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Steely Dan|Gaucho

Gaucho

Steely Dan

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Aja was cool, relaxed, and controlled; it sounded deceptively easy. Its follow-up, Gaucho, while sonically similar, is its polar opposite: a precise and studied record, where all of the seams show. Gaucho essentially replicates the smooth jazz-pop of Aja, but with none of that record's dark, seductive romance or elegant aura. Instead, it's meticulous and exacting; each performance has been rehearsed so many times that it no longer has any emotional resonance. Furthermore, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen's songs are generally labored, only occasionally reaching their past heights, like on the suave "Babylon Sisters," "Time Out of Mind," and "Hey Nineteen." Still, those three songs are barely enough to make the remainder of the album's glossy, meandering fusion worthwhile.

© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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Gaucho

Steely Dan

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1
Babylon Sisters
00:05:53

Donald Fagen, ComposerLyricist - ROB MOUNSEY, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Patti Austin, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Tom Scott, Clarinet, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Randy Brecker, Flugelhorn, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - ELLIOT SCHEINER, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Steely Dan, MainArtist - GARY KATZ, Producer - WALTER BECKER, ComposerLyricist - STEVE Kahn, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1980 UMG Recordings, Inc.

2
Hey Nineteen
00:05:09

Donald Fagen, Piano, Vocals, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Frank Floyd, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Rick Marotta, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - ROB MOUNSEY, Horn Arranger, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Victor Feldman, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Patti Austin, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Hugh McCracken, Guitar, Unknown, Other, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Gadd, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Tom Scott, Clarinet, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Randy Brecker, Flugelhorn, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - ELLIOT SCHEINER, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Steely Dan, MainArtist - GARY KATZ, Producer - WALTER BECKER, Guitar, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Zack Sanders, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - STEVE Kahn, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1980 UMG Recordings, Inc.

3
Glamour Profession
00:07:28

Donald Fagen, ComposerLyricist - ROB MOUNSEY, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Patti Austin, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Tom Scott, Clarinet, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Randy Brecker, Flugelhorn, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - ELLIOT SCHEINER, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Valerie Simpson, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Steely Dan, MainArtist - GARY KATZ, Producer - WALTER BECKER, ComposerLyricist - STEVE Kahn, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1980 UMG Recordings, Inc.

4
Gaucho
00:05:31

Donald Fagen, ComposerLyricist - ROB MOUNSEY, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Patti Austin, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Tom Scott, Clarinet, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Randy Brecker, Flugelhorn, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - ELLIOT SCHEINER, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Valerie Simpson, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Steely Dan, MainArtist - GARY KATZ, Producer - WALTER BECKER, ComposerLyricist - Keith Jarrett, ComposerLyricist - STEVE Kahn, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1980 UMG Recordings, Inc.

5
Time Out Of Mind
00:04:13

Donald Fagen, ComposerLyricist - Rick Marotta, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - ROB MOUNSEY, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Patti Austin, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - MICHAEL MCDONALD, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Michael Brecker, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Randy Brecker, Flugelhorn, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - ELLIOT SCHEINER, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Valerie Simpson, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - David Sanborn, Alto Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Steely Dan, MainArtist - GARY KATZ, Producer - WALTER BECKER, ComposerLyricist - Mark Knopfler, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - STEVE Kahn, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Leslie Miller, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1980 UMG Recordings, Inc.

6
My Rival
00:04:33

Rick Derringer, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Donald Fagen, ComposerLyricist - Michael Brecker, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Tom Scott, Clarinet, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Randy Brecker, Flugelhorn, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - ELLIOT SCHEINER, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Valerie Simpson, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Steely Dan, MainArtist - GARY KATZ, Producer - WALTER BECKER, ComposerLyricist - STEVE Kahn, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Nicholas Marrero, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1980 UMG Recordings, Inc.

7
Third World Man
00:05:15

Donald Fagen, ComposerLyricist - ROB MOUNSEY, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Patti Austin, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Tom Scott, Clarinet, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Randy Brecker, Flugelhorn, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - ELLIOT SCHEINER, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Steely Dan, MainArtist - GARY KATZ, Producer - WALTER BECKER, ComposerLyricist - STEVE Kahn, Guitar, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1980 UMG Recordings, Inc.

Album review

Aja was cool, relaxed, and controlled; it sounded deceptively easy. Its follow-up, Gaucho, while sonically similar, is its polar opposite: a precise and studied record, where all of the seams show. Gaucho essentially replicates the smooth jazz-pop of Aja, but with none of that record's dark, seductive romance or elegant aura. Instead, it's meticulous and exacting; each performance has been rehearsed so many times that it no longer has any emotional resonance. Furthermore, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen's songs are generally labored, only occasionally reaching their past heights, like on the suave "Babylon Sisters," "Time Out of Mind," and "Hey Nineteen." Still, those three songs are barely enough to make the remainder of the album's glossy, meandering fusion worthwhile.

© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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