and sonically polished (three years and seven studios worth), time has served Gaucho well. Even its sense of laconic detachment now seems but a logical bridge to the two-decade removed Dan of Two Against Nature. To their credit, Becker and Fagen didn't trash the first half of Steely Dan's legacy on Gaucho, they simply burnished it to oblivion. -Jerry McCulley
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 10, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Geffen
  • ASIN: B00004YX39
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (269 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,049 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 102 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Petticoffer on January 20, 2006
Format: Audio CD
"...and why is he standing in your spangled leather poncho and your elevator shoes?"

The absurdity of the lyrics--their audacious swagger--married to such righteous music can only be the work of one great band. Steely Dan doesn't rock. They don't necessarily do jazz. Their music is so unique it can only be described as "Steely Dan" music-- a trademark of quality since 1972.

While Aja is generally hailed as their triumph, I'm personally partial to this one. In fact I would rank it as one of the great albums of all time. It was also their most complex. This is amazing in light of the turmoil the Dan were undergoing during this time. Much of the work on Gaucho fell on Donald Fagen's shoulders since Walter Becker was dealing with drug problems. During the mixing sessions, Becker was largely absent after severely mangling his leg in a taxi mishap.

Gaucho is filled with songs surrounding the seamy underside of society's high rollers. It reveals a world seen through the haze of drugs and despair. It's a cathartic aural experience. If you haven't heard this album, you haven't experienced the full potential of music and the human imagination.

The title track, depicting a gay love triangle, is exquisite beyond description with its precise construction, stately horns, and a tricky melodic vocal line that tests Fagen. But what the heck is a "Custerdome?" Fagen visualized it as a fictional skyscraper with a revolving restaurant at the top. "Third World Man," an off-the-wall sketch of a child as terrorist in his sandbox bunker, features a sneering vocal and Larry Carlton's acidic guitar solo. The song began as "Were You Blind That Day?" which they left of the Aja album.
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82 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Jas on October 10, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Gaucho is probably the most perfect album ever made. It is in fact so perfect, that you don't notice how much work went into it. It was as if the album was doomed from the start and I bow deep to Donald Fagen, Walter Becker, Gary Katz and Roger Nichols that they eventually got it finished. At the time of mixing, Walter Becker was almost whacked out of life by a car so he couldn't help mixing the record. A technician fell asleep on the job and erased one of the best songs (The Second Arrangement). It took three years and a million dollars to finally get it done. But it was worth it. The musicians on this album are in top notch shape, as is production, engineering and songwriting. An absolute classic.
The lazy decadence of the opening track Babylon Sisters is the perfect music to listen to when seated in a convertible, sun shining and cruising the highway. Listen to the fading chorus at the end: that alone took three days!
Hey Nineteen is a typical Steely Dan approach to telling a story abnout a guy who is feeling he gets older,... Classic stuff.
Glamour Profession deals with addiction to drugs in a funny yet exacting way.
Title track Gaucho is a mean little story about a rendevous with great saxophone playing and abeautiful melody.
Time out of Mind features Mark Knopfler in his first stint as a session musician, an occasion he will not forget very easy. He was asked to play many hours of solos, but eventually saw seven seconds of his efforts mixed into this song. Listen carefully; blink and you've missed it.
My Rival is a song about I still can't figure out what. It is a great song, but if anybody can enlighten me about the subject, I'd be most obliged!
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Bud Sturguess on January 29, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Just like "The Royal Scam" was the darker predecessor of the already-grim "Katy Lied," likewise "Gaucho" is the darker sister of "Aja." The last album from the first lifespan of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen (better known as the sardonic Steely Dan), "Gaucho" was released a long three years after the stunning success of "Aja" (which is still hailed by many to be their masterpiece). Several factors contributed to this long interval, but most notably was a contractual dispute between MCA (ABC) and Warner Brothers, with whom Steely Dan had signed a new contract. The battle wouldn't end even when MCA won the rights to the new album, as Becker and Fagen fought (to no avail) to stop a price increase for their new record.
Nonetheless, when it was finally released, "Gaucho" gave fans the dose of Dan that they'd been craving for three years. Not surprisingly, a lot of the album's content was substantially more sardonic than that of "Aja." The former album had been just slightly less pessimistic than their previous works; for instance there was the brightness of 'Peg,' and the care-free 'Josie' (the doomsday feeling was echoed best through 'Deacon Blues'). But with "Gaucho," Becker and Fagen had convinced themselves that they had already spent their musical zenith, which understandably made the creation of this album a daunting task. The familiar pessimism of old times was the result, but here it was finally matched with the perfectionist gloss of studio sterility that had made "Aja" such a hit; examples being the death knells of "illegal fun under the sun" in 'Glamour Profession,' the paranoia of the title track and 'My Rival,' and the irnoy of 'Third World Man.
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