The nearly 73 minutes and 17 tracks on Recognition (including a hidden track of the shaggy dog baseball story "Mojo & the St. Luke's Flukes," set to the tune of "St. James Infirmary") allow Rod MacDonald the space to offer a full complement of typically witty and heartfelt considerations of political and emotional matters. On a personal level, he who in the past wrote so many songs of romantic excursion, continues to celebrate his happy marriage on such songs as "You Who Sleep Beside Me" and "We Got It Good & That Ain't Bad." But if MacDonald enjoys domestic bliss, he continues to be stirred up by what he reads in the paper and what he sees around him, and much of the album is given over to songs with social and political implications. On "The Man Who Dropped the Bomb on Hiroshima," he confronts that pilot and hears his justifications and doubts; on "My Neighbors in Delray," he considers the September 11 terrorists who lived near him while attending flight school; "Doctor Gachet" concerns a Van Gogh painting that went unsold at first, but is now passed between millionaires, unseen by the public; "Video Game" takes on virtual violence; and "137 Executions (Not One Innocent Man)" disparages the death-penalty policies of Texas and a certain former governor of that state who went on to higher office. MacDonald reserves his broadest political statement for the end of the disc with "For the Good of America," which looks back across 40 years and the many governmental deceptions dating back to the assassination of President Kennedy. The rigorousness of MacDonald's arguments is augmented by the forcefulness of his clear tenor and the familiar folk and folk-rock arrangements that may cause the listener to sing along whether or not he or she shares MacDonald's political philosophy.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann