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Music Review: Mike Doughty – Golden Delicious

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The cleverly admired by many, Mike Doughty, is back with an all new album Golden Delicious.  Following up to his 2005 release the man once behind “Super Bon Bon” has released a CD full of witty fun tracks brewed with his self proclaimed “dude theory”, an idea of recording music that sounds like a bunch of dudes playing music for the fun of it.  With help from his touring band, Mike Doughty has succeeded in creating a high spirited CD full of tracks that can help accompany an entertaining day.

Back in the days of Doc Martins and countless radio festivals there was a band by the name of Soul Coughing.  The band was labeled alternative rock and a little different from the norm.  Mike Doughty (then identified as M. Doughty) had created the band while working at the legendary Knitting Factory.   The band soon became a cult band well recognized with the smart poetic lyrics accompanied by different genres of music including jazz, hip hop, and rock.

With success comes calamity at times and there was no exception with Soul Coughing.  By 2000 the band was feuding over owed money and Mike Doughty was in his own battle with heroin addiction.  The band called it quits but Mike Doughty continued as a solo act.  He would play solo shows in various cities and sell his self recorded CD after shows on stage to fans. 

Having the triumph of his solo material Mike Doughty built a very impressive fan base and had released two CDs.  Mike Doughty would later play the 2004 Bonnaroo festival where he met up with a lasting Soul Coughing fan, Dave Mathews.  Dave Mathews soon signed Mike Doughty to his label ATO Records.  Golden Delicious is the second release with that label.

This CD starts out a little more serious with the political “Fort Hood”.   The chorus of the song, “let the sunshine in”, is clearly borrowed from the musical Hair.  The song has meaning as Fort Hood is an Army base that has lost the most soldiers in the Iraq war.  I was kind of shocked to hear this as the opening track of the CD because I am used to Mike Doughty being funny and uncanny.  It is a good song with an upbeat sense, but leaves you feeling rather gloomy.

Sounding more like the Mike Doughty I once listened to is “I Just Want The Girl In The Blue Dress To Keep On Dancing”.  This song could be described as Dave Mathews Band meets Soul Coughing as the energy is high and elements of good times can be heard.  I especially liked the back-up vocals with battling acoustics and funky bass.  This is the type of song best listened to with friends in the summertime.

The Beck sounding “More Bacon Than The Pan Can Handle” was worth a second listen as I was utterly confused the first time through.  The song is like a twisted mix of experimental rock and jazz.  I really liked the female vocals as she just has a cute voice.

“27 Jennifers” is the first single off the album and has already been getting radio play.  This jazzy rock jam is more of an ode to all the girls in the past that brushed shoulders with Mike Doughty in the high school hallways.  They keyboard solo takes hints from eighties rock and came out of nowhere, leaving me with a smile on my face.

A deep breath is taken by Mike Doughty right before “I Got The Drop On You” starts.  This open mic coffee shop song is slower than the others on the track.  Mike Doughty’s stern low pitched voice bellows over acoustic guitars.  It is poetic with clever lyrics and I would not expect anything else.

About Brian McConville