Review: Oli Brown – Heads I Win Tails You Lose
Posted on: Sunday, May 16, 2010
“Heads I Win Tails You Lose”
Ruf Records RUF 1160
Oli Brown is one of the brightest young singer/guitarists in the UK, who has been attracting an increasing amount of praise and admiration from the blues cognoscenti. The latest dignitary to add some momentum to Oli’s burgeoning career is none less than the legendary Mike Vernon, who has produced this album for Ruf Records. The excellent backing band comprises Dave Lennox on keys, Jamie Little on drums and Gary Rackham on bass. Ten of the twelve tracks on the CD are original compositions by Oli Brown (two in acknowledged collaboration with Mike Vernon).
The album bursts into life with “Evil Soul”, which rolls and tumbles at a cracking pace and boasts a blistering guitar solo. “Makes Me Wonder” is a Stevie Ray Vaughan-influenced driving shuffle, which is followed by a heavier rock beat in the shape of “Keeping My Options Open” and “Speechless”, the latter delivering a beautifully mellow guitar solo.
There is a catchy, upbeat version of “Fever”, which is contrasted by a couple of slower numbers, the bluesy ballad, “Not A Word I Say”, and the moody rocker, “I Can Make Your Day”. A funky edge is introduced with “Real Good Time” and “Take A Look Back”, both of which are expertly underpinned by the superb rhythm section. A fine rendition of the Bill Withers number, “No Diggity”, gives way to the slow blues, “Love’s Gone Cold”, before the album is brought to a close by “On Top Of The World” with a return of the funky mood.
The guitar work on the album underlines Oli Brown’s undoubted instrumental ability and the compositions demonstrate his songwriting potential. Add to those talents his mature and confident stage presence and there is every likelihood that he is a star in the making. His scheduled appearance at Glastonbury 2010 could prove to be a significant springboard.