THE ROYAL SCAM by Steely Dan

Syn Gates

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Staff member
Sep 18, 2019
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:syngates:Yo Family!

This months #AOTM rec is quite possibly the most awe inspiring record songwriting wise that I’ve ever heard. Most of you know that The Beatles are my favorite songwriters of all time but Steely Dan are the most superior writers of complex harmony(chord changes simply put) beneath simple melody(lead vocal) imho.

Match that with a revolving door lineup of the greatest studio musicians of all time and you have a powerhouse that has no rival. This is the type of band that will keep me up at night trying to not only play like them, but to think like them. Still losing sleep btw.

Larry Carlton’s guitar solo on Kid Charlemagne is one of my fav solos of all time and is hands down my most respected solo of all time.

Quick story: The way that I got into this record is pretty cool. My dad told me that he added a song called Kid Charlemagne to their set list and it had the greatest guitar solo of all time in it. So he kinda gave me a nod from stage that it was on next and then they began to play it.

When he finished the solo my mind was blown. I’d never heard something so unique and interesting. The chords were crazy and the guitar lines were unlike anything I’d ever heard. Amazingly singable, insane feel, and perfect delivery.

After the set I ran up to him and said that I needed that record and that this style of playing was what I wanted to pursue for the rest of my life. His response was priceless. He said, “That wasn’t the fucking solo, I broke the most important string possible and had to improvise a bunch of dogshit over it.” He was pissed and slightly embarrassed. I was completely blown away. I couldn’t have played what my dad played let alone invented it. It changed me that day. My drive and passion for the craft elevated to an all new level, a level that possessed me, took over the drivers seat, and never let me go.

When we got home I ran to his CD collection and stole The Royal Scam and quickly put on the opening track, Kid Charlemagne. When the solo finished I was completely disappointed. This solo couldn’t shine my dads shoes I thought. I went to my dad and asked him to show me what he played. He told me that thankfully he had forgotten and that it won’t hurt his ears anymore lol. I was super bummed that my preferred version of this solo was lost in the ether never to be found again. After about a week of full Steely immersion, I acquired a deep love and appreciation for Larry Carlton’s solo and can’t imagine it being done any better after all these years but It still stings a little to have no way of hearing Papa Gates’ “dogshit” version to compare it to lol.

Anyways, that took a minute longer than expected but I haven’t thought about that for quite sometime. Was nice recalling the chronology and details.

I usually go through some fav tracks and list the band members but I’m gonna leave those details to PG as he was a member of that small and incredibly talented community and wouldn’t want to paint an inaccurate picture.

In closing, this may be the toughest record to stomach for a lot of you but please try your best, it will only deepen and broaden your musical sensibilities.

All my love,

SYN
:syngates:
 
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Millie Imber

Campfire Attention Holder
Staff member
  • Nov 11, 2019
    211
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    :syngates:Yo Family!

    This months #AOTM rec is quite possibly the most awe inspiring record songwriting wise that I’ve ever heard. Most of you know that The Beatles are my favorite songwriters of all time but Steely Dan are the most superior writers of complex harmony(chord changes simply put) beneath simple melody(lead vocal) imho.

    Match that with a revolving door lineup of the greatest studio musicians of all time and you have a powerhouse that has no rival. This is the type of band that will keep me up at night trying to not only play like them, but to think like them. Still losing sleep btw.

    Larry Carlton’s guitar solo on Kid Charlemagne is one of my fav solos of all time and is hands down my most respected solo of all time.

    Quick story: The way that I got into this record is pretty cool. My dad told me that he added a song called Kid Charlemagne to their set list and it had the greatest guitar solo of all time in it. So he kinda gave me a nod from stage that it was on next and then they began to play it.

    When he finished the solo my mind was blown. I’d never heard something so unique and interesting. The chords were crazy and the guitar lines were unlike anything I’d ever heard. Amazingly singable, insane feel, and perfect delivery.

    After the set I ran up to him and said that I needed that record and that this style of playing was what I wanted to pursue for the rest of my life. His response was priceless. He said, “That wasn’t the fucking solo, I broke the most important string possible and had to improvise a bunch of dogshit over it.” He was pissed and slightly embarrassed. I was completely blown away. I couldn’t have played what my dad played let alone invented it. It changed me that day. My drive and passion for the craft elevated to an all new level, a level that possessed me, took over the drivers seat, and never let me go.

    When we got home I ran to his CD collection and stole The Royal Scam and quickly put on the opening track, Kid Charlemagne. When the solo finished I was completely disappointed. This solo couldn’t shine my dads shoes I thought. I went to my dad and asked him to show me what he played. He told me that thankfully he had forgotten and that it won’t hurt his ears anymore lol. I was super bummed that my preferred version of this solo was lost in the ether never to be found again. After about a week of full Steely immersion, I acquired a deep love and appreciation for Larry Carlton’s solo and can’t imagine it being done any better after all these years but It still stings a little to have no way of hearing Papa Gates’ “dogshit” version to compare it to lol.

    Anyways, that took a minute longer than expected but I haven’t thought about that for quite sometime. Was nice recalling the chronology and details.

    I usually go through some fav tracks and list the band members but I’m gonna leave those details to PG as he was a member of that small and incredibly talented community and wouldn’t want to paint an inaccurate picture.

    In closing, this may be the toughest record to stomach for a lot of you but please try your best, it will only deepen and broaden your musical sensibilities.

    All my love,

    SYN
    :syngates:
    So I just gave this album a listen and... holy damn, where do I start?! This one was awesome! It's another one of those that are completely new to me in all the best ways, and it's really starting to show me just how much is possible with music when you just think outside of the box a little bit. Experimenting with rhythms, with more out-there chords (at least for me, anyway XD), different tones, different styles... there's so much to take from it!! One little thing I've been picking up on too since I've been doing a music tech/production class at college, is just listening out for little production details. I love hearing new music like this because there's always something interesting to listen out for in that regard, whether it's panning, tones, balance, etc. Awesome stuff!

    So here's a quick run-down on some of my thoughts as I listened:

    Kid Charlemagne - The progression is really nice and there's a lot of interesting chords in there! Thoroughly enjoyed the structure and the chorus sections. The solo is really cool to me, I only wish I could hear PG's version if this one's considered "dogshit", I bet that sounded fucking incredible!! Loved that outro too!

    The Caves of Altamira - Love how the chords always seem to take a different path to what I'm expecting, especially at the end of the chorus. Really goes to show what you can do with them!

    Don't Take Me Alive - That intro is something I really, really wanna learn! Hell, I really enjoyed the lead all throughout. It doesn't sound overcomplicated and the section just before the last chorus was really pretty with the clean tone. I love the mixing of different guitar tones!

    Sign in Stranger - Is this a "how many instruments can we inspire you to play" challenge, by any chance? I love the piano with the guitar in the background and then some of the small licks in between vocal parts! Also the elevation of that outro was amazing, the solo was great!

    The Fez - This one slightly reminds me of a college project I had to do recently, where we covered "Good Times" by Chic, though personally, I would've much preferred to try this one!

    Green Earrings - Man, these chords are unusual to me, but I think that's cool! Also, I love the slight picking sounds on the lead guitar, it's just such a satisfying sound and tone to me. Also, that outro solo totally caught me off-guard, sounded amazing but intense and the effects on it at the end were crazy!

    Haitian Divorce - Reminding me of another college project! Had to experiment with some wah pedal work in a similar sort of style, and I wish I'd heard this before we'd recorded that song because it's given me so many ideas for it!! The lead also has such a distinct sound and I love it!

    The Royal Scam - Love the way the guitar kinda crept into the intro. The rhythm's a weird one for me to wrap my head around for a sec, but I like it! The effects that are panned right, after the first chorus (?) bit are really interesting.



    Overall, I seriously enjoyed giving this one a listen, and I love how it's not something I'd normally listen to - Another one to expand my music knowledge! Now if you don't mind, I'm off to figure out exactly how the hell you manage to write something like this, because it's blown me away how people can come up with this creative chaos, as I'll call it! Cheers Syn!!! 🤘 :skull: 🤘
     
    Last edited:

    redlipsofdeceit

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  • Oct 21, 2020
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    :syngates:Yo Family!

    This months #AOTM rec is quite possibly the most awe inspiring record songwriting wise that I’ve ever heard. Most of you know that The Beatles are my favorite songwriters of all time but Steely Dan are the most superior writers of complex harmony(chord changes simply put) beneath simple melody(lead vocal) imho.

    Match that with a revolving door lineup of the greatest studio musicians of all time and you have a powerhouse that has no rival. This is the type of band that will keep me up at night trying to not only play like them, but to think like them. Still losing sleep btw.

    Larry Carlton’s guitar solo on Kid Charlemagne is one of my fav solos of all time and is hands down my most respected solo of all time.

    Quick story: The way that I got into this record is pretty cool. My dad told me that he added a song called Kid Charlemagne to their set list and it had the greatest guitar solo of all time in it. So he kinda gave me a nod from stage that it was on next and then they began to play it.

    When he finished the solo my mind was blown. I’d never heard something so unique and interesting. The chords were crazy and the guitar lines were unlike anything I’d ever heard. Amazingly singable, insane feel, and perfect delivery.

    After the set I ran up to him and said that I needed that record and that this style of playing was what I wanted to pursue for the rest of my life. His response was priceless. He said, “That wasn’t the fucking solo, I broke the most important string possible and had to improvise a bunch of dogshit over it.” He was pissed and slightly embarrassed. I was completely blown away. I couldn’t have played what my dad played let alone invented it. It changed me that day. My drive and passion for the craft elevated to an all new level, a level that possessed me, took over the drivers seat, and never let me go.

    When we got home I ran to his CD collection and stole The Royal Scam and quickly put on the opening track, Kid Charlemagne. When the solo finished I was completely disappointed. This solo couldn’t shine my dads shoes I thought. I went to my dad and asked him to show me what he played. He told me that thankfully he had forgotten and that it won’t hurt his ears anymore lol. I was super bummed that my preferred version of this solo was lost in the ether never to be found again. After about a week of full Steely immersion, I acquired a deep love and appreciation for Larry Carlton’s solo and can’t imagine it being done any better after all these years but It still stings a little to have no way of hearing Papa Gates’ “dogshit” version to compare it to lol.

    Anyways, that took a minute longer than expected but I haven’t thought about that for quite sometime. Was nice recalling the chronology and details.

    I usually go through some fav tracks and list the band members but I’m gonna leave those details to PG as he was a member of that small and incredibly talented community and wouldn’t want to paint an inaccurate picture.

    In closing, this may be the toughest record to stomach for a lot of you but please try your best, it will only deepen and broaden your musical sensibilities.

    All my love,

    SYN
    :syngates:

    Ok, I listened to the album and here are my thoughts:

    This album by Steely Dan is this unique fusion between rock, jazz, funk and soul. I could easily listen to it at a party, sipping on some cocktails and dancing a lot.

    Kid Charlemagne, at first, was a good song, but I wasn't sooo impressed. But, since you shared this with us, I knew it was something more, especially with what PG said about this song having the best solo of all time. So, I listened to it again and paid really close attention. First, I have to talk about the drums. That groove is insane! Those snares are top notch. My friend and drummer @Aquamandy actually knows more about drum techniques, but damn, what a groove! Bernard Purdie did an oustanding job. Now, the guitar: the solo actually is very intricated. Larry Carlton plays so many amazing licks and he uses so many tricks, like bends, vibrato, slide, even tapping. And he used the entire fretboard! That guy is a genius! No wonder he's played with so many great artists, like Michael Jackson and Dolly Parton.
    My other fav songs: Caves Of Altamira (the lyrics); Sign In Stranger (the keyboards in particular got my attention); The Fez (groovy af); and Green Earrings (the outro with that sick guitar solo).

    @Brian Haner Sr. I am curious: what string did you break, so that you had to improvise that "dogshit"? 😂

    Well, this was another great recommendation, @Syn Gates!
    Again, thank you for taking some time to do this for us every month. I really appreciate it!
    Can't wait for the next one!
    I love you! ❤
     

    redlipsofdeceit

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  • Oct 21, 2020
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    Syn is making is the audible version of eat your vegetables. May be weird in the beginning but good and essential for our growth!
    That is, indeed, the best definition I've seen for the #AOTM recs 😂 I totally agree!
     

    Gabby Heafy

    Campfire Attention Holder
  • Apr 5, 2020
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    :syngates:Yo Family!

    This months #AOTM rec is quite possibly the most awe inspiring record songwriting wise that I’ve ever heard. Most of you know that The Beatles are my favorite songwriters of all time but Steely Dan are the most superior writers of complex harmony(chord changes simply put) beneath simple melody(lead vocal) imho.

    Match that with a revolving door lineup of the greatest studio musicians of all time and you have a powerhouse that has no rival. This is the type of band that will keep me up at night trying to not only play like them, but to think like them. Still losing sleep btw.

    Larry Carlton’s guitar solo on Kid Charlemagne is one of my fav solos of all time and is hands down my most respected solo of all time.

    Quick story: The way that I got into this record is pretty cool. My dad told me that he added a song called Kid Charlemagne to their set list and it had the greatest guitar solo of all time in it. So he kinda gave me a nod from stage that it was on next and then they began to play it.

    When he finished the solo my mind was blown. I’d never heard something so unique and interesting. The chords were crazy and the guitar lines were unlike anything I’d ever heard. Amazingly singable, insane feel, and perfect delivery.

    After the set I ran up to him and said that I needed that record and that this style of playing was what I wanted to pursue for the rest of my life. His response was priceless. He said, “That wasn’t the fucking solo, I broke the most important string possible and had to improvise a bunch of dogshit over it.” He was pissed and slightly embarrassed. I was completely blown away. I couldn’t have played what my dad played let alone invented it. It changed me that day. My drive and passion for the craft elevated to an all new level, a level that possessed me, took over the drivers seat, and never let me go.

    When we got home I ran to his CD collection and stole The Royal Scam and quickly put on the opening track, Kid Charlemagne. When the solo finished I was completely disappointed. This solo couldn’t shine my dads shoes I thought. I went to my dad and asked him to show me what he played. He told me that thankfully he had forgotten and that it won’t hurt his ears anymore lol. I was super bummed that my preferred version of this solo was lost in the ether never to be found again. After about a week of full Steely immersion, I acquired a deep love and appreciation for Larry Carlton’s solo and can’t imagine it being done any better after all these years but It still stings a little to have no way of hearing Papa Gates’ “dogshit” version to compare it to lol.

    Anyways, that took a minute longer than expected but I haven’t thought about that for quite sometime. Was nice recalling the chronology and details.

    I usually go through some fav tracks and list the band members but I’m gonna leave those details to PG as he was a member of that small and incredibly talented community and wouldn’t want to paint an inaccurate picture.

    In closing, this may be the toughest record to stomach for a lot of you but please try your best, it will only deepen and broaden your musical sensibilities.

    All my love,

    SYN
    :syngates:
    Wow Syn i loved all the story!! lol I definitely want to hear it !! and give you my opinion, Thanks again for all the amazing recommendations! I'm still listening to the infectious groove album! I loved it! Te amo Bello :rock-hand: :rainbow-mushroom:

     
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    Augusto Abreu

    Free Bird Player
    Nov 11, 2019
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    :syngates:Yo Family!

    This months #AOTM rec is quite possibly the most awe inspiring record songwriting wise that I’ve ever heard. Most of you know that The Beatles are my favorite songwriters of all time but Steely Dan are the most superior writers of complex harmony(chord changes simply put) beneath simple melody(lead vocal) imho.

    Match that with a revolving door lineup of the greatest studio musicians of all time and you have a powerhouse that has no rival. This is the type of band that will keep me up at night trying to not only play like them, but to think like them. Still losing sleep btw.

    Larry Carlton’s guitar solo on Kid Charlemagne is one of my fav solos of all time and is hands down my most respected solo of all time.

    Quick story: The way that I got into this record is pretty cool. My dad told me that he added a song called Kid Charlemagne to their set list and it had the greatest guitar solo of all time in it. So he kinda gave me a nod from stage that it was on next and then they began to play it.

    When he finished the solo my mind was blown. I’d never heard something so unique and interesting. The chords were crazy and the guitar lines were unlike anything I’d ever heard. Amazingly singable, insane feel, and perfect delivery.

    After the set I ran up to him and said that I needed that record and that this style of playing was what I wanted to pursue for the rest of my life. His response was priceless. He said, “That wasn’t the fucking solo, I broke the most important string possible and had to improvise a bunch of dogshit over it.” He was pissed and slightly embarrassed. I was completely blown away. I couldn’t have played what my dad played let alone invented it. It changed me that day. My drive and passion for the craft elevated to an all new level, a level that possessed me, took over the drivers seat, and never let me go.

    When we got home I ran to his CD collection and stole The Royal Scam and quickly put on the opening track, Kid Charlemagne. When the solo finished I was completely disappointed. This solo couldn’t shine my dads shoes I thought. I went to my dad and asked him to show me what he played. He told me that thankfully he had forgotten and that it won’t hurt his ears anymore lol. I was super bummed that my preferred version of this solo was lost in the ether never to be found again. After about a week of full Steely immersion, I acquired a deep love and appreciation for Larry Carlton’s solo and can’t imagine it being done any better after all these years but It still stings a little to have no way of hearing Papa Gates’ “dogshit” version to compare it to lol.

    Anyways, that took a minute longer than expected but I haven’t thought about that for quite sometime. Was nice recalling the chronology and details.

    I usually go through some fav tracks and list the band members but I’m gonna leave those details to PG as he was a member of that small and incredibly talented community and wouldn’t want to paint an inaccurate picture.

    In closing, this may be the toughest record to stomach for a lot of you but please try your best, it will only deepen and broaden your musical sensibilities.

    All my love,

    SYN
    :syngates:
    aaaah shiieet, here i go learn some new music. this might be the 9999x time you done it to me sir, so...thanks? xD
     
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    ari.mac

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  • Jul 16, 2020
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    Another #AOTM, another band I didn't know I needed in my life 😂

    Sooooo, I really enjoyed it and I totally see myself listening to it on repeat from now on! (Already added on my playlist, of course!!)

    My favourite songs of the album:

    "Kid Charlemagne". It was really good, but I'll admit I had to listen to it a couple of times to fully appreciate it! The guitar solo is really, REALLY nice, but all I could think of during the first listening was "how could Papa Gates version have been??? I need to know!!!" 😂😂😂😂 the second time I really got to focus on it and really get to enjoyed it!!

    "The Caves of Altamira". It might be my favorite track of the album. The chord progression, the lyrics, the vocals...loved everything about it!

    "Sign In Stranger" - THAT PIANO. 😍😍😍😍 Loved the guitar licks too! A banger for sure!

    "Haitian Divorce"- I loved the guitar effect in this so I went to read a bit about it and turns out it was not used a wah-wah pedal for this but a talk box. Had no idea what it was so I learned a new thing too, so cool!!! Also, loved the vocals.

    As always, thank you Syn for the wonderful recommendation and for making me (and many others) discover this absolute gems!!
    Have a nice weekend :rock-hand: :syngates: 🖤
     
    Synner Endless Summer Collection

    Brian Haner Sr.

    Administrator
    Staff member
    Nov 11, 2019
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    Hahaha! Completely forgot this story. If memory serves me I broke the B string. But it may have been the G string. Either way, I was screwed. It's SOOOO much easier to break a high E string. But with a G or B you have to skip a string and jump over to the next one, it's a nightmare. There is no way to play smoothly. Had it been another song, it would have been no problem. Just make some shit up. But this is one of the ONLY solos that I have always played note for note. It's expected (or should be). It was not an improvised solo. It took Carlton a week to work it out. It is a composition unto itself. To improvise this solo would be like improvising the intro to Sweet Child Of Mine.
    It should be done NEVER!!!
    And I show it the respect it deserves.
    Bottom line: my solo sucked in comparison, but thank you, Syn! It never gets old getting compliments from one of the greatest guitar players in the world.

    Steely Dan was my fav band (next to The Beatles). They wrote the most amazing chord changes. Straight up jazz - with simple melodies that you could sing along with. Their melodies tricked you into thinking the song was simpler than it actually was - until you tried to learn it. Then you were like - what Tom Foolery and madness is this?
    I'm glad Syn picked this album. There are more popular Steely Dan albums with more hits (like Aja - which you should also listen to), but this album is a bit more raw and adventurous. I love albums with both hits and "album cuts". Songs that were never written to be hits. They were written to compliment the vibe of the album.
    The lineup of musicians is stellar. I worked with Bernard Perdie a couple of times and I can tell you the hype is real. He can give you goosebumps by playing the simplest beat you've ever heard. Carton, Rick Derringer, Chuck Rainey and my buddy Micheal McDonald on backing vocals. All brilliant.

    Please indulge me on each track:
    1. Kid Charlemagne - Simply brilliant. An homage to the man who invented LSD. Great groove. After the changes are established, they turn the changes on their ear and make a few key changes while Carlton works his magic. So the solo changes are familiar - but the key changes make it exciting new territory.
    2. Caves of Altamira - A song about lost innocence based on Plato's Cave Allegory. Again, crazy chord changes and one of the best horn arrangements ever.
    3. Don't Take Me Alive - Carlton on the intro. Nice notes. Great song about a guy who crosses the law and is opting for suicide by cop. Favorite lyric: All is forgiven. Mad dog surrender. That's Steely Dan. Dark lyrics over a happy little groove.
    4. Sign In Stranger - Fagan's fascination with Science Fiction. A little Peter Lorre vibe as well. (Google it). After all that groove, the bridge is a welcome departure. Always loved the descending "Just another scurvy brother."
    5. The Fez - Unreal groove. And an important message to always wear a hat during sex.
    6. Green Earrings - Vintage Steely Dan. Great groove. Catchy. What the hell is it about?
    7. Haitian Divorce - Rick Derringer recorded the solo. They liked the notes, but not the tone - so they ran his recorded solo through a talk box with Becker at the helm.
    8. Everything You Did - Another one with seemingly simple changes. A song about infidelity with a shout out to The Eagles.
    9. The Royal Scam - Really moody piece about the plight of Puerto Ricans coming to NY in the 50s. Love the vibe of this one and how it reveals itself - layer by layer. The spooky opening piano chords always make me smile. That first chord tells you some serious shit is about to go down.

    OK - so now go out and listen to Aja and then one of my favorite albums of all time - Fagan's first solo album - The Nightfly. These albums are slicker and more far more jazzy than Royal Scam. But that's a good thing. E X P A N D your mind!!!!
     
    Last edited:

    ari.mac

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  • Jul 16, 2020
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    OK - so now go out and listen to Aja and then one of my favorite albums of all time - Fagan's first solo album - The Nightfly. These albums are slicker and more far more jazzy than Royal Scam. But that's a good thing. E X P A N D your mind!!!!
    Yesss! Really curious about this two albums now! Going to give them a listen during the rest of the weekend 💯💯
     

    Iris

    Local Dive Bar Favorite
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  • Oct 14, 2020
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    Hey Syn and happy Friday. I'm stoked to see that Steely Dan is an AOTM. I heard Jimmy Page say that "Reelin' in the Years" was his favorite rock solo and that was all the endorsement I needed to give Steely Dan a shot years ago. This is the first time I'm hearing this album in it's entirety. Before I had only heard the singles. I love the mixture of jazz and funk. It has a very eclectic feel with many different rhythms, tempo, and key changes going on and it keeps you on your toes. Keeps you guessing what's coming next. It's just so groovy and I've always loved that kind of sound. I think my favorite song off this album is "Green Earrings". When I was a kid I would pick through my parents record collection and I always gravitated towards groups like Steve Miller, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Allman Brothers, Earth, Wind, and Fire and I played Supertramps "Crime of the Century" to the point that even my dad got sick of it. So it's no surprise that I also like Steely Dan. Love ya Syn.
     

    Gabby Heafy

    Campfire Attention Holder
  • Apr 5, 2020
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    Hahaha! Completely forgot this story. If memory serves me I broke the B string. But it may have been the G string. Either way, I was screwed. It's SOOOO much easier to break a high E string. But with a G or B you have to skip a string and jump over to the next one, it's a nightmare. There is no way to play smoothly. Had it been another song, it wouldn't have been a problem. Just make some shit up. But this is one of the ONLY solos that I have always played note for note. It's expected (or should be). It was not an improvised solo. It took Carlton a week to work it out. It is a composition unto itself. To improvise this solo would be like improvising the intro to Sweet Child Of Mine.
    It should be done NEVER!!!
    And I show it the respect it deserves.
    Bottom line: my solo sucked in comparison, but thank you, Syn! It never gets old getting compliments from one of the greatest guitar players in the world.

    Steely Dan was my fav band (next to The Beatles). They wrote the most amazing chord changes. Straight up jazz - with simple melodies that you could sing along with. Their melodies tricked you into thinking the song was simpler than it actually was - until you tried to learn it. Then you were like - what Tom Foolery and madness is this?
    I'm glad Syn picked this album. There are more popular Steely Dan albums with more hits (like Aja - which you should also listen to), but this album is a bit more raw and adventurous. I love albums with both hits and "album cuts". Songs that were never written to be hits. They were written to compliment the vibe of the album.
    The lineup of musicians is stellar. I worked with Bernard Perdie a couple of times and I can tell you the hype is real. He can give you goosebumps by playing the simplest beat you've ever heard. Carton, Rick Derringer, Chuck Rainey and my buddy Micheal McDonald on backing vocals. All brilliant.

    Please indulge me on each track:
    1. Kid Charlemagne - Simply brilliant. An homage to the man who invented LSD. Great groove. After the changes are established, they turn the changes on their ear and make a few key changes while Carlton works his magic. So the solo changes are familiar - but the key changes make it exciting new territory.
    2. Caves of Altamira - A song about lost innocence based on Plato's Cave Allegory. Again, crazy chord changes and one of the best horn arrangements ever.
    3. Don't Take Me Alive - Carlton on the intro. Nice notes. Great song about a guy who crosses the law and is opting for suicide by cop. Favorite lyric: All is forgiven. Mad dog surrender. That's Steely Dan. Dark lyrics over a happy little groove.
    4. Sign In Stranger - Fagan's fascination with Science Fiction. A little Peter Lorre vibe as well. (Google it). After all that groove, the bridge is a welcome departure. Always loved the descending "Just another scurvy brother."
    5. The Fez - Unreal groove. And an important message to always wear a hat during sex.
    6. Green Earrings - Vintage Steely Dan. Great groove. Catchy. What the hell is it about?
    7. Haitian Divorce - Rick Derringer recorded the solo. They liked the notes, but not the tone - so they ran the solo through a talk box with Becker at the helm.
    8. Everything You Did - Another one with seemingly simple changes. A song about infidelity with a shout out to The Eagles.
    9. The Royal Scam - Really moody piece about the plight of Puerto Ricans coming to NY in the 50s. Love the vibe of this one and how it reveals itself through layers. The opening piano chords always make me smile.

    OK - so now go out and listen to Aja and then one of my favorite albums of all time - Fagan's first solo album - The Nightfly. These albums are slicker and more far more jazzy than Royal Scam. But that's a good thing. E X P A N D your mind!!!!
    loving all your details !! I'll definitely expande more my mind with those albums! :rock-hand:I'll listen to them!:explode-skull:Thank you Papa Gates!
     

    Jamie London

    Campfire Attention Holder
    Staff member
  • Nov 11, 2019
    523
    1,175
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    Gilroy, California
    synn3r.com
    12
    I’m going to pop back in later on/tomorrow with my thoughts on this lovely, funky, monster of an album. Gotta get through the work day first haha but I wanted to drop the updated AOTM playlist here for y’all
    We’re now 7 albums deep! 🤘
     
    Synner Endless Summer Collection

    Ids Schiere

    Sold-out Crowd Surfer
    Legend
    Nov 11, 2019
    5,292
    6,597
    Groningen
    11
    I was kinda just listening to it while doing my dishes and such so I don't actually know any of the song titles😅

    What did catch my attention was that there are some really nice vocal harmonies and guitar playing on this. Also, the grooves are really nice, I kinda caught myself sorta dancing in my kitchen.

    Overall killer record and makes me regret not looking into steely dan earlier after listening to Reelin' in the years. Sorry for the lack of details but this is kind of first impression while doing something else kinda stuff 😅

    Speaking of Reelin' in the years, after hearing Larry Carlton's playing I kinda want to add it to my list of songs. Should have listened to Rick Beato on that one 😅