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Rachel Brown and The Beatnik Playboys - Look Who's Back (Self Release)

Star rating: 
4

Rachel is a considerable talent, a powerful vocalist and a fine piano player. Both her voice and her playing adapt easily to fit the furious bar blues and the torch songs the band play so well. Rachel Brown's rich voice draws on Country, Rock n Roll, Rockabilly and sultry Jazz. Look Whose Back and Count On Me Baby  place a warm  Lyle Lovett like vocal against a pulsing jazz piano. On Blue Diamond Rachel's vocal has the wonderful melancholic ring of Gillian Welch. Blinders is a smouldering piece of piano led blues with a killer violin from Emma Shook, guitar from Dave Huddleston and a huge vocal from Rachel. Well back from the microphone she just powers out of the speakers.

Nathan Bell's Whisky You Win is a potent song turned into an empty bottle anthem of regret. Rachel Brown  wrings every note out beautifully, Nathan himself says, she makes his songs her own. No Lock No Key and Acceptance are exercises in restraint, jazzy percussion, sparse piano that is more Ellington or Evans than Bar Honky Tonk. Rachel's emotional torch singer vocal just smoulders and burns on these stunning slower numbers. This album is equally suited to loud parties with a full house and  those moments at three a.m when the lights are low and the whisky wins. 

Marc Higgins
Northern Sky