Review: Oli Brown – Here I Am
Posted on: Wednesday, Apr 11, 2012
“Here I Am”
(Ruf Records RUF 1178)
This is Oli Brown’s third album. He is backed by drummer Wayne Proctor, who also produced the album, Scott Barnes on bass and Joel White on Hammond organ and Rhodes keyboards. There are twelve tracks, ten of which are original compositions composed by Oli Brown (four of them in collaboration with Ron Sayer).
The album bounces into action with the excellent title track, followed by “Thinking About Her”, a slightly jazzy, Hoax-like modern take on the traditional shuffle. The next three tracks share a philosophical air, “Manic Bloom” describing the paradoxical nature of a love-hate relationship, “All We Had To Give” regretting a lost love and the slowly brooding and recriminatory “You Can Only Blame Yourself”. The impressive quality of all three numbers exemplifies Oli’s considerable development as a songwriter.
Two more original tracks, the upbeat rocker “Start It Again” and “Devil In Me”, another modernised shuffle, lead into Al Kooper’s slow and bluesy “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know”, complete with a splendid, mellow guitar solo. A couple of heavier beating rockers, “Remedy” and “Mr Wilson” precede the second cover version, the funky “Like A Feather”, which benefits from warm backing vocals from Dani Wilde, before Paul Jones delivers some lovely, trademark harp on “Solid Ground” that drives along to provide a lively conclusion to this very enjoyable album.
His sensitive lyrics, his maturing vocal presentation and his expansively lyrical guitar work signify another significant step up by the richly talented and highly personable young man from Norwich, as he is now realising the undoubted potential that he displayed as a precocious teenager.
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