Oliver White: Control (Reissue) Review

For all of you who missed the original very limited release of Oliver White’s Control album back in 2008, it is your lucky day! Grooveyard Records have recently rereleased it in packaging including new artwork. The first issue was simple black and white artwork.  The SRV, Doyle Bramhall II, Ian Moore influences are readily apparent, but Oliver is also clearly influenced by the ’90s alternative bands.  Oliver plays some first rate, soulful, hard blues rock guitar throughout the album, but he also invites some of his fellow Texans to guest.

This album clearly has one foot firmly planted in rock. The disc kicks right out of the gate with “Retribution” and its wha-wha filled guitar licks from guest Lance Lopez on lead guitar. Things get interesting one “You Love Me” with the lyrics “I hope that I’ve hurt you, I hope that I’ve made you cry, I hope I’ve made you laugh, I hope I brought you a smile, ‘cause if I have, if I have, Oh baby you love me.” It is a slower tune that explores both sides of love, the good and the bad, and that without both then it is not truly love. The rock continues with more hard hitting tracks like “I’ll Be Your Man,” “Upside Down,” and “What’s In Store.” Wes Jeans contributes vocals and guitar on two songs. ‘Troublesome Feeling” is a laid back shuffle obviously steeped in the blues. The other one starts out with an acoustic dobro sound that morphs into a psychedelic jam where the two of them are trading piercing distorted licks over a repeating droning rhythm before devolving back into the opening acoustic blues.

“Last Minute Love” is another slow one that ebbs and flows with mellow refrains that build to climatic guitar solos and then everything mellows out again only to slowly build in intensity again. Things slow down slightly but the rhythm gets heavier with the title track “Control.” The guitar pyrotechnics do not slow down as Oliver flies up and down the fretboard through the solo. “Just A Shame” and “I Always Lose” are two tracks that probably best epitomize the perfect blend of rock and blues.  The last track and the only one not written by Oliver is an excellent cover of the Flaming Lips “Mountain Side,” which is heads and tails an improvement over the original, which was an out of tune screeching mess. At least on this cover you can hear what a great song it really is.

Oliver is a superb songwriter and guitar player who was clearly influenced by the great Texans who came before him yet has a style and sound that is all his own. This is a great opportunity to pick up an excellent album that was criminally under marketed and under appreciated on its initial release.

The Review: 9/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– You Love Me
– Control
– I Always Lose
– Retribution
– Just A Shame

The Big Hit

– I Always Lose

Review by Kevin O’Rourke

Buy the album: Amazon

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