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Published: 2014/03/02
by Brian Robbins

Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs
It's Her Fault

Transdreamer Records

Honest and true: I think the only folks who wouldn’t like Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs’ new _It’s Her Fault _ are inhabitants of Salt Lake City, Utah. And that’s not a done deal, either.

Though it may be true that the opening tune “SLC” warns,

Don’t get your hopes up in Salt Lake City
Because you ain’t gonna have a good time

the chorus then asks,

Why you want go into Salt Lake City
Where you can’t get fucked up, can’t get shitty?

which leaves all the folks who didn’t want to do either of those in the first place cool with the whole thing, anyway. Right? Right.

And then there are the Salt Lakers whose disgruntlement will be diffused by the fact that Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs sure sound as if they’re having a good time while telling you all this: “SLC” sounds like what John Hiatt looks like when he goes into his white guy cool jerk during a live show: head bobbing, shoulder swaying, all rubber-legged rhythm that cares not what the rest of the world is doing. Add to that a guitar break that sounds like Ry Cooder at his elastic-toned goofiest and you have a situation where everybody eventually ends up dancing like funky roosters and all is forgiven.

Welcome to the world of Ms. Holly Golightly (yep: I’m pretty sure that’s what it says on her checks) and The Brokeoffs, which consists of one (1) Lawyer Dave, Holly’s partner and musical co-conspirator. Recorded in the couple’s home studio on a little farm outside of Athens, GA, It’s Her Fault is a fun and fine and dandy piece of work for a number of reasons.

First, I would defy you to suspect that this music was created by a two-person band. The magic of multi-tracked overdubs aside, there’s something that the most whizzo-bango of recording equipment can’t infuse into a track: the energy and spirit of a circle of players looking each other in the eye, reacting to each other in the moment. Somehow, these two nailed that spirit right to the wall.

Listen to “Can’t Pretend”, which starts off with a chugging acoustic guitar (Lawyer Dave), quickly joined by Lawyer Dave doing his best Slim Jim Phantom on the drums and ol’ Lawyer Dave womping out a bass line that sets the tune a’bouncing. Holly snaps out the vocal, doubling/tripling/who knows how many times on certain phrases – Lawyer Dave may be singing in the background, as well – and if it doesn’t sound like there was a whole slew of Hollys and Daves all bumping hips and leaning into a single mic in the middle of one big circle, you tell me. Add a scuffed up raunchy electric guitar scratching out a mad rhythm (Lawyer Dave) and a surprise visit by Lawyer Dave on a wildly shimmering geetar break in the middle of the whole works and YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! You’re singing or dancing or singing and dancing to what sounds like at least a half-dozen people’s worth of rockabilly happiness blasting out of two folks who basically laid this thing down when they weren’t busy with chores around the farm.

Unbelievable.

And there’s all kinds of versions of this same sort of thing all over It’s Her Fault : “Trouble In Mind” (the album’s one cover, written by Richard M. Jones) should be required listening for anyone wanting to know how to play back-porch blues properly. “Perfect Mess” is just that: at least a quarter ton of slow and sexy hip sway, augmented by rollicking piany and sassy-mouthed electric guitar. “The Best” is sweet (but not too sweet); it’s easy to imagine Levon Helm leading his Midnight Ramble band through “King Lee”, all a’grinnin’; “1234” sounds like the work of a cellar-dwelling gospel choir with a very cool Lon Chaney Sr. on the organ; “For All That Ails You” could’ve been played by half-drunk ghosts.

“Don’t you try to touch me; I’ll chop off your hand,” Holly sings on “No Business” – a tune which might never get sung on the stage of the Opry for expressing such thoughts. It matters not: Lawyer Dave’s slide guitar lurches along like Buster Keeton on a high wire, repeatedly flirting with disaster and coming up with big earfuls of happiness. Oh, what fun.

And that pretty much sums up this whole dang album, boys and girls: oh, what fun, indeed.

*****

Brian Robbins lets the funky roosters run free over at www.brian-robbins.com

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