Did Fagen hit his high water mark with track number four on Morph The Cat?
The song “Brite Nitegown” beats the listener over the head with Fagen’s rhythm stick. The writer producer/finally gets his drummer and bassist to work up a steamy sweat. Interestingly, no drummer or bassist are credited on the track. Perhaps this is Fagen making good use of his rhythm track programming skills. The track also has a weird marimba breakdown which is credited to Phonus Quaver, another of Donald Fagen’s many pseudonyms.
Another piece of the funk puzzle that Fagen fits into place is the rhythm guitar, in this case credited solely (and I suspect incorrectly) to Jon Herington. There appears to be three distinct rhythm guitar tracks each with a separate feel and one which sounds a lot like that of solo guitarist Wayne Krantz’s style. Indeed, Krantz gets credit for the almost Zappa-like distorted wah-wah guitar solo only adding to perhaps some of the best and weirdest guitar work on any Fagen song. Fagen does a stellar job a weaving the five-piece horn section together with his R&B flavored arrangements which almost makes this listener get up and dance.
The phrase “The Fellow In The Bright Nightgown” refers to death and the song’s lyrics discuss a child’s near-death experience and the visit from that unwelcome guest. Heady stuff for a listener to dance to, yet still funky and even funny.
Go ahead and dance to ”Brite Nitegown,” I won’t tell anybody.
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