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The Royal Scam Original recording remastered


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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, November 23, 1999
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Kid Charlemagne 4:38$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  2. The Caves Of Altamira 3:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Don't Take Me Alive 4:16$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Sign In Stranger 4:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. The Fez 4:01$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Green Earrings 4:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Haitian Divorce 5:51$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Everything You Did 3:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. The Royal Scam 6:30$1.29  Buy MP3 

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Frequently Bought Together

The Royal Scam + Aja + Katy Lied
Price for all three: $15.97

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 23, 1999)
  • Original Release Date: 1976
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Mca
  • ASIN: B00003002D
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (161 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,547 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This scam went off without a hitch, reaching #15 in 1976 and hitting the charts with Kid Charlemagne and The Fez . The Dan are at their wry, sardonic best here, with gems like Green Earrings and Haitian Divorce -and this reissue has complete lyrics and original artwork for the first time since the album's original release!

Amazon.com

Ever the primary conceit of mainstays Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, 1976's The Royal Scam marks the first time the Steely Dan duo actually owned up to the fact. Musically, it's their edgiest, most guitar-driven record (thanks to Becker and a murderer's row of session greats that includes Larry Carlton, Elliot Randall, Dean Parks, and Denny Dias). Lyrically, the songs cut an ever-sardonic, presciently discomforting slice of modern life that was a couple decades ahead of the game (who else was extolling the virtues of condom-couture, à la "The Fez," mid-Me Decade?). Though it didn't garner the radio attention of Aja, its more jazz-suffused, multiplatinum follow-up, Scam boasts a diverse, occasionally muscular musical rhetoric and some of the Dan's most telling portraits (the deranged, yet all-too-familiar killer of "Don't Take Me Alive," "Kid Charlemagne"'s drug-culture celebrity, the tropical convenience of a "Haitian Divorce"). Small wonder many Dan fans consider it their best. --Jerry McCulley

Customer Reviews

And this is one of their best albums.
jerryjoe
The musical theme of the album is a brilliant balance between Fagen & Becker's song construction and the incredible guitar solos of Carlton & Co.
"cousindupree"
Like I said, I can't describe the album, just its effect on me, and in very vague terms.
Violet

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 20, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Die hard rock fans who cringe at the sound of horn sections and piano solos often dismiss Steely Dan with comments such as, "but they're JAZZ," as though uttering a dirty word. I think The Royal Scam would be a good place to begin for those who may be willing to give Fagen and Becker another chance. Try the following: program Kid Charlemagne, Don't Take Me Alive, The Fez, and Green Earrings on your CD player, put on your headphones, pump up the volume, and by the end of the last track you'll be in air guitar heaven! Then start playing the entire CD from beginning to end several times in a row (it is designed as a concept album), listen to the lyrics carefully (it can be like poetry, obscure but worth the effort of interpretation), and I'll bet (like so many of my at-first resistant friends), you'll become a convert, ready to try more of their recordings (perhaps Countdown to Ecstacy would be a good next choice). Steely Dan's music is NOT jazz (although they have fused its elements into their sound seamlessly), but like the best jazz (not the "smooth" psuedo-fusion variety), it may at first seem too complex or disjointed to an ear accustomed to and expecting the easy pleasures of formulaic top 40 hits. But once the Dan's music has insinuated itself deep into your system (mind, heart, and soul), the intoxicating pleasures that it ultimately does give up will never grow tired, dated or stale. Steely Dan is timeless. Trust me!
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Rollie Anderson on May 16, 2005
Format: Audio CD
From the first note I could tell the remastering done on this classic album was top-notch. The incredible drums are so crisp and clear that it sounds like you are standing in the booth with them. This is the one that sort of flew under the radar because it lacked that "monster" hit song that was so important to the record promotion guys but it is one of their best ever. The songs are quirky, as usual, but the guitar, keyboard and horn performances are awe-inspiring. I've had this album since it came out on vinyl but listening to this new, upgraded version makes it seem like a whole new collection of songs. Wow.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Hubbard on December 20, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Odds are that you know this music, and nothing I can say would influence your purchase of it. But, I'll say this - the new remaster is ABSOLUTELY worth the money, especially since the record company did the right thing and didn't jack the price for the remaster. I can't believe how much clarity the new remaster gives the instruments, particularly on Bernard Purdie's drums and the keyboard sounds throughout. If you enjoy this album, you really need this new edition, even if you, like me, hate re-buying music you already own.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By "cousindupree" on March 13, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The Royal Scam, more than any other Steely Dan album, balances their meticulously-smooth arrangements with an edgy spontanaeity. The opening track, Kid Charlemange, is perhaps the most addictive song the band has ever produced, with a hook equal to "Do it Again" or "Rikki" but with far more substance (no coincidence they played this one twice when I saw them in '94). The musical theme of the album is a brilliant balance between Fagen & Becker's song construction and the incredible guitar solos of Carlton & Co. Lyrically, it appears to be a loose concept album set in society's underworld. Despite the connections, however, each song remains its own musical entity; from the guitar-driven "Don't Take Me Alive," the piano-bang "Sign in Stranger," and the slow-developing title track, there is not a weak one on the album. This album is the most tightly connected combination of rock and jazz, of complexity and aggression, ever produced.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Nathan on November 20, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Steely Dan reached their peak in many ways with The Royal Scam. Although slightly less focused than Pretzel Logic, The Royal Scam is probably their best instrumental effort, better even than Katy Lied. The guitar solo on "Kid Charlemagne" (reportedly by Larry Carlton) has been rightly hailed as one of the best in all of recorded rock, but it isn't even the best guitar solo on this album. That title goes to the solo on the bridge of "The Fez," which is only slightly better than the one on the intro of "Don't Take Me Alive." Other instrumental highlights include the horns (and particularly the tenor sax solo) on "Caves of Altamira," and the lead guitar on "Haitian Divorce." The rhythm tracks feature the great Bernard Purdie's drums on (according to his web site) about half of the songs, but whoever is playing, there isn't a less than excellent instrumental performance on the entire album. Yes, the lyrics are exceedingly dark and brooding, but are delivered as only Fagen could deliver at his hard-edged best. Superbly arranged and performed, The Royal Scam deserves the honor of being called Becker and Fagen's masterpiece.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kerry O. Burns VINE VOICE on August 14, 2007
Format: Audio CD
put out about a year before their AJA release The Royal Scam gives a tantalizing hint about the brilliance to come from Becker and Fagan. The maestros of the studio along with Larry Carlton, Denny Dias and Timothy B. Schmidt(Eagles) amongst many others have created a darker, more cynical album then Aja but just as brilliant.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S J Buck on August 6, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This was the first Steely Dan album I ever heard/bought (many decades ago), and although Aja is now my favourite (just) this remains the one I return to the most.
There are many great moments but the high point for me is the wonderful guitar solo, played by Larry Carlton, at the end of Kid Charlemagne.
Kid Charlemagne is typical of the whole album, which is full of fantastic grooves typified by The Fez and Green Earrings. However these grooves are actually played by musicians rather than machines (as is the tendency these days).
I'm not great on lyrics, but even I can spot some of the humour in these songs.
So to sum up, quality song-writing, top quality musicians and great production means an essential purchase for either the Steely Dan fan who has somehow missed this album, or if you're of a younger generation and want to try something different.
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