Steely Dan Sunday, “Teahouse On The Tracks” (1993)

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And so we reach the conclusion of Kamakiriad with a funky horn-drenched number. The narrative for “Teahouse On The Tracks” is explained by Fagen himself, whereby our hero of the Kamakiraid story “lands in dismal Flytown where he must decide whether to bail out or to rally and continue moving into the unknown.” It would appear that the main protagonist is leaning toward the latter course: “On Sunday morning, you’re back at the wheel/You’re feeling calm and crisp and strong.”

Birch Johnson’s perky, swinging ‘bone solo is the high point of the song, but unluckily it’s also accompanied by the low point, those annoying applauses that pops up every time the rhythm takes a break. That’s my only real gripe about the song, but on the other hand, the trombone is the only thing that moves me about the song, too. The rest of the tune leaves me…not cold, let’s say lukewarm. And there’s no precise reason why, which why almost twenty years later I still don’t skip this track, thinking it’s going to click. I’m not feeling it yet, man.

Regardless, Donald Fagen’s chaff is many another pop act’s wheat. “Teahouse On The Tracks” would probably be the top track on many of these acts’ albums. For Fagen, it’s not the strongest way to end an album, but also well short of disastrous, too.

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