Moore (Digest, 12/23/97): Where The Royal Scam contained a theme
of escape, and Aja one of returning home, Gaucho could hardly help but
struggles that went into it. While the music is recorded with the greatest fidelity available, the lyrics portray the first signs of aging, when what worked in
youth isn't working anymore.
"I'm not what I used to be," "Living hard will take its toll," "I'm just growing old." Everything sounded so effortless on Aja, but on Gaucho sounded tense
and tired, the product of great strain.
The followup to a peak performance is hard enough under ordinary circumstances, but the well-documented misfortunes caused Gaucho to sound forced,
drained of youthful energy, with hardly any joy or pleasure in the creation of this music. It was no fun anymore; no wonder they stopped.
Ong (Digest, 12/23/97): The lyrics [of "Babylon Sisters," "Hey
Nineteen," and "Glamour Profession"] are uncharacteristically direct and
straightforward, and come as close as anything the Dan has produced to resembling a "theme" project. This trio of tunes is a window onto life in Lotusland.
From the vantage point of our choirboys, it's a world of sweet young things, controlled substances and urban, street-level chic. It's a milieu in which the pursuit
of pleasure is paramount, and unchecked by considerations of legality, morality and propriety. As is their custom, the boys do not apply a single-minded
perspective to their subject. They simultaneously celebrate, mock and savage the figures, dealings and atmosphere that occupy these songs.
Casagrande (Digest, 12/23/97): Two songs in particular on Gaucho,
"Babylon Sister" and "Glamour Profession," do a better job of capturing
"mood" than any others I've ever heard. I eventually escaped the Shenandoah Valley and spent some time in Southern California. Donald and Walter somehow
captured that scene in song. It's uncanny. They just invoke it.
Silvers (GB, 9/18/98): Gaucho is (IMHO, of course)
the next logical step after Aja.
Aja is the anticipation; looking forward to what will happen when Josie comes home, or of returning to Aja after dalliances elsewhere. Gaucho shows an
awareness of consequences, the hard living coming back to haunt the users in Glamour Profession; the realization and regret in Babylon Sisters that love is best
experienced between only two.
Aja's signature was a defiant "I'll be what I want to be," Gaucho's was a resigned "I'm not what I used to be."
Not really about the lyrics, but good food for thought:
(10/ 99): I noticed a sense of negativity in the introductory
notes on Gaucho...everyone seems to compare it to AJA for some reason.
be the first to agree that AJA was without a doubt their best work, with the best "studio shine" and most positive feeling of effort, I still have to think that
every album they did was different but GREAT as well. Gaucho is no exception. About 15-16 years ago, Donald Fagen told us in an interview that he and
Walter Becker finally realised what AJA was while listening to some mixing of the project. It was what they had set out to do in the beginning. I've read
elsewhere and since that after AJA, they still owed MCA one more project and after the huge success of AJA, didn't want to do it. Obliged, they took as long
as they could to make Gaucho, trying in a sense to get as far away from AJA as possible to do it.
I don't know why anyone would think they sound "tired" or "old" in this album. It's funky, smooth, brassy...Glamour Profession is a piece of art in
my books. How can anyone listen to the theme of this work and think it sounds tired??? Gaucho is all this talent, singing about sex and getting high. It doesn't
sound like AJA, but then AJA didn't sound like The Royal Scam.
For a band that didn't want to even DO Gaucho, they sure did a damn fine job, and a DIFFERENT job as well. After all, who wants to hear 2 AJA's in a
I say, "Three Cheers" for Mr Fagen and Mr Becker when it comes to anything....including Gaucho. :]
Jive Miguel (GB, 2/29/00): Perhaps a better title for the album should have been "Too Good For Mere Mortals".
(GB, 11/21/00): Duke Ellington connection w/ 'Gaucho'.....Ellington's
first recording sessions, including the ones that resulting in the recording
'East St.Louis Toddle-o' (1926), took place at Brunswick Records Studios at 799 Broadway.....50 years later, sessions for what would become the 'Gaucho'
album took place at A&R Studios (torn down in 1984) at 799 Broadway.....I believe these are the same studios where the infamous erasure of 'The Second
Arrangement' took place.....a ghost of an old engineer???