If you, like me, cringe at cabaret singers cooing soft jazz, the warm trilling of our gal/woman Nellie McKay is once again blessedly received. With nine succinct songs, some pointed (the fine political satire of ”Identity Theft” and ”Mother of Pearl”), some dreamy (”Gin Rummy”), Obligatory Villagers is playful without being arch. And that’s even when she’s collaborating with Schoolhouse Rock legend Bob Dorough on a couple of tracks. McKay is so fiercely disciplined and precise, she earns the freedom to be gaily silly.
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