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Steely Dan - The Royal Scam CD (album) cover


Steely Dan


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.76 | 205 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars This album contains some of the best songs the Dan ever did--or some of my most favorite, I get confused.

I just love the pomp-jazzy Green Earrings. It probably sticks with me about as well as any SD song. I prefer Hackett-era Genesis to almost anything, but this song has about as much as Genesis ever did to listen to--even in their subtly layered Dancing With the Moonlit Knight (a headphone experience).

It somewhat troubles me the number of progheads that will turn their nose up at a little funk (or even it's cousin, disco), but will listen to Steve Howe ripping off raucous rockabilly riffs in Going for the One without comment, as if straight rockabilly was akin to prog. Or fail to understand that the English and Celtic folk elements that Genesis borrowed from heavily are about as simple as any other raw form of music. All it has to do is have a disco/funk/smooth jazz beat and people are calling it pop.

Along the same lines, the reggae-textured Sign in Stranger is another of my all-time Dan favorites. Blended with straight piano jazz and more decorated jazz in the chorus, it uses a sort of swing-based vocal harmonies unrelated to either style. And builds to a raft of trumpets during the outro guitar solo. Just a nice listen, IMO.

The Caves of Altimira is another classic. The wall of horns meshed with the subtle keys is especially memorable. I don't think of this one as a personal favorite as much as it is more objectively one of their better tunes.

Meanwhile, I've long thought Everything You Did is probably the weakest song Steely Dan ever did. So it contains a little of both the best and the worst of SD.

Still, it's a CD this proghead cannot stop putting on his player.

axeman | 4/5 |


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