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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steely Dan for Guitar Lovers
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...
Published on May 20, 1999

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wierder side of SD?
Bought this together with Countdown to Ecstasy and much prefer the latter; this sounds really experimental - probably at the height of mind altering experimentation!
Published 24 months ago by Rob Meadows


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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steely Dan for Guitar Lovers, May 20, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Royal Scam (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive, May 16, 2005
By 
Rollie Anderson (Forney, Texas United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Royal Scam (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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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great album sounds that now sounds MUCH better than ever!, December 20, 1999
This review is from: The Royal Scam (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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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steely Dan's best, March 13, 2000
By 
This review is from: The Royal Scam (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Steely Dan At Their Peak, November 20, 2007
By 
Nathan (Tucson, AZ USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Royal Scam (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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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant masterpiece..., August 14, 2007
This review is from: Royal Scam (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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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch Dan, August 6, 2007
By 
This review is from: The Royal Scam (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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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Royal Scam is a must have, January 20, 2000
By 
J O'Malley (Long Island NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Royal Scam (Audio CD)
The Royal Scam happens to be my favorite Steely Dan Album. There isn't a song that I skip over on this 1976 classic.
The Royal Scam is a delightful Rock/Pop Jazz fusion album. Donald Fagen and Walter Becker along with a classy collection of musicians deliver a number of memorable songs...Kid Charlemagne, The Caves Of Altimira, Don't Take Me Alive, Haitian Divorce and the title track. Fagen and Becker's combination of distinctive music and offbeat lyrics have made them one of Rock's most endearing outfits to this day.
The Remastered editions are a delight, both in sound quality and packaging... complete lyrics and insightful and witty liner notes by Fagen and Becker themselves.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Donald and Walter's dark adventure, December 21, 2005
This review is from: The Royal Scam (Audio CD)
" The Royal Scam" is one of the most cryptic, tounge in cheek Dan recordings, and that is saying a lot. The music is very easy on the ears; the lyrics are an odyssey to behold. Humanity's darker inclinations are explored from an inside out perspective. From the loner kid who traverses the Caves of Altimira to the "Stranger" caught up in a mobster's world, this CD delivers for the times we have all felt out on the fringe. To lighten the mood a bit, our boys offer gems like " Green Earring" and " The Fez", the latter being a song most listeners will appreciate for the ironic humor.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the last, and best, of early Dan, May 15, 2007
By 
dan's the man (Oakland, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Royal Scam (Audio CD)
Royal Scam is the last in the Dan's early period, and is the tightest and best of the lot, although the early ones certainly have their charms. the latter dan includes gaucho, aja, 2 against nature and everything must go. the earlier 5 albums have more traditional song forms, and use a more random collection of studio cats. some do like the earlier albums for that reason. in any case, this one is a great bridge between the 2 eras and an amazing album.
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The Royal Scam
The Royal Scam by Steely Dan (Audio CD - 1999)
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