Maybe Donald Fagen’s Morph the Cat is better than I remember; I still feel that the production is dry and lyrically Fagen can’t hold a candle to his Steely Dan partner, Walter Becker. Yet Fagen is more firmly grounded in reality on this album than his prior solo release (and his highest charting CD) Kamakiriad.
Fagen also didn’t used the vast talent of his band on this album effectively. Keith Carlock in particular can do so much more than hold down a groove in 4/4 time. After playing these songs Carlock in particular must have been very happy with the grooves Walter Becker gave him to play on his second solo release, Circus Money.
The song “Security Joan” is a good representation of the things I love and don’t love about Morph The Cat. Fagen turns in a great Hammond B-3 solo, Freddy Washington plays a bass break that would make bass-God Chuck Rainey smile and New York jazz guitarist Kenny Wessel delivers a workmanlike guitar run.
Somehow the whole isn’t as interesting as the various parts. Perhaps it’s the predictable lyric the derails the song. Perhaps it’s the familiar rhythm (does this sound too much like “Blues Beach” from Steely Dan’s Everything Must Go?). All I know if I rarely listen to this song and barely remember the next song, “The Night Belongs To Mona.”
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