I’ve been listening to Mike Doughty’s recent release of re-imangined Soul Coughing songs. The first time through there were uncertain thoughts about it. Soul Coughing was a huge part of my musical life, and the band was on my top bands that I wanted to see live. Unfortunately, after their third release, El Oso, in 1998, the band split. I did not know the real reason why they split, and it was assumed irreconcilable differences. Until Doughty’s 2012 The Book of Drugs memoir, the band members relationships with each other was never quite understood.
There is major respect for Doughty. In his memoir, he’s brutally honest and objective, and it kind of put a damper on my view towards Soul Coughing. If the rivalry within the band was to be justified, the three other members (Doughty never mentions them by name in the book) would have done their own thing. Doughty does refer to them as great musicians. Unfortunately, for the three others, their egos got in the way. None of them play together, and they’ve gone their own separate ways. Since their breakup, I’ve still been a dedicated Doughty fan.
That’s why I pledged.
The distinctive sound that Soul Coughing produced, which can still be heard on the albums (duh), is incredible. Doughty’s lyrics–some may describe them as indistinguishable or nonsense–in my opinion, they are artistic, smart, and very singable. I don’t mind rolling down the street pumping Ruby Vroom, Irresistible Bliss, or El Oso. Despite the band mates being egotistical asses, they were tight. They pumped out music inspired by jazz, hip-hop, blues, and New Wave among others.
A lot of people have never heard of them, which I find strange and hard to believe. “Super Bon Bon” and “Soft Serve” (both off of 1996’s Irresitible Bliss) got a lot of radio play here in Central New York. Off of El Oso: “Circles” and “Rolling.” The band isn’t a one-hit wonder. I remember a friend of mine in college asking me what the hell I was playing. I told him, and he disapproved. It doesn’t matter; everyone has their own opinion. If Doughty wasn’t such an integral part of the music making, he probably would have agreed with my friend. Eh, maybe not.
Now, Doughty is proudly doing his thing, and he’s creating devilishly sing-a-long-able songs. In my opinion, he’s a solid voice (and personality) of independent music. It was tough to listen to the CD the first time the whole way through, because I kept comparing the first with the re-imagined songs. He only refurbished 13 of the songs; he can definitely do more if he so chooses. He has my blessing.
He needs to refurbish “City of Motors,” “Supra Genius,” “Sugar Free Jazz,” “Screenwriter’s Blues,” (Hell, well anything off of Ruby Vroom), “Soft Serve,” “Soundtrack to Mary,” and… and why am I bothering to list the songs he should take another stab at? I WANT TO HEAR ALL OF THEM!!! This latest release has only given me a taste and I want more.
There is no regret in constantly wanting to sing “Unsingable Name” over and over, however. Love Haughty Melodic. I’ll sing it the whole way through, but in the presense of no one by myself.
As someone who favors a good solo show, Doughty can do justice simply by himself and a guitar. You cannot forget Scrap, however. The two of them put one one hell of a show in Syracuse (The Westcott Theater) a few years back.
Let’s take a listen to some Soul Coughing and solo Doughty:
and… the refurbished version…
On the way home tonight from the CNY Blogger Meetup, “Blues Music” flowed through the iPod. The song is off of G. Love and Special Sauce (1994), the self-titled album of the artist(s) with the same name. G. Love has always been a treat, even though the only radio song that I’ve heard through the radio stations was “Stepping Stones” off of the 1997 release Yeah, It’s That Easy. Yes, I celebrate these songs in my CD and iTunes collections.
This Philadelphia-born musician, who appreciates the songwriting craft, has successfully and consistently fused blues, folk, jazz, and hip-hop into his music. Many of you have heard his name, so don’t even begin to say you’ve never heard his music. I have yet to see G. Love in concert; I cannot wait. If I was smart, I would see him in Philly; it’s not that far away.
For the love of music.
What is the deal with me and 1994? This was the year that yours truly turned 11, but I’ve been constantly bringing up 1994 pop culture references. Aside the debut of Soul Coughing and Ruby Vroom, G. Love and Special Sauce’s self titled album, in the last couple weeks I’ve brought up Dave Matthews Band’s Under the Table and Dreaming, Friends television show, Sunny Day Real Estate’s Diary, Kurt Cobain’s death, and I think I brought up our family’s second trip to Disney World in there.
I want to throw a party. It will be 1994-themed: music and entertainment alike. All guests will have to dress like you had in that year, or like your parents…