Album Review of The Doughboys: Running For Covers
Released late last year by New Jersey ’60s-flavored garage rock flagbearers The Doughboys, Running For Covers is an album of 13 cover songs, including covers of a couple of the band’s own old originals, all given an updated treatment in The Doughboys’ modern-yet-classic signature style.
image courtesy of Howlin’ Wuelf Media
The album begins energetically with the classic-style guitar-buzz-driven “96 Tears,” a raucously enthusiastic – surprisingly upbeat, given the song’s lyrics – update of the ? and the Mysterians’ number one hit from 1966.
The rest of the disc includes The Doughboys’ renditions of the Kinks’ “The Hard Way,” The Band’s “The Shape I’m In,” the Rolling Stones’ “Play With Fire,” Herman’s Hermits’ “My Reservation’s Been Confirmed,” the Beatles’ “It’s All Too Much,” Lambert Hendricks & Ross’s “Moanin’,” Mose Allison’s “Your Mind Is On Vacation,” Neil Diamond’ “Solitary Man,” and more, plus reimaginations of The Doughboys’ own 1967 singles “Rhoda Mendelbaum” and “Everybody Knows My Name.”
It’s a couple of the latter cover songs on that list that are really interesting, since they include particularly significant style changes. The Doughboys take blue jazz number “Moanin’,” for example, and infuse it with a timeless ’50s-meets-garage rock energy to completely change the song’s energy without disrupting its mood. And on “Solitary Man,” the band marches forth confidently, delivering this standard with a buzzy, almost Johnny Cash-meets-Hawaii Five-O flavor.
Other favorites include “Your Mind Is On Vacation,” with its bluesy style and harmonica bursts; the fast-paced adrenaline-filled, sped-up, wailing version of David Essex’s “Rock On,” a song also covered by Michael Damian, though still not at The Doughboys’ tempo; and the tunefully mid-tempo “Everybody Knows My Name.” The whole disc is solid, of course, and as a result, my personal favorites tend to change with my mood, so pay attention during your test drive because your mileage may vary.
You know, I always struggle with reviewing cover albums because, well, what do you say about them? About the good ones, you can say something like this: The Doughboys have delivered a disc full of great rock ‘n roll music, putting their distinct sound on classic songs, both famous and obscure. So, even though cover collections are difficult reviews, I really enjoy listening to this record, and I couldn’t resist sharing it with y’all. If you’re a fan of timeless, kinda raw but really tight rock ‘n roll, you owe it to yourself to take The Doughboys’ Running For Covers for a spin.
Of course, Doughboys drummer Richard X. Heyman has assembled a renowned career as an independent singer-songwriter. I reviewed his 12th album, Incognito, in 2017. This past fall, he released the single “Choices We Make,” which you can check out via this YouTube video, from an unnamed upcoming 14th RXH solo album. I can’t wait.
When live gigs return, you’ll find The Doughboys’ on the “Events” page of the band’s website.
Also, here’s an interesting little nugget from the band’s bio, for those of us not old enough to have first-hand knowledge. The Doughboys were the house band of the legendary Cafe Wha? back in their heyday. I know this sounds like “looking back” rather than “looking ahead,” but this bar in the Village is one of the few remaining (surviving) iconic live music venues on my personal NYC “must see” list. Assuming it survives the pandemic, it’ll be a stop on one of my future trips to the City, visits I sorely miss right now and am looking forward (i.e., looking ahead) to resuming when some semblance of normalcy returns. So, in this paragraph, I’m looking ahead to my future, not the band’s.