Holly Golightly isn't the only former Headcoatee with a solo career these days, and with her second album, Ludella Black is proving she's every bit as gifted as the best-known member of Billy Childish's Ladies' Auxiliary. From This Witness Stand features Black singing 14 songs, most written by her significant other, Mick Hampshire, and featuring the estimable backing of Hampshire's combo the Masonics, but even though she gets some valuable assistance on this set, Black is clearly the star of this show. From This Witness Stand is considerably more than standard-issue U.K. garage rock; "Hey, Johnny Raw" is a potent, atmospheric anti-war song that wouldn't be out of place in The Three Penny Opera; she offers a slinky torch number with "I'll Ride the Storm"; "Take a Heart" is a tough slice of blue-eyed R&B; "Push-Button Geoff" is folk-rock with a nice sense of snarky wit, and the cover of the Downliners Sect's "The Cost of Living" aims to charm rather than pummel, and it succeeds. Black's voice is strong and malleable enough that she can cover a number of musical bases and sound sweetly confident and subtly powerful whatever direction she takes, and if you do want to hear her rock out, don't fret: "I Want Some Answers," "Loony," "This Heart Is Condemned," and the title tune deliver the big beat with style. Ludella Black has a great voice and she knows what to do with it, and anyone who doubts it need only turn to From This Witness Stand for some engaging proof.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming