Thursday 2/18/2021 6pm ET: Feature LP: Steely Dan – Gaucho (1980)

Gaucho is the seventh studio album by the American rock band Steely Dan, released on November 21, 1980, by MCA Records. The sessions for Gaucho represent the band’s typical penchant for studio perfectionism and obsessive recording technique. To record the album, the band used at least 42 different musicians, spent over a year in the studio, and far exceeded the original monetary advance given by the record label. In 1982, the album won the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Non-Classical Recording and received Grammy nominations for Album of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

During the two-year span in which the album was recorded, the band was plagued by a number of creative, personal and professional problems. MCA, Warner Bros. and Steely Dan had a three-way legal battle over the rights to release the album. After it was released, jazz musician Keith Jarrett threatened the band with legal action for plagiarism in the title song.

Gaucho marked a significant stylistic change for the band, introducing a more minimal, groove- and atmosphere-based format. The harmonically complex chord changes that were a distinctive mark of earlier Steely Dan songs are less prominent on Gaucho, with the record’s songs tending to revolve around a single rhythm or mood, although complex chord progressions were still present particularly in “Babylon Sisters” and “Glamour Profession”. Gaucho proved to be Steely Dan’s final studio album before a 20-year hiatus from the recording industry.

1. “Babylon Sisters” 5:49
2. “Hey Nineteen” 5:06
3. “Glamour Profession” 7:29
4. “Gaucho” 5:32
5. “Time Out of Mind” 4:13
6. “My Rival” 4:34
7. “Third World Man” 5:15

Donald Fagen – lead vocals, backing vocals, synthesizer (2–6), electric piano (2–5), organ (6)
Walter Becker – bass (2, 4, 5), guitar (2, 5), guitar solo (4)

Randy Brecker – trumpet (1, 4, 5), flugelhorn (1, 6)
Wayne Andre – trombone (6)
Tom Scott – alto saxophone, clarinet (1); tenor saxophone (1, 3, 4, 6); Lyricon (3, 6), horn arrangement (3, 4, 6)
David Sanborn – alto saxophone (5)
Michael Brecker – tenor saxophone (3, 5, 6)
Dave Tofani – tenor saxophone (5)
Ronnie Cuber – baritone saxophone (5)
Walter Kane – clarinet (1)
George Marge – clarinet
Rob Mounsey – piano (3–5), synthesizer (7), horn arrangement (1, 5)
Don Grolnick – electric piano, Clavinet (1)
Bill Tobin – electric piano (3)
Pat Rebillot – electric piano (6)
Joe Sample – electric piano (7)
Hiram Bullock – guitar (6)
Larry Carlton – lead guitar (7)
Rick Derringer – guitar (6)
Steve Khan – guitar (1, 3, 4, 7), lead guitar (6)
Mark Knopfler – lead guitar (5)
Hugh McCracken – guitars (2, 5)
Chuck Rainey – bass (1, 7)
Steve Gadd – drums (3, 6, 7), percussion (2)
Anthony Jackson – bass (3, 6)
Rick Marotta – drums (2, 5)
Jeff Porcaro – drums (4)
Bernard Purdie – drums (1)
Errol “Crusher” Bennett – percussion (1, 4)
Victor Feldman – percussion (2)
Ralph MacDonald – percussion (3, 6)
Nicholas Marrero – percussion (6)
Michael McDonald (5), Patti Austin (1,4,5), Valerie Simpson (3–6), Frank Floyd (2,3,6), Diva Gray (1), Gordon Grody (1), Lani Groves (1), Lesley Miller (1,3–5), Zachary Sanders (2,3,6), Toni Wine (1) – backing vocals

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