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91 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Who is that gaucho amigo?"
"...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...
Published on January 20, 2006 by Dennis Petticoffer

versus
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Steely Dan takes the smooth route for good
After Aja, the Dan's first real venture into the realms of smooth, another album followed with even less intricate song structures and rhythms (aside from "Babylon Sisters"). However, the simplicity is very deliberate, accomplished masterfully, and is somewhat called for.

This album is, of course, perfectly produced and still has the same complex Steely Dan...
Published on June 7, 2007 by A. Parks


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91 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Who is that gaucho amigo?", January 20, 2006
By 
Dennis Petticoffer (Orange, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gaucho (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.

"Babylon Sisters" is hipper than hip with its funky keyboard run-up, slick horns, and girl singers biting off quick syllables. This is followed by the equally jivey "Hey Nineteen" in which the singer gushes over "The Cuervo Gold" and "the fine Columbian." It's a real hoot, as the singer, an older dude, tries to enlighten his teenage companion about Sixties soul music.

"Glamour Profession" concerns the activities of a coke sniffing basketball player named Hoops McCann. It burbles with synths and sleazy saxes. It's luxuriant tone is intoxicating. The bridge is co-opted from Kurt Weill's "Speak Low," with a dash of disco added.

This would prove to be the last great Steely Dan album. More trouble followed it's release. Keith Jarrett successfully sued the band for plagiarizing his "Long As You Know You're Living Yours" on the title track. Shortly after the album was issued, Fagen applied for a spot in Dylan's touring band. He never heard back from Zimmy. One can only imagine what that collaboration would have wrought!

Unable to top this masterpiece, it would be 20 years before Steely Dan put out another album of new material.
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75 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The soundtrack of decadence, October 10, 2000
By 
Ralph Jas (Delfgauw, the Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Gaucho (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!
Legend has it that Third World Man is constructed around a solo that was lying around from the Royal Scam sessions (1976). A haunting melody and indeed a GREAT solo by Larry Carlton.
That concludes my review for one of the best albums by one of the best outfits. Buy this one and you'll find it in your player more often then you would think.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The End of Steely Dan's First Era, January 29, 2004
By 
This review is from: Gaucho (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.' Some moments do resemble "Aja" to a T; 'Babylon Sisters,' 'Time Out Of Mind,' and 'Hey Nineteen,' the view of a man who finds himself out of touch with what's new. Still, even these tracks are executed with a weariness that was even more evident within Steely Dan than before.
"Gaucho" would ultimately signal the end for this first era of Steely Dan; Fagen would find solo success with a Top 20 album, and Becker would pursue low-key projects. Of course, the duo re-united by the 90s and would eventually release two more widely acclaimed and popular albums. Knowing this makes "Gaucho" easier to listen to. If it had been the definite end of Steely Dan, it would be an unsatisfying breaking point, but fortunately for us, it wasn't.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars System showoff, totally enjoyable, December 20, 2004
By 
This review is from: Gaucho (Audio CD)
When we built our new home last year we installed a surround system on the living room set. Like an idiot I've purchased about 30 of these discs so I have something to listen to on it. There are alot of suround discs with minor alterations from the stereo versions that don't yield very extraordinary results.

This disc is by far the best use of the suround technology. It opens the music up, allowing each instrument to be heard without competition and the resut is glorious.

What is more, the music lacks a center point so the sound sounds good all over the room, not just in one chair.

More SACD producers should take cues from the great production evident on this album. SACD would have a real future if all released were this good. Please, more Steely Dan please sir.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Returning to my S. Dan Roots, June 8, 2007
By 
T. B. Reid "Reid My Lips" (Fort Worth, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gaucho [DVD Audio] (DVD Audio)
I recently purchased an Acura TL that is equipped (from the factory) with DVD Audio. Since gaining this lovely accessory, I have been purchasing discs for the car of some favorite recordings which have been reissued or remastered for DVD Audio. Being a life-long S Dan devotee, I grabbed Gaucho as soon as I found it and went for a drive. Although not as lively as some other DVD Audio discs I have found, Gaucho sounds great. For instance, when Michael McDonald chimes in for his background vocal on "Time Out of Mind", it sounds like the man's head is sitting on the dashboard!! This disc is easily worth the price. If you have DVD Audio capability, pony up and order, now.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent, but still the only Steely SACD, August 5, 2005
This review is from: Gaucho (Audio CD)
For me, this album closes off the 1970s. It had been a magnificent decade for intelligent rock music, despite the murderous intent of punk from 1976 onwards. It was somehow fitting that Walter Becker and Donald Fagen should sign off with one of their saddest but most beautiful songs, 'Third World Man'. The pair don't play any of the instruments on that closing track. And with that, it's farewell to incarnation #1 of Steely Dan.

Although it was immaculately recorded, I don't think there are many Dan fans who believed the overall quality of the album was quite up there with any of the previous six classics. Which begs the question, why is it that only this Steely Dan album has made it to SACD? There is no doubt that the three previous albums -- Katy Lied, Royal Scam and Aja -- would all benefit from a 5.1 surround remastering for SACD.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a revelation, April 24, 2004
This review is from: Gaucho (Audio CD)
A much loved album since its release I find myself blown away by the new multi channel mix.Just amazingly revealing ...........makes a compelling case for the new hi res digital media.
Ain't no going back to plain old stereo now for this listener!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tribute towards an end of an era in American music:, October 18, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Gaucho (Audio CD)
The sardonic brain trust that comprised Steely Dan in this outing, explore with delicious irony and wit various ills and taboo associated with American societal organisation; moreover, in the decade that followed the one undeniable theme that comes from this album and its predecessor (Aja) is that despite the inevitable innovation, production advances and marketing associated with the music industry, that those lyrics and music, which will stand the test of time comes from both individual musician and songwriters whose passion is to tell us a story or to evoke through music both pleasure and pain that has been either masked or embellished. Something the popular music failed to accomplish in the eighties, thanks goodness these musician and lyricist saw fit to utilise, jazz, pop rock and words to suggest to the next generation of musician and songwriters that it is indeed about the music.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing sound, July 17, 2008
This review is from: Gaucho [DVD Audio] (DVD Audio)
One of the best DVD-A in my collection! I own a SACD to, sometime think what's better. . .no different. The 5.1 stunning surround sound is a wonderful experience. Very mighty and rich. From months ago, till today, this is my favorite music pick. I recommend other Steely Dan's remasters, that I call music.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pull the trigger on this if you have a surround sound system!, October 24, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Gaucho [DVD Audio] (DVD Audio)
If you have a 5.1 setup in your car or home, don't even think, just get this while you can! This CD has well mixed surround audio. Not too much, not too little... just right. If you have never bought a surround audio DVD before and you have a surround sound setup...you need to experience this! A great audio demo source for your home theatre system! Once again the recording industry has harmed itself by allowing two competing technologies (DVD Audio and SACD). It looks like DVD Audio has gone the way of Beta, SACD is still hanging on but barely. SACD requires a special player, while DVD Audio plays in any DVD player. Why doesn't the music industry mandate the killing of SACD and ressurect DVD Audio and start producing quality surround sound material? Seems to me that could go a long way towards saving the music industry. Surround is here to stay. Who would bother downloading stereo MP3s when you could go purchase a reasonably priced DVD audio with amazing surround?
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Gaucho
Gaucho by Steely Dan (Audio CD - 2000)
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