Posts Tagged ‘Transdreamer’

Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs: Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

HollyGolightlyAndTheBrokeoffs_CouldaShouldaWouldaHolly Golightly and Lawyer Dave keep the flame burning

On her eighth album (in nine years!) with the Brokeoffs, and two-dozen albums into her career, Holly Golightly still sounds enthused. Hot on the heels of her throwback album, Slowtown Now, comes a new volume of the Brokeoffs lo-fi rhythm and blues. Together with Lawyer Dave, Golightly essays blues, soul, gospel, tango and waltzes, all with the rhythmic underpinnings that have become the duo’s trademark. The album’s percussion is more musical than the junkyard clang of earlier releases, and the arrangements more developed, but the performances still have the sheen of first takes. Golightly handles most of the lead vocals, though Lawyer Dave has just the right level of self-sorriness to lead “Jump in the River.”

The duo can still harmonize like an amped-up, down-and-dirty version of Richard & Mimi Farina, preaching the garage gospel of “Heaven Buy and Buy” and grinding through the blues “Little Mule.” But the duo have expanded their musical reach, and though they maintain the feel of the Brokeoffs, a few of these songs could have fit equally well on Golightly’s solo album. The title track has a good beat, is easy to dance to, and includes a terrific guitar solo from the Brokeoffs neighbor (and Guadalcanal Diary co-founder), Jeff Walls. The ballad “What He Does,” sung here as plaintive country, includes a double-tracked vocal that suggests a connection to girl groups.

The album features two covers, starting with Mr. Sunshine & His Guitar Pickers’ 1951 stringband number “Marijuana, the Devil’s Flower.” Sung here with banjo and fiddle, the performance is ready to stoke a fit of temperance. But it’s the album’s second cover, “Karate,” that could really break the band worldwide. The 1967 original (whose lyrics were rewritten by Carlos Santana for “Everybody’s Everything”) didn’t ignite a martial arts dance craze (and not for want of trying, but the honor goes to Carl Douglas’ mid-70s “Kung Fu Fighting”), but who’s to say the time isn’t ripe for a comeback? In a just world, the Brokeoffs would be siphoning off some of Psy’s 2.5 billion YouTube views with a video that features Elvis’ on-stage katas in Las Vegas.

The album’s other option for infamy is the closer, “Christmas is a Lie,” a ballad that’s readymade for misinterpretation and fundamentalist backlash, and a worthy bookend to the stinging rebuke of the opening “Heaven Buy and Buy.” Taken together, it seems unlikely the Brokeoffs will be invited by Ryan Seacrest to appear on New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, though given their iconoclastic content, maybe Pitbull will step up and ask them to Miami to appear on Revolution. But even without those mainstream platforms, the Brokeoffs should expand their fan base with this album’s mix of fuller electric numbers, and their unique combination of blues, whimsy and hellfire. [©2015 Hyperbolium]

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Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs: All Her Fault

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

HollyGolightlyBrokeoffs_AllHerFaultAnother winning set of idiosyncratic blues, folk and country

The latest collaboration between Holly Golightly and Lawyer Dave doesn’t really break any new ground, but when you’re in a solid groove, new ground isn’t necessarily the place to plow. Golightly herself says “I’m not looking to achieve something that hasn’t been achieved before. We just do what we do. The songs are really all that changes.” But changing the songs turns out to be enough, as the idiosyncratic combination of folk musics they’ve developed over the past seven years still has new things to say. As before, the tracks are assembled in the studio instrument-by-instrument and voice-by-voice, but the productions aren’t overworked, and their unfinished edges retain the vitality of performance.

The duo’s interests in country, blues and R&B continue to dominate, with vocals that range from sing-out hootenannies to cooler moods that recall solo albums like Laugh it Up. Golightly sings girlish country on “No Business” and adds 50s-styled harmonies behind the resigned lead of “The Best.” The former includes terrific electric guitar, and the latter has a drifting piano that signals the album’s newest instrumental member. Piano is heard tinkling behind the blue waltz “Pistol Pete,” and rolling riffs along the edges of “Bless Your Heart” and “Pefect Mess.” Lawyer Dave picks and strums throughout the album, with plenty of slide to give things twang.

The duo’s penchant for clanking percussion remains a major element of their music, and the blue-folk “Can’t Pretend” once again brings to mind their modern-day take on Richard & Mimi Farina. Tracks that really highlight the pair’s musical ethos include the rough-and-ready stomp heard on “1234” and “Don’t Shed Your Light,” and the slow-moving organ-stabbed blues of “King Lee.” The album’s lone cover is Richard Jones’ “Trouble in Mind,” taken upbeat from its earliest incarnations [1 2] and goosed by a yowling vocal. This is an imaginative album of songs whose roots are yet again twisted and turned into something original. [©2014 Hyperbolium]

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Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs: Sunday Run Me Over

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Lo-fi country blues

It’s been a productive year for Holly Golightly and her bandmate Laywer Dave, reworking material from earlier in Golightly’s career on Long Distance, and now this autumn follow-up of new material. In addition to nine originals, the Brokeoffs cover Cecil Null’s country hit for the Davis Sisters, “I Forgot More,” Wayne Rainey’s “We Need a Lot More Jesus” and Mac Davis’ 1980 novelty, “Hard to be Humble.” The former is sung sweetly, befitting its mid-50s origin, the latter more broadly and fitting with the goodtime boozy mood of “One for the Road.” Rainey’s 1960 revival tune is reworked from its original sentiment of more Jesus and less rock ‘n’ roll to it’s Bible Belt-challenging inverse. The productions are stripped down, but not entirely lo-fi. The droning low notes of “They Say” provide a languorous bottom end for Lawyer Dave’s slide work, and the combination of guitar reverb and second-line rhythm on “Tank” suggests Bo Diddley inNew Orleans. The Brokeoffs continue to work the field of country blues as if they’re riding a vintage tractor fresh out of the garage. [©2012 Hyperbolium]

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Holly Golightly’s Home Page