Yesterday I was reading a review of Mavis Staples' new, Jeff Tweedy produced, album "You Are Not Alone" - which sounds worth checking out - and it mentioned that the mighty Kelly Hogan is one of the backing vocalists.
If, like me, you consider Kelly to be one of the finest vocalists of this or any era, any appearance is welcome. It has been slim pickings for far too long. Since her last album, "Because It Feel Good", was released in 2001 we have had to get by on guest appearances and one-off tracks on compilation albums. To me it is inexplicable that someone that good has not had the opportunity to record an album for nearly a decade. Hopefully that will get put right some time soon.
I bought both Kelly's albums on Bloodshot Records - "Because It Feel Good" and its even better predecessor "Beneath The Country Underdog" - when they came out, and for a few years was under the impression that "Underdog" was her solo debut. Then I found out about the hard to find 1996 album "The Whistle Only Dogs Can Hear", released on Long Play Records of Atlanta.
After years of fruitless searching I finally tracked a copy down on Ebay a few months ago and have been meaning to feature it ever since. It is the usual Hogan mix of indie, country, soul and cabaret. Here are a couple of cover versions from the album - the first by Vic Chesnutt, the second a lovely take on Toussaint McCall's deep soul standard.
"Soft Picasso" - Kelly Hogan
"Nothing Takes The Place Of You" - Kelly Hogan
And here's a great clip of Kelly and an outfit called Pardner doing Conway & Loretta's "You're The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly". Check out the marvellous scripted ad-lib at 2:30.