Doughty Releases Sad Man Happy Man

Here is a review by Joey O.

Early last year, Mike Doughty released Golden Delicious, which meshed his solo career with some of the beats of his Soul Coughing days. However, the overall effect didn’t really make for a coherent listening experience. Coming back with Sad Man Happy Man, Doughty goes back to basics and makes his most stripped down record in years. Hearkening back to his first solo album; the self-released Skittish; much of Sad Man Happy Man focuses on Doughty’s voice and acoustic guitar, with some bass and cello flourishes from his cohort Scrap Livingston. However, it is far from just another acoustic, singer-songwriter record.

Opening with “Nectarine (Part Two),” a sequel to “Nectarine (Part One)” from Golden Delicious, it sets the tone for Sad Man Happy Man, keeping Doughty’s distinctive voice and guitar style front and center. “Lorna Zauberberg” sticks out from its use of some sampled, chopped-up chatter, but there is very little in the way of extra sounds and production at all here. “Pleasure On Credit” is closest Doughty gets to his classic Soul Coughing free-form ‘slacker jazz’ rap-style (with the great couplet “John Paul Jones/bustle in the hedges”). The “happy man” part of the equation is represented by songs like “(I Keep On) Rising Up” and the raucous “Lord Lord Help Me Just To Rock Rock On.” In the end though, this is Mike Doughty doing what he does best: catchy songs with repetitive choruses and off-kilter wordplay that bore into your brain. You’ll have two chances this fall to catch Doughty’s always-enjoyable live show in the area: October 30 at the Sellersville Theater and November 27 at World Café Live.