While awaiting the release of his 1996 Interscope debut The Sons Of Intemperance Offering, Phil Cody gathered many of the same musicians used on that album and headed to the studio. Six years later, the results can at last be heard on The Mad Dog Sessions, a twenty-song collection that showcases Cody's unique vocal style and a considerable collection of musical talent. Cody sings like a cagey fighter punches; he holds back, waits for his moment, and then explodes. Sometimes he misses, but when he hits, you sit up and take notice. Perhaps the best example is "I Was A Stepping Stone", a simple song whose lyrics consist entirely of its five-word title. But Cody invests each declaration with such power that, by song's end, you've remembered every time you've been used. Similarly, the unchecked emotion Cody's howl brings to "Six Diamond Baguettes" makes yet another song about failed relationships stand out from the rest. Though Cody lets a couple of languid tunes creep into the mix, the best tracks recapture the raucousness that colored Cody's debut. The steady bounce of "Joe's Neck Of The Woods" and the boozy ragtime sway of "I Am A Thief" are fine examples of a bunch of musicians having a good time.