Music

Holly Golightly: Truly She Is None Other

Stephen Haag

Holly Golightly

Truly She Is None Other

Label: Damaged Goods
US Release Date: 2003-07-29
UK Release Date: 2003-07-28
Amazon
iTunes

For those hip to the neo-garage scene, Holly Golightly has lately been the go-to girl for guest vocals; she turned in a well-received spot on the Greenhornes' 2002 Dual Mono (about which more later) and of course joined Jack and Meg White on the winking three-way "It's True That We Love One Another", the closing track on the White Stripes' latest gem, Elephant. Her instantly-recognizable voice brightened those already-fun albums and widened her fanbase, yet Golightly has had a 12-year stint in the music industry -- first as part of Billy Childish's British all-girl-garagesters Thee Headcoatees, and since her 1995 solo debut, Good Things, she's pretty much been the reigning queen of folk-garage, releasing consistent albums chockfull of '60s R&B, garage, and British Invasion pop. While the formula hasn't changed on her latest, Truly She Is None Other, it seems that the time spent with the Greenhornes and the White Stripes has remained in her system; as a result, Truly is an inspired album.

For starters, the album's cover could be the cover of Meg White's solo album some years down the road -- all red and white and black, Golightly looking regal yet approachable. And the music within is right up Meg's alley: a handful of Truly's tracks were recorded at London's Toe-Rag Studios, the preserved mid-'60s recording studio where Elephant was recorded. Included among the Toe-Rag tracks is "There's An End", which originally appeared on the Greenhornes' Dual Mono (and was called "There Is An End", for what it's worth). It's Truly's closing track, but it's a perfect place for us to start. The song, with Golightly's voice that straddles girly and come-hither, along with the dreamy guitars, gives off a vibe that doesn't scream, so much as it does whisper, 1965; recording on 35-year-old equipment at Toe-Rag will do that. The result is a sexy record, of a kind that no one else seems to be making anymore. (I'm not talking Britney-style sex-kitten sexy; Golightly is a full-grown, full-blooded-woman-type sexy.)

Plenty of other tracks corroborate this notion. The shuffling blues of "Walk a Mile" finds Golightly exercising her inner torch singer (though I could do without the echo that producer Liam Watson tacks onto her voice). "All around the Houses" is more of the same, only twangier and with some offbeat (not offbeat) percussion from Bruce Brand. Maybe it's just the reprints of her earlier album covers, with their faux-mod stylings, found in the liner notes, but one gets the feeling Golightly was born 40 years too late; her head and heart are still in the sultry '60s.

There's also a domestic side to Golightly (though who is to say domestic and sexy are mutually exclusive?), as evinced by liner note photos of her, apron-clad, in her kitchen nursing a mug of tea, and looking quite content. And she tosses in a few covers from her spiritual father, the Britrock king of domestic, pastoral tranquility, Ray Davies. Golightly turns the Kinks' studio outtake "Time Well Tell" (from Kinks Kontraband) into a rousing go-go number, while "Tell Me Now So I Know" makes for a good rumba; though she is a bit too coquettish on the tune, I can't help but melt when she pours out lines like "I live just for you". Sigh.

Not crazy about sexy or domestic Holly? Despite your pickiness (and aversion to her two best incarnations), Truly She Is None Other echoes other female singers with different personae from that of Golightly: the acoustic blues cover of composer Jessie Mae Robinson's "Black Night" proves Meg White has a ways to go to catch up in the girly-blues department (common knowledge, but still); "It's All Me", with its bright guitar lines, could be a less-brassy Neko Case, circa The Virginian; and in a few places, notably "You Have Yet to Win", Golightly makes like Liz Phair in her folk-rock mode.

Yes, all these women were influenced by Golightly, and not the other way around; Truly She Is None Other shows that three disparate female singers can trace their musical roots back to her. More importantly, Truly proves that Golightly is not content to coast on her title and reputation. Sure, the songs sound 40 years old, but Golightly is leading the charge of retro-futuro garage. Not too shabby for a woman who enjoys sitting around her kitchen sipping tea.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image