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Steely Dan - The Royal Scam CD (album) cover


Steely Dan


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.78 | 229 ratings

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Matthew T
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Skyscrapers with snakes heads and a well dressed bum, Steely Dan have album number five on sale in May 1976. Once again the list of musicians who particapated is enormous. All compositions are written by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker with the usual variety of Rock ,Funk, Pop and Jazz within the songs. Larry Carlton on guitar appears and makes a large contribution to the album, Denny Dias is still hanging in there and that is just only two from five listed doing guitar on this album so another big Production was done by Gary Katz. Special mention must go to the Backing singers on the album with those three girls,Venetta Fields, Clydie King, Sherlie Matthews who were one red hot group of session singers at the time and appeared with so many other great artists, Diana Ross, Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan. Neil Diamond, Quincy Jones and there are plenty more. This was their 2nd album with Steely Dan as they were also on the debut Can't Buy a Thrill and Sherlie Matthews appears on her own on the previous album Katy Lied.Michael McDonald contributes with some vocals but is a full time Doobie Brother now.

The album takes off from the start with the driving Kid Charlemagne and one simply stunning guitar solo from Larry Carlton with some fantastic Backing Vocals provided by the girls and is a favourite with many who have the album. The Caves of Altamira is more low key with a some lovely saxophone throughout but with track three Larry Carlton is back with the lead guitar and The track Don't Take Me Alive is one great tune. Piano dominated funk and jazz is basically the ingredient for Sign in Stranger. Special mention must be made for the tracks the Fez and Green Earrings. Once again there is not a poor track within the album and to finish it all of we get the title song The Royal Scam and Larry is back on guitar for this one as well with one nice beat driven tune with piano as an undercurrent and Larry's Guitar and Donald Fagen's voice up front. I simply love the trumpet used throughout as well. The girls are there also and once again as with Pretzel Logic the title track is the high point of the album.

Another great effort and something unique but music was about to change and rock, prog, would take a back seat for a while when the world went disco mad. Four Stars but very close to five.

Matthew T | 4/5 |


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