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First of all, why have you never seen Mike Doughty live? I get that you might’ve missed out on Soul Coughing but Doughty has been touring like a motherfucker since so there is no excuse. If you have seen him then his latest 2-CD live album The Question Jar Show, culled from various acoustic performances, is a treat.

The premise is simple: Doughty and companion/cellist Andrew “Scrap” Livingston perform a few songs and then consult with “The Question Jar” where fans at each venue can submit random questions on a piece of paper. Some are absurd (“What’s the best thing about having an Emo lawn?”, “What really happens in a black hole?”), some are personal (“How many tattoos do you have?”, “Will you perform one song naked, please?”), and some are absurd (“Did you ever have that not so fresh feeling?”, “It’s the zombie apocalypse: Where are you and what are you doing?”). But through it all, Doughty answers honestly using his sharp wit to keep things interesting.

But how’s the music? It’s amazing. Doughty excels in the studio and on the stage but to hear the electric recordings stripped down to their most bare is the true measure of a song and The Question Jar Show just proves further that Mike Doughty writes some great songs.

“Down On The River By The Sugar Plant” is haunting done up all acoustic like,  “Looking At The World From The Bottom Of A Well” rocks in either form, and other favorites like “27 Jennifers” are just golden. Add Livingston’s cello to the mix and each song is just bliss.

If you’re not smiling by the time these 28 tracks have finished, the you might want to consider seeking professional help. Also, if this album doesn’t compel you to queue up for tix for the next Doughty tour, I don’t know what will. The Question Jar Show is available now along with Doughty’s latest book, “The Book Of Drugs”, which will be reviewed soon in these very pages.

Grade: A

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