Mike Doughty - The Flip Is Another Honey.
Cover albums are always tricky to pull off, especially for established artists. You have your own style to contend with and your own personality working against songs that in some cases are ingrained into the brains of people worldwide. John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads is an anthem pure and simple and not just in West Virginia. This album puts a Doughty spin on the classic and others from other big name bands such as the Stone Roses, Thin Lizzy and Randy Newman.
Personally I'm not a fan of the carbon copy approach to cover songs. I like to see a bit of the cover band in their interpretation of that old classic, there are some cracking examples out there such as Metallica's Garage Inc. Especially when it comes to their interpretation of Thin Lizzy's Whiskey in the Jar. The Flip is anything but a carbon copy; it's a re-interpretation of some classic songs and expansion on others.
Thin Lizzy's Running back and John Denver's Country Roads are the most famous and most easily recognisable songs on this album, both are unquestionably Mike Doughty and both suffer a little from it. The originals are epics of their time and have the depth of oceans in vocal pitch and audio presence. Mike's style is more that of a river, meandering to conclusion and in Country Roads the ending repetitive chorus doesn't grab you like it should. The hairs don't stand up on the back of your neck and it doesn't inspire you as much as it did him.
Luckily the record gets better and it's not all flat. Stand out track of the record for me is Tightrope, a re-interpretation of a Stone Roses song that takes the chorus and develops it into something more. Up against the vocals of Ian Brown, Doughty has more depth and can add something to the song. The end result is something that sounds more like an acoustic Monster Magnet.
If you've never heard of Mike Doughty before then I don't advise this should be the first thing you listen to. The album and the songs he has chosen to put on it are very much about his style, for better or for worse and if you already like his delivery, you'll not be disappointed.