Kelly Hogan has just released "I Like To Keep Myself In Pain", her first solo album in 11 years. It is utterly fantastic and you should stop reading this and go and buy it NOW!
Now you're back, I should declare an interest. I have been hopelessly in love with Kelly for many, many years and am therefore incapable of being objective. How can you possibly be objective about someone who can make you aroused by singing "Rubber Duckie"?
"Rubber Duckie" - Kelly Hogan
But even allowing for that, it is true. This album is utterly fantastic. It is a rash thing to say after only a few listens, but I think it may even top "Beneath The Country Underdog" as her finest work. Her vocals are wonderful as always - that really goes without saying - and with the likes of Booker T. Jones and James Gadson involved the musicianship is obviously top notch. But what makes it extra special is the quality of the songs from the likes of Robyn Hitchcock, Robbie Fulks and Vic Chesnutt.
Highlights are too many to mention but include "Haunted", "Daddy's Little Girl" and "Pass On By" (the nearly obligatory Charlie Rich cover). And this one which, like "Papa Was A Rodeo" - the song that first made me fall in love with Kelly - was written by Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields.
"Plant White Roses" - Kelly Hogan
Because I am feeling elated, here are a couple of old favourites as a bonus.
"Sugarbowl" - Kelly Hogan
"Dues" - Kelly Hogan
And here she is with some of her many admirers tackling (in turn) the Staple Singers, Conway & Loretta and the Monkees.