Holly Golightly

Laugh It All Up

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With the help of a circle of like-minded U.K. roots rockers and the recording facilities of the legendary Toerag Studios in London, Golightly whipped up a great collection of covers for Laugh It All Up! Hitting on everything from blues and country traditionals to newer folks like Ray Davies and Van McCoy, Golightly and company strike the right balance between reverence and playful reinterpretation, never letting down the side. As might be guessed, her wonderful voice is the obvious centerpiece, and what a voice it is -- cool, able to be both smoky and hit a higher register, softly overdubbed here and there for extra effect. Her backing band play it smart and equally cool -- they don't need to rock things out chaotically, it's all about tastefulness that's never boring, energy that's suave (not to mention some full-on raunch at points -- check out the uncredited guitar on "Don't Lie to Me"). Special kudos in particular to drummers Brian Nevill and Bruce Brand, both of whom know the difference between pounding and actually finding a tight groove. Golightly plays some great guitar herself, taking solo turns here and there with smooth rockin' aplomb equally at home in New Orleans or Las Vegas. Of her various choices to cover, Willie Dixon gets the pride of place, being covered not once but twice -- a honkin' take on "Mellow Down Easy," Golightly's vocals given a slight megaphone treatment, and a concluding burn through "Hold Me Baby." Other definite winners include a wonderful, sly version on the Soul Sisters' '60s nugget "I Can't Stand It," Roy Orbison's "Candy Man," leaving the genders unchanged but keeping all of the sweetly strutting lust, and a great sass through McCoy's "Getting Mighty Crowded." One of the best songs is tucked away at the end -- "Sand," the Lee Hazlewood/Nancy Sinatra number, with guitarist George Sueref providing Golightly's drawling counterpart here. [The CD was also released with bonus tracks.]

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