Thursday 6/10/21 12am ET: Feature LP: Steely Dan – The Royal Scam (1976) Twitter: @steely_dan_bot

Twitter: @steely_dan_bot

The Royal Scam is the fifth studio album by American rock band Steely Dan. It was produced by Gary Katz and was originally released by ABC Records on May 31, 1976. The Royal Scam features more prominent guitar work than the prior Steely Dan album, Katy Lied, which had been the first without founding guitarist Jeff Baxter. Guitarists on the recording include Walter Becker, Denny Dias, Larry Carlton, Elliott Randall and Dean Parks.

In common with other Steely Dan albums, The Royal Scam is littered with cryptic allusions to people and events both real and fictional. In a BBC interview in 2000, Becker and Fagen revealed that “Kid Charlemagne” is loosely based on Augustus Owsley Stanley, the notorious drug “chef” who was famous for manufacturing hallucinogenic compounds, and that “Caves of Altamira”, based on a book by Hans Baumann, is about the loss of innocence, the narrative about a visitor to the Cave of Altamira who registers his astonishment at the prehistoric drawings. It is also influenced by Plato’s Cave Allegory and Keats’ “Ode to a Grecian Urn”.

The album went gold and peaked at number 15 on the Billboard 200. The album was re-issued by MCA Records in 1979 following the sale of the ABC Records label to MCA.

  1. “Kid Charlemagne” 4:38
  2. “The Caves of Altamira” 3:34
  3. “Don’t Take Me Alive” 4:16
  4. “Sign In Stranger” 4:23
  5. “The Fez” 4:01
  6. “Green Earrings” 4:05
  7. “Haitian Divorce” 5:53
  8. “Everything You Did” 3:55
  9. “The Royal Scam” 6:28

Donald Fagen – keyboards, vocals, background vocals
Walter Becker – bass guitar, guitar
Paul Griffin – keyboards
Don Grolnick – keyboards
Denny Dias – guitar
Larry Carlton – guitar
Dean Parks – guitar
Elliott Randall – guitar
Jim Horn – saxophone
Plas Johnson – saxophone
John Klemmer – saxophone
Chuck Findley – trumpet
Bob Findley – horn
Dick Hyde – horn, trombone
Chuck Rainey – bass
Rick Marotta – drums (“Don’t Take Me Alive”, “Everything You Did”)
Bernard Purdie – drums (all other tracks)
Gary Coleman – percussion
Victor Feldman – percussion, keyboards
Timothy B. Schmit – background vocals
Venetta Fields – background vocals
Clydie King – background vocals
Sherlie Matthews – background vocals
Michael McDonald – background vocals
Walter Becker – horn arrangements
Donald Fagen – horn arrangements
Chuck Findley – horn arrangements