Reassessing Steely Dan's "Gaucho" (almost 37 years later)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by johnny 99, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. jsayers

    jsayers Just Drifting....

    Horse Shoe, NC
    I liked it just OK until I bought the dvd-audio surround disc, and it took on a whole new life for me., especially the track "Glamour Profession". Love the way that song just clicks along and puts me in a special place. :agree:
    bluejimbop, DonnyMe, kevywevy and 2 others like this.
  2. Malcolm Crowne

    Malcolm Crowne Forum Habitue

    Portland OR
    Hey Nineteen is worth the price alone. Wotta smoothie.
    Today I theorized that Hey Ninteen is narrated by the same character as Deacon Blues, after three years of pretending to be some hip daddy now he's just another old fool ogling the young girls and thinking he means something.
    ...any takers on this world shattering analysis?!
  3. strummer101

    strummer101 The insane on occasion aren't without their charms

    Lakewood OH
    Loved it then, love it now.
    905, bluejimbop, Satrus and 1 other person like this.
  4. Bullis

    Bullis Forum Resident

    Niagara County
    Still a timeless classic
    deany76 and Satrus like this.
  5. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    San Jose, CA
    Aren't we all?
  6. CWillman

    CWillman Forum Resident

    L.A., CA
    The liner notes for the reissue CD reveal Becker and Fagen's own thoughts about this album. It's true that their disdain may have more to do with the tortured memories of making it than the end result. But if they could have gone back in time and eliminated that drum machine, they would've. Me, too. This will forever be the weakest of the Dan albums for me, as much as I love certain things about it. The idea that it's one of anyone's favorites still boggles the mind. Is it still one of the best albums of that year? Of course. But relative to the rest of the catalog...
    Rose River Bear and zebop like this.
  7. zebop

    zebop Well Known Stranger

    That's true, I can really hear Wendel when I'm listening for it, that was a silly decision.
    Nostaljack likes this.
  8. varitone

    varitone Forum Resident

    Lincs, UK
    I've always been at the cold stage. Time to give it another go I suppose.
  9. pool_of_tears

    pool_of_tears Searching For Simplicity

    If they were to remix the album, we could hear it without the processed/sampled/Wendel machine drums.

    There was no reason for the use of Wendel, other than the pursuit of perfection. Hey, Don and Walt: the more you think, the more you stink. When you have Jeff Porcaro, Bernard Purdie, Steve Gadd and Rick Marotta playing drums on those sessions, you don't need Wendel. It doesn't bother me, but the tracks sometimes have a samey-feel to them.

    The album is very good on its own terms, but lacks the peaks of Aja.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
    Doc Diego, ohnothimagen and lightbulb like this.
  10. Nostaljack

    Nostaljack Resident R&B enthusiast

    Washington, DC
    His...LOL! Thanks for not crucifying me for that. I know Steely Dan isn't a guy...LOL!

    zebop likes this.
  11. Chemguy

    Chemguy Forum Resident

    No reassessment required here. One of my favourites.
    4_everyman, klockwerk and strummer101 like this.
  12. lightbulb

    lightbulb Not the Brightest of the Bunch

    Smogville CA USA
    Although I rushed out to buy Gaucho upon its' release, I recall a sense of disappointment.

    Let's backtrack a bit:
    After being astonished by Aja (released 9/23/77). ...then hearing the FM radio debut of "Here At the Western World" from the greatest hits album (released 11/30/78) which was enjoyable, but somewhat a let down after the impact of Aja.
    Obviously, it was a tough act to follow.

    However, the bittersweet nature of the song - lyrics, melody, and my personal reaction to the song - all dovetailed perfectly.

    Then the release of Gaucho (on 11/21/80) confirmed the band had left Aja behind for good.
    Sure, I enjoyed the upbeat pop of "Hey Nineteen", and brisk "Time Out of Mind"...

    The other songs are reminiscent of that feeling when the best moments have past - that exact feeling when you realize you have to reassess your expectations.
    Interestingly, the one time I'd felt the songs fit my mood, I was driving westward in the late afternoon - and the autumn sun was setting.

    Exactly at that moment, Babylon Sisters and Glamour Profession seemed to click.
  13. Dr. Funk

    Dr. Funk Vintage Dust

    Fort Worth TX
    I've never thought of that theory until now, and I like it.
  14. SixOClockBoos

    SixOClockBoos The Man On The Flaming Pie

    I love Hey Nineteen. I remember I watched a video of "Album Of The Year" being presented (I think at the 1982 Grammy's) and the song they played over the announcement of Gaucho was Hey Nineteen and I instantly went through all of the tracks on that album to find out which one it was. I was unfamiliar with that album of that time.
  15. zebop

    zebop Well Known Stranger

    I think a lot of the "feel" was captured in "Glamour Profession" and since that's my favorite from Gaucho I don't see how both songs make it, I'm glad "GP" did.
    Instant Dharma likes this.
  16. Instant Dharma

    Instant Dharma Do I hear dogs barking on that thing?

    CoCoCo, Ca
    I love this one too. In fact I would listen to it more often than Aja.
  17. Instant Dharma

    Instant Dharma Do I hear dogs barking on that thing?

    CoCoCo, Ca
    Yeah its nothing mind blowing. Maybe rhey did right by letting it go.
  18. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Senior Member

    I like Gaucho but IMO it is nowhere near the brilliance of Aja and it is very different in some ways.
    BluesOvertookMe likes this.
  19. They Call Me M

    They Call Me M Wall History Nerd

    Fort Worth, TX
    I love Gaucho because it's slick, cold, superficial and detached. I was living in Los Angeles when it was released. At the time, Gaucho was the perfect soundtrack for LA for me. It's my second favorite Dan album behind Katy Lied. Aja would be third.
  20. I like it. It's slickness is it's salvation.
    Say It Right and zebop like this.
  21. Moshe

    Moshe Forum Resident

    Steely Dan has always sounded very west coast to me. (I don't know how to explain why. They just do)
    Even though they're from the east coast, they've never sounded very east coast at all.
    To me anyway.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
  22. realgone

    realgone Forum Resident

    Overly slick coupled with mostly unsubstantial songs bar a few make it the weakest of their catalog for me.
    yarbles and Nostaljack like this.
  23. overdrivethree

    overdrivethree Forum Resident

    About 5-6 years ago, it was the first album of theirs I more or less connected with. Kind of jumping in headfirst with the whole clinical/polished side of Steely Dan. Knowing what I know now makes me appreciate it all the more, and I *really* like how detached and dispassionate (even in pursuit of perfection) it is.

    With that in mind - Steely Dan often had a perverse undercurrent running through their music, be it the lyrics, compositions, arrangements, or some confluence of all three. But on Gaucho, the production process itself was perverted - all life and humanity shut out of it, in favor of cold, calculated, clinical production. The final frontier for all things Steely Dan (in the original run, anyway).

    It also makes a world of sense that DF dialed back the aloofness and irony (in as much as he ever would) and injected some heart and good-natured humor into The Nightfly immediately thereafter.
    MichaelXX2 and Sevenkims like this.
  24. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen "Live music is better!"

    I admit, based on the "remake" version that circulates on b--tleg, it's a good song but IMO doesn't quite live up to the hype of "great lost song". It definitely has that Gaucho sound/feel, though.
    Instant Dharma likes this.
  25. Lucidae

    Lucidae AAD

    Exactly. It's greatest weakness is also it's greatest strength, just depends how you approach it.
    eclecticfiend and They Call Me M like this.

Share This Page