Steely Dan ‎– The Royal Scam

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The Royal Scam is the fifth album by Steely Dan, originally released by ABC Records in 1976. The album went gold and peaked at #15 on the charts. 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.

The album was re-issued by MCA Records in 1979 following the sale of the ABC Records label to MCA.

Tracklist

Kid Charlemagne 4:38
The Caves Of Altamira 3:33
Don't Take Me Alive 4:18
Sign In Stranger 4:22
The Fez 3:59
Green Earrings 4:05
Haitian Divorce 5:30
Everything You Did 3:54
The Royal Scam 6:31

Versions (102)

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
ABCD-931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, San) ABC Records ABCD-931 US 1976 Sell This Version
5022-931, 502 20931 Steely Dan Royal Scam(Cass, Album, Club) ABC Records, ABC Records 5022-931, 502 20931 US 1976 Sell This Version
6-26-404-029 Steely Dan Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records 6-26-404-029 Brazil 1976 Sell This Version
AB-931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam (LP, Album) ABC Records AB-931 US 1976 Sell This Version
8022-931 H Steely Dan The Royal Scam(8-Trk, Album) ABC Records 8022-931 H US 1976 Sell This Version
XAB 5161 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(8-Trk, Album) ABC Records XAB 5161 UK 1976 Sell This Version
MCLC 1708 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(Cass, Album) ABC Records MCLC 1708 UK 1976 Sell This Version
CAB 5161 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(Cass, Album, RE) ABC Records CAB 5161 UK 1976 Sell This Version
ABCL 5161, ABCD 931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records, ABC Records ABCL 5161, ABCD 931 UK 1976 Sell This Version
ABCD 931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records ABCD 931 US 1976 Sell This Version
27 552 XOT Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records 27 552 XOT Germany 1976 Sell This Version
9022-931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records 9022-931 Canada 1976 Sell This Version
H-201433 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records H-201433 Spain 1976 Sell This Version
ABCD-931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records ABCD-931 Germany 1976 Sell This Version
YX-8028-AB Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records YX-8028-AB Japan 1976 Sell This Version
68.011 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records 68.011 France 1976 Sell This Version
17.1088/7 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records 17.1088/7 Spain 1976 Sell This Version
ABCL 5161 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records ABCL 5161 UK 1976 Sell This Version
27 552 XOT Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records 27 552 XOT Netherlands 1976 Sell This Version
ABCL 313 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records ABCL 313 South Africa 1976 Sell This Version
60279 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) Musart 60279 Mexico 1976 Sell This Version
ABC 421 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records ABC 421 Italy 1976 Sell This Version
ABCD 931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records ABCD 931 US 1976 Sell This Version
ABCD-931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records ABCD-931 US 1976 Sell This Version
ABCD 931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records ABCD 931 US 1976 Sell This Version
50-14.256 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records 50-14.256 Argentina 1976 Sell This Version
ABCD 931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records ABCD 931 Australia 1976 Sell This Version
MAB-931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) MCA Records MAB-931 Canada 1976 Sell This Version
ABCD 931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records ABCD 931 New Zealand 1976 Sell This Version
9022-931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records 9022-931 Canada 1976 Sell This Version
ABCD 931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records ABCD 931 India 1976 Sell This Version
ABCD-931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, Club, CRC) ABC Records ABCD-931 US 1976 Sell This Version
ABCD-931, R-120098 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, Club, RCA) ABC Records, ABC Records ABCD-931, R-120098 US 1976 Sell This Version
ABCD-931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, Gol) ABC Records ABCD-931 US 1976 Sell This Version
ABCD 931, ABCD-931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, PRC) ABC Records, ABC Records ABCD 931, ABCD-931 US 1976 Sell This Version
ABCD-931, ABCD 931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, Pit) ABC Records, ABC Records ABCD-931, ABCD 931 US 1976 Sell This Version
ABCD 931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, Promo) ABC Records ABCD 931 US 1976 Sell This Version
ABCL-0171 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, San) ABC Records ABCL-0171 US 1976 Sell This Version
ABCD-931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, San) ABC Records ABCD-931 Yugoslavia 1976 Sell This Version
ABCD-931, ABCD 931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, San) ABC Records, ABC Records ABCD-931, ABCD 931 US 1976 Sell This Version
ABCD-931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, TP, San) ABC Records ABCD-931 US 1976 Sell This Version
ABCD 931, AB 931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, Ter) ABC Records, ABC Records ABCD 931, AB 931 US 1976 Sell This Version
ABCD-931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, Ter) ABC Records ABCD-931 US 1976 Sell This Version
ABCD 931, AB 931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, Ter) ABC Records, ABC Records ABCD 931, AB 931 US 1976 Sell This Version
ABCD 931, AB 931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, Ter) ABC Records, ABC Records ABCD 931, AB 931 US 1976 Sell This Version
9022-931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, Yel) ABC Records 9022-931 Canada 1976 Sell This Version
6040, MP-6040, MP-6.040 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records, ABC Records, ABC Records 6040, MP-6040, MP-6.040 Portugal 1977 Sell This Version
MP-6.040, MP-6040, 6040 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) ABC Records, ABC Records, ABC Records MP-6.040, MP-6040, 6040 Portugal 1977 Sell This Version
ABCD-931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, RE) ABC Records ABCD-931 US 1977 Sell This Version
MCAC-37044 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(Cass, Album, RE) MCA Records MCAC-37044 US 1979 Sell This Version
ABCD-931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, RE) MCA Records ABCD-931 US 1979 Sell This Version
201 433-320 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, RE) MCA Records 201 433-320 Germany 1979 Sell This Version
MCA-1595 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, RE) MCA Records MCA-1595 US 1980 Sell This Version
MCA-37044 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, RE) MCA Records MCA-37044 Canada 1980 Sell This Version
MCA-37044 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, RE) MCA Records MCA-37044 US 1980 Sell This Version
VIM 4040 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, RE) MCA Records VIM 4040 Japan 1980 Sell This Version
MCA-37044 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, RE) MCA Records MCA-37044 US 1980 Sell This Version
H-201433 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, RP) MCA Records H-201433 Spain 1981 Sell This Version
MCL 1708 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, RE) MCA Records MCL 1708 UK 1982 Sell This Version
25 0505-1 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, RE) MCA Records 25 0505-1 Spain 1984 Sell This Version
250 505-1 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, RE) MCA Records 250 505-1 Europe 1984 Sell This Version
1708-1 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, RE) MCA Records 1708-1 Australia 1984 Sell This Version
MCAD-31193 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, RE) MCA Records MCAD-31193 US 1985 Sell This Version
MCAD-37044 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, RE) MCA Records MCAD-37044 US 1985 Sell This Version
20P2-2115 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, RE) MCA Records 20P2-2115 Japan 1988 Sell This Version
MCL 1708 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, RE) MCA Records MCL 1708 UK 1991 Sell This Version
MCD 01708, DMCL 1708 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, RE) MCA Records, MCA Records MCD 01708, DMCL 1708 Europe 1994 Sell This Version
MCD 01708, DMCL 1708 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, RE) MCA Records, MCA Records MCD 01708, DMCL 1708 Europe 1994 Sell This Version
SVLP 0046 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, Ltd, RE, 180) Simply Vinyl SVLP 0046 UK 1998 Sell This Version
088 112 051-2 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, Club, RE, RM) MCA Records 088 112 051-2 US 1999 Sell This Version
811 708-2 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, RE, RM) MCA Music Corp of America 811 708-2 UK & Europe 1999 Sell This Version
088 112 051-2 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, RE, RM) MCA Records 088 112 051-2 US 1999 Sell This Version
088 112 051-2 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, RE, RM) MCA Records 088 112 051-2 Canada 2000 Sell This Version
UICY-3025 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, RE, RM) MCA Records UICY-3025 Japan 2000 Sell This Version
MVCZ-10076 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, RE, RM, Pap) MCA Music Corp of America MVCZ-10076 Japan 2000 Sell This Version
UICY-93519 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, RE, SHM) Geffen Records UICY-93519 Japan 2008 Sell This Version
UICY-25039 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, RE, RM, SHM) Geffen Records UICY-25039 Japan 2011 Sell This Version
UICY-76193 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, RE) Geffen Records UICY-76193 Japan 2014 Sell This Version
MCAC-37044 Steely Dan Royal Scam(Cass, Album, RE) MCA Records MCAC-37044 Canada Unknown Sell This Version
none Steely Dan The Royal Scam(9xFile, FLAC, Album, RE) Geffen Records none Europe Unknown
MCAD 31193 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, Club, RE) MCA Records MCAD 31193 US Unknown Sell This Version
MCLD 19083 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, RE) MCA Records MCLD 19083 UK Unknown Sell This Version
MCAD-31193 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, RE) MCA Records MCAD-31193 US Unknown Sell This Version
250 505-2, MCAD 37044 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, RE) MCA Records, MCA Records 250 505-2, MCAD 37044 Europe Unknown Sell This Version
MCD 01708, DMCL 1708 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, RE) MCA Records, MCA Records MCD 01708, DMCL 1708 Europe Unknown Sell This Version
DMCL 1708 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, RE) MCA Records DMCL 1708 UK Unknown Sell This Version
MCAD-31193 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, RE) MCA Records MCAD-31193 US Unknown Sell This Version
811 708-2 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, RE, RM) MCA Records 811 708-2 Europe Unknown Sell This Version
088 112 051-2 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, RE, RM) MCA Records 088 112 051-2 US Unknown Sell This Version
088 112 051-2 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(CD, Album, RE, RM) MCA Records 088 112 051-2 Unknown Sell This Version
MCAC-1595 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(Cass, Album, RE) MCA Records MCAC-1595 US Unknown Sell This Version
SUH 5096 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(Cass, Album, RE) Summit (10) SUH 5096 Australia Unknown Sell This Version
MCLC 19083 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(Cass, Album, RE, Dol) MCA Records MCLC 19083 UK Unknown Sell This Version
AB 931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) MCA Records AB 931 Scandinavia Unknown Sell This Version
LP5628/27552 XOT Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album) PGP RTB LP5628/27552 XOT Yugoslavia Unknown Sell This Version
MP - 6.040 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, Club) ABC Records MP - 6.040 Portugal Unknown Sell This Version
MCMP 31005 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, RE) MCA Records MCMP 31005 Italy Unknown Sell This Version
1A 062-63254 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, RE) MCA Records 1A 062-63254 Netherlands Unknown Sell This Version
MCA-37044 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, RE) MCA Coral MCA-37044 US Unknown Sell This Version
ABCD-931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, RE) MCA Records ABCD-931 US Unknown Sell This Version
0062.715 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, RE) MCA Records 0062.715 Germany Unknown Sell This Version
ABCD 931 Steely Dan The Royal Scam(LP, Album, RE) MCA Records ABCD 931 Australia Unknown Sell This Version

Recommendations

Reviews Show All 10 Reviews

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BobbyAnalog3000

BobbyAnalog3000

March 18, 2017
referencing The Royal Scam, LP, Album, Ter, ABCD 931, AB 931

I'm curious to know if the mastering on this version of the album sounds any different than any other version from 1976. This is the only version I've heard and it sounds pretty amazing.
Pistachios

Pistachios

November 12, 2016
referencing The Royal Scam, LP, Album, San, ABCD-931
I don't know why it's taken so long on my musical journey to this album - but now I have arrived, it's a firm favourite. Others have described the music better than I could, so I'll just encourage you to take a punt on this. It's an addictive album and solid all the way through.
hbmf

hbmf

December 11, 2015
edited over 2 years ago
referencing The Royal Scam, LP, Album, San, ABCD-931
Introduced to the Dan via Aja, due to De La Soul's Eye Know, i started picking up (all) their stuff and eventuated on this. I can happily say it's my favourite album. Perfect lyrics, guitars, brass, bass and rhythm section.

Before the fall when they they wrote it on the wall
When there wasn't even any Hollywood
They heard the call and they wrote in on wall
For you and me we understood
BlackCirclesForMe

BlackCirclesForMe

June 4, 2015
referencing The Royal Scam, LP, Album, San, ABCD-931
Question for anyone out there. I've got a copy of this album. This is the closest sub I could find. Label specifies ABCD-931, runouts are close to this sub but with seagulls on both side A & B but there's a gold embossed stamp on the front cover that says "Platinum Plus" MCA37044. Even the spine says ABCD-931. Would this be a new sub??
CD3003

CD3003

August 26, 2014
referencing The Royal Scam, LP, Album, San, ABCD-931
let's talk about the music:
Even under torture I couldn't say,
which of the first 7 albums of this unique
band is the best, they all belong to a thing
called heaven.
"Haitian Divorce" is my favourite, and when I write
it, I know that I'm wrong.
streetmouse

streetmouse

November 8, 2013
edited over 3 years ago
referencing The Royal Scam, LP, Album, San, ABCD-931

Characterizing Steely Dan as rock with jazz influences, only goes to show people’s illusions with musical genres ... though that being said, with nearly 40 years behind me, perhaps is just easier to see in hindsight. Steely Dan, or more aptly Walter Becker and Donald Fegan, traveling on rock’s coattails, were moving far past jazz, far past the concepts of classical music, and moving toward a sound that will be lighter and smoother than air, where the only certainty that the music existed, was the fact that your curtains are dancing at the open window. And while these two had not yet cut the perfect colourless, flawless diamond, it only took this release to shake out past concepts, while creating this bridge to the next.

This is the first album by The Dan that does not rely on an interplay of musicians, but relies solely on the interplay of musical notes. This gives the album a undeniable slickness, and despite it’s overall seductiveness, laced with shrouded mysterious lyrics, the albums sounds soulless, calculated, tense, and cold ... leaving no material that would obviously climb those Top 40 AM friendly charts [“The Fez” never charted higher than #59, and “Kid Charlemagne” only reached #82]. And while the The Royal Scam is certainly not a concept album in the broader sense, an album where all of the songs except “The Fez” revolve around the protagonist’s ability to sidestep and escape from recent sins, crimes, and retribution, these two musical gunslingers may have just written the ultimate outlaw saga, one which now certainly indicates that they have been planning the subversive overthrow of rock n’ roll as we’d come to know it.

Yet with all of this, The Royal Scam is a resoundingly good album, one where many of us may have overlooked any flaws; flaws that were hints at a future we were yet unable to see. Why even Rolling Stone suggested that this was a great album, and that with the course Steely Dan were on said, “Their next album, if one can speculate ... should be a pop killer.” Of course, that next album being Aja was not filled with pop killers, though perhaps it was a pop-killer.

On a lighter note: The album cover, “ ... the most hideous album art of the 70’s, bar none.” according to Fagan and Becker, was originally designed for Van Morrison’s unreleased 1975 outing Naked In The City. The line, “ ... turn up The Eagles, the neighbors are listening ...” comes from the song “Everything You Did,” and is referencing Becker’s girlfriend’s love for The Eagles. Later in the song “Hotel California,” The Eagles return the favor with a penis metaphor, “They stab it with their Steely knives, but they just can’t kill the beast.” [The beast being rock n’ roll.] Seems there was playful love and affection, after all, Steely Dan bassist Timothy Schmit musician would later join The Eagles. And on a psychedelic note, "Kid Charlemagne" pays homage to the legendary underground chemist Stanley Owsly, the man who psychedelized the world from 1965 to 1967, creating more than 150 million hits of the purest high grade acid.

Take The Royal scam or leave it, but it can not be denied as a marker on the musical highway.

Review by Jenell Kesler
Globe199

Globe199

September 23, 2011
referencing The Royal Scam, LP, Album, San, ABCD-931
Steely Dan's last "pop" album finds them perfecting the style they had developed over the previous two albums. A huge dose of rock guitar courtesy of (mostly) Larry Carlton matches perfectly with the driving disco beats.

The record's centerpiece is "Haitian Divorce," a weird song with a talk-box guitar solo by Dean Parks. Especially great is the solo in the last minute or so that fades out. I really love the change to Fmaj7 around 4:40. But there isn't a bad song here, and many of these tracks are simply classics. Kid Charlemagne (great lyrics), Don't Take Me Alive, and The Fez are just a few of the highlights.