In the long interim since her previous album, she solicited compositions from her contemporaries, selected others from her archives, and penned one herself. The care that went into choosing the material and recruiting the musicians for this long-simmering project has yielded Kelly Hogan an album that will stand as a milestone in her career.
The eminently quotable singer has said that the inspiration for this album is what she calls, “The Lurch Period of Pop Music,” referring to the harpsichord-playing Addams Family butler and a time “when The Everly Brothers had ruffly shirts.” While that type of ornate chamber pop may have been the inspiration, there’s nothing frilly-shirted about I Like…. Rather, the song craft, sensibilities, and sound all evoke that golden time, from the mid-to-late '60s, when the record industry invested in quality performers and music of substance that have stood the test of time, and saw that investment rewarded with vast success.
Recorded at Hollywood’s EastWest studios, where much of the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds was crafted, the album has a clean, bright, natural sound, “Lurch Period” music with all the advantages of 21st century recording technology. If there were any digital doohickeys involved, it sounds like analog arm-wrestled them to insignificance in the mix. The production, by Hogan herself, with Anti-Records' president, Andy Kaulkin, keeps Hogan’s full-bodied vocals in front of strong, straightforward instrumental support from a four-piece band.
And what a band it is. Scott Ligon has stepped into shoes once worn by the estimable Al Anderson, and handles both guitars and extras like vibes and mellotron, here. Bassist Gabriel Roth co-founded Daptone Records, home to his regular gig, Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings. James Gadson has been called “one of the most-recorded drummers in the history of R&B” and has worked on records by everyone from Charles Wright and the 103rd Street Rhythm Band, to Bill Withers, to Paul McCartney. On organ and piano, a fellow from Memphis named Booker T. Jones. Like his work with the MGs, this band’s backing tracks would make great listening even without the vocals.