Hot on the heels of the Rockity Roll re-release comes Doughty’s new studio album, Haughty Melodic, which was released today, and which I’m listening to right now. Initial reaction: damn, this kicks ass. About half the album is material I’ve heard before, stuff that simmered and mellowed during the years that Doughty toured the country like an itinerant troubadour with a guitar slung across his back.
You might think that this would leave me feeling ripped off; if so, you’d be dead wrong. The arrangements on the new album are so damn rich, so simultaneously energetic and polished, that listening to them after having heard their acoustic forebears is like seeing the final lithograph after having reviewed a series of pencil sketches. The promise and vitality of the early versions carries through undimmed, but it’s bolstered by tasteful and restrained elaborations and enhancements.
Besides, now I finally know what the bridge to “Grey Ghost” sounds like when sung with real words. (And if you have no idea what that means, have someone lucky enough to own a copy of Smofe + Smang: Live in Mpls. play you that album’s “Grey Ghost”, which contains the amazing “fake-word bridge” that gave Smofe + Smang its title.)
Doughty will be in town on May 20th. Alas, advance tickets have sold out. We will have to try our luck at the will-call booth. Stand aside, puny humans! You place yourselves between me and a man who can use the word “decathecting” in a lyric at your own grave peril.