Review: Oli Brown – Songs From The Road

Posted on: Thursday, Sep 5, 2013

Oli Brown CD Cover

Oli Brown – Songs From The Road
Ruf Records RUF 1193

Songs From The Road delivers a dual pack comprising a nine-track CD and a DVD that adds a further four numbers. The DVD was recorded live at The Waterfront in Oli Brown’s home city of Norwich and the CD at The Waterfront, The Flowerpot, Derby, and The Spa, Bridlington. Oli Brown composed ten of the thirteen offerings, five in conjunction with Ron Sayer and one, the opening track, with Mike Vernon. The singer/guitarist is backed by the excellent rhythm section of Scott Barnes on bass guitar and Wayne Proctor on drums.

The opener on both discs, “Speechless”, a medium-paced blues-rock ballad shrouded in sadness, is followed by the Texas shuffle “Thinking About Her”, which has more than a hint of The Hoax about it. “Manic Bloom” smoulders slowly along while the Black Keys composition ”Next Girl” shares a similar pace but with a heavier beat and a meandering guitar solo. “Mr Wilson” raises the tempo a touch and introduces a somewhat atonal air to proceedings before “Love Is Taking Its Toll” returns to heavier beating mode with the splendid rhythm section in full flow and Oli Brown delivering some blistering guitar work. “Devil In Me” is a medium-paced rocking shuffle while “You Can Only Blame Yourself” is another slow-beating composition in contrast with the final track, “Stone Cold”, a brilliantly performed Texas shuffle complete with a superb guitar solo.

The four songs included on the DVD that do not feature on the CD are “Here I Am”, a heavy-beating slow burner, “Evil Soul”, a fast-moving piece with a rockabilly edge, Al Kooper’s Blood Sweat And Tears number, “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know”, and “Remedy”, another heavy rocker.

Oli Brown has steadily blossomed into a very professional performer among the blues-rock young guns on the UK circuit and this compilation provides clear evidence of his continuing development, albeit significantly at the rock end of the blues-rock spectrum.

Lionel Ross

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