Fire Note Says: This covers record is respectful, soulful and possesses plenty of laid back fun!
Album Review: Cover albums can be a tricky thing for an artist of any talent so it always worries me a little when someone I like decides to go where plenty of others have failed before. Mike Doughty is up for the challenge as his new outing titled The Flip Is Another Honey finds him tackling 15 songs from some classic artists like John Denver, Cheap Trick and Thin Lizzy, while also giving props to some more modern acts such as Low, Red House Painters and Thomas Bartlett (Doveman).
I always think to succeed at this cover venture an artist needs to shake it up enough to make old songs fresh but not go too crazy with tricks that it destroys the original – this is why cover albums are hard to pull off. Well – Doughty I think finds a balance here on The Flip Is Another Honey to make it a listen worth your while. During his Soul Coughing days he always had the right rhythms with his stylish rap and you get to hear this on the opening interpretation of Denver’s “Sunshine” which finds Doughty rapping the verses between a John Denver chorus sample. The result works for an engaging listen. This gets you prepped for his rollicking take on “Jimmy Bell” which was a blues song written by Cat Iron but based on the version from the The Numbers Band 1976 record Jimmy Bell’s Still In Town. It is an excellent track that I am sure not many in present day have heard the original and Doughty owns it. Other tracks that Doughty manipulates typically work like “Tightrope” that features the Stone Roses chorus and his rapped versus.
Some more straight forward takes here also work well with Doughty’s comfortable singing voice as he drives Cheap Trick’s “Southern Girls” with a more laid back foot tapper style and his sincere take on Low’s “Words” from their 1994 debut I Could Live In Hope. The bigger question with a cover album for me is – will I go back to it later? To be honest that does not happen that often but The Flip Is Another Honey could easily find its way into a shuffle list because Doughty does a nice job and the album is very timeless. Sure it will not win any prizes or be a number one record but it accomplishes respect for the artists covered and secures my high regard for Mike Doughty’s musical talent.
Key Tracks: “Jimmy Bell”, “Southern Girls”, “Words”
Artists With Similar Fire: Beck / Cake / Ben Folds
Mike Doughty Website
Mike Doughty Facebook
-Reviewed by Christopher Anthony