Royal Scam

The Royal Scam

5.0 3
by Steely Dan
     
 

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In contrast to their music-making methods -- which usually involved holing up for weeks in a Los Angeles studio with the hottest session players around -- Walter Becker and Donald Fagen's best lyrics for Steely Dan songs focused on the embittered lives of savvy streetwise survivors of urban America. THE ROYAL SCAM, their response to bicentennial mania, offered the

Overview

In contrast to their music-making methods -- which usually involved holing up for weeks in a Los Angeles studio with the hottest session players around -- Walter Becker and Donald Fagen's best lyrics for Steely Dan songs focused on the embittered lives of savvy streetwise survivors of urban America. THE ROYAL SCAM, their response to bicentennial mania, offered the angriest and most edgy of these tales: The narrator of "Don't Take Me Alive" is a career criminal on the lam, "The Fez" is the story of a sex fetishist, and the title track takes a sardonic look at the American dream (a stance accented by the cover, which depicts a homeless person at a monument). The music is equally edgy -- with its bleak outlook, grisly tone, and blistering guitar leads, this is an album that disappears down a dark alley and doesn't come back.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
The Royal Scam is the first Steely Dan record that doesn't exhibit significant musical progress from its predecessor, but that doesn't mean the album is any less interesting. The cynicism that was suppressed on Katy Lied comes roaring to the surface on The Royal Scam -- not only are the lyrics bitter and snide, but the music is terse, broken, and weary. Not so coincidentally, the album is comprised of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen's weakest set of songs since Can't Buy a Thrill. Alternating between mean-spirited bluesy vamps like "Green Earrings" and "The Fez" and jazzy soft rock numbers like "The Caves of Altamira," there's nothing particularly bad on the album, yet there are fewer standouts than before. Nevertheless, the best songs on The Royal Scam, like the sneering "Kid Charlemagne" and "Sign in Stranger," rank as genuine Steely Dan classics.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/23/1999
Label:
Mca
UPC:
0008811205126
catalogNumber:
112051
Rank:
641

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Steely Dan   Primary Artist
Donald Fagen   Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals
Michael McDonald   Vocals,Background Vocals
Larry Carlton   Guitar
Victor Feldman   Percussion,Drums,Keyboards
Don Grolnick   Keyboards
Plas Johnson   Horn,Saxophone
John Klemmer   Horn
Chuck Rainey   Bass
Clydie King   Vocals,Background Vocals
Elliott Randall   Guitar
Walter Becker   Bass,Guitar,Vocals
Gary Coleman   Percussion,Drums
Venetta Fields   Horn,Vocals,Background Vocals
Bob Findley   Horn
Chuck Findley   Horn
Paul Griffin   Keyboards,Vocals
Jim Horn   Horn,Saxophone
Richard Hyde   Trombone
Rick Marotta   Drums
Hugh McCracken   Guitar
Dean Parks   Guitar
Bernard "Pretty" Purdie   Drums
Timothy B. Schmit   Bass,Vocals,Background Vocals
Denny Dias   Guitar
Dick Hyde   Horn
Slyde Hyde   Horn
Sherlie Matthews   Vocals,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Donald Fagen   Composer,Liner Notes,Horn Arrangements
Walter Becker   Composer,Liner Notes,Horn Arrangements
Ed Caraeff   Art Direction
Chuck Findley   Horn Arrangements
Paul Griffin   Composer
Gary Katz   Producer
Roger Nichols   Engineer
Elliot Scheiner   Engineer
Zox   Cover Art
Roger Nicholas   Engineer
Elliott Shiner   Engineer
Michael Diehl   Reissue Design
Tom Nikosey   Cover Art
Dinky Dawson   Sound Consultant
Karen Stanley   Nursery Rhyme
Stuart Dinky Dawson   Graphic Editing

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The Royal Scam 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had really never been enthusiastic about Steely Dan until I heard this CD, although Katy Lied was always a somewhat interesting tune to me. The sound is edgy and the lyrics at once lyrical and sardonic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have never heard of Steeley Dan before, but when I heard this album, I WAS HOOKED!! :D!! Kid Charlemagne, Haitian Divorce and Don't Take Me Alive are mh favourites. BUY THIS!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago