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The Royal Scam [Original recording remastered]

Steely Dan Audio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
Price: 5.18 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

The Royal Scam + Katy Lied + Countdown To Ecstasy
Price For All Three: 16.56

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: MCA
  • ASIN: B00003002D
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,168 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential 31 Jan 2006
Format:Audio CD
To the uninitiated comments about Becker and Fagen’s attention to detail and the demonstration quality of their sound might imply some absence of passion, but their perfectionism is never to the detriment of the soul of the music (at least, up to Aja). The most notable feature of their approach is the way they are able to mould a disparate band of session players into a bona fide band – irrespective of the changes in personnel or the meticulous re-recording involved.
Many see Countdown to Ecstasy or Aja as the Dan’s twin peaks, but I would have to add this as the mid-panel of a triptych of stunning musical masterpieces. Veering more towards West Coast rock, the songs run the gamut of subject matter from LSD merchants, through double-dealing desperadoes, to marital bust-ups and racial tensions, encompassing a range of idioms, but from the opening bars of Kid Charlemagne to the close of the majestic Royal Scam, there is a unity and pulse that binds them all together into one kaleidoscopic vision of America.
As with all Dan’s albums, there is so much going on, lyrically and musically, so many outstanding contributions (even if just a few bars) that these songs stand the kind of repeated listening that few other artist’s material could bear. Well, I’ve been listening to these songs for nearly thirty years and they still sound as fresh as they did in 1977. The guitar parts alone are just as riveting – a masterclass in how to play coruscating breaks without hogging the limelight!
If you only buy three Dan albums, this HAS to be one – but you really NEED all from Can’t Buy a Thrill to Aja.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch Dan 15 May 2006
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just to see her do the can-can Jacques 18 Aug 2012
By GlynLuke TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
For years I rarely played this fifth Steely Dan album, believing it to be a lesser work than their others. How wrong can a man be!
There is such a wealth of textures, sounds (dig that organ on The Fez) and angular, glorious guitar solos on these nine tracks that this is, I now realise, a Dan record that stands out from the rest. Ironically, my least favourite track is probably their big hit Haitian Divorce.
One highlight. I`ve seldom heard Donald Fagen sing with such abrasive force as on the marvellous Don`t Take Me Alive, with its ominous lyrics:

Or maybe you would like to see the show
You`ll enjoy the Cafe D`Escargot
Folks are in a line around the block
Just to see her do the can-can Jacques

Becker and Fagen regularly wrote lyrics as enigmatically picaresque as Dylan or Waits. Theirs is a skewed, sardonic view of contemporary America. Coupled with a sophisticated jazz sensibility, they made, and continue occasionally to make, music that`s unique in the `pop` canon of the last forty years.
The final number is the jumpy, mildly unsettling six-and-a-half-minute title track, and it`s a truly great song on an album of great songs.
They`d lost Jeff "Skunk" Baxter`s incredible guitar acrobatics after Pretzel Logic, but Becker is no mean guitarist himself - in fact he`s a terrific musician - and they`ve also called on Larry Carlton, Denny Dias and others to carry out guitar duties, along with other hand-picked players who help put this album up there with their best.
The more I play The Royal Scam - and I seem to play the Dan all the time these days - the more I love it. Their music is as varied and musically rich as the most inventive jazz or certain modern classical works. That`s how good this `moveable feast` of a band were.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never gonna do it without the fez on 11 Mar 2008
Format:Audio CD
That line from The Fez has always struck me as wonderfully cool. As a piece of music its pretty infectious too. 'The Royal Scam' is the fifth chapter in a line of impeccable albums from Steely Dan. I don't care how cynical Becker and Fagen were, how big their egos, or how much their 'bandmates' were pushed to the margins. They packed so much into forty minutes, from rock to funk to reggae influences, with jazz inflections and brass sections. The lyrics too are intriguing, often bizarre. I sometimes wonder if one day I'll get the joke.

Aside of 'The Fez,' the major highlights for me are 'Kid Charlemagne,' pretty obviously about someone who had it all, couched in the aura of a baseball star ('hit it long'), the disturbing, rock-oriented 'Don't Take Me Alive' and my favourite, 'Haitian Divorce,' a minor hit that ought to be considered in the front rank of great rock songs. It's all first rate stuff, however. No scam.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Royal Ssam
I brought this on vinyl many years ago and decided I wanted to get it on CD still a great album well worth a listen if you like Steely Dan
Published 2 days ago by angela matthews
5.0 out of 5 stars Dan kyou
Crikey, this sounds waaaay better then my old CD version, how did they do that?
No point rambling on about the actual music, it's Steely Dan, it's a non question. Read more
Published 4 days ago by G. Ferris
5.0 out of 5 stars NOT A SCAM AT ALL!
The Royal Scam is my favourite Steely Dan album by a mile, though I don't think they made a bad one.
Great songs and vocals and the musicianship is second to none.
Published 19 days ago by Jojo Allen
5.0 out of 5 stars Class
Probably one of the best Steely Dan albums. I do like them all, but this stands out and is almost a gretest hits on it's own. Enjoy at volume.
Published 5 months ago by Bogfairy
5.0 out of 5 stars intelligent relaxation
fantastic melodic music, relaxing, makes my blood pressure fall better than any medicine; difficult to believe musicians can be so inventive and talented.
Published 7 months ago by Ms. Riane Revah
4.0 out of 5 stars To replace my vinyl LP.
I've had the vinyl LP since it was released and although it's on our Network music player I though that the CD would be a better bet - and it is.
Published 8 months ago by GEM
5.0 out of 5 stars Old school Classic!
Still a favorite of mine. I have it on vinyl, but these days no record player. So to revisit the album on mp3 is a blast!
Published 9 months ago by fudgie1
5.0 out of 5 stars Great album
I forgot how good this album was. Caught a song by chance on the radio and thought I'd buy it after owning it on vinyl many years ago. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mr David A James
5.0 out of 5 stars The scam that isn't
Although it has scam in the title, you won't feel scammed when you buy it, the chrome vibrators as good as ever.
Published 14 months ago by Gary Wishart
5.0 out of 5 stars splendid
This is probably the best of a very good catalogue by a very tight and varied professional group of musicians , brought together in various guises by Walt Becker and Donald Fagen. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Mr Ian S McMillan
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