Here I Am is the newest album by the impeccable Frankie Oliver. Released via Good Deeds Music, this sensational LP compromises of 12 tasty tracks. Now Frankie is no stranger to the music industry. Back in the 90s Oliver used to be a reggae artist signed to Island Records. He was then whisked off to Jamaica to record his debut record, Looking for the Twist with the legendary rhythm section and production team of Sly and Robbie. “I absolutely loved all the musical side of it,” Frankie says. “I found myself working in the studio with guys like Ernest Ranglin, who played on ‘My Boy Lollipop’.” Frankie won lasting kudos with songs including ‘Give Her What She Wants’ and ‘She Lied To Me’. But the pop-star lifestyle and major-label politics did not agree with him. “I was being pulled from pillar to post. I had young kids at home and my wonderful wife was left to build everything on her own, because I was never there”.
This year saw Oliver return to the music scene with the lead single from Here I Am and this being Tell Me. This tune received an impressive number of spot plays across BBC Radio 2 before jumping straight onto the C-List. It was also the most popular track on Ken Bruce’s show the day it was played.
Back to the album in question, Here I Am is a timeless 12-Track collection of authentically crafted soul songs written straight from the heart. They also showcase his startling song writing skills as well. “I love making music. And I love my wife and family,” Frankie says. “I just want to express how I feel about them and the world, everything rolled into one. This album is my truth”. This delectable record opened up with the impressive Gone Are The Days. Plenty of bluesy/ jazz vibes radiated from this captivating cut and Frankie’s crooning vocals had me under a spell. Next it was then time for the lead single. Tell Me was a combination of jazz meets soul meets blues which is one fantastic concoction. In fact this tasty tune was a smooth soulful jam which can quite easily mellow you out. Man At My Window was incredibly sultry and Oliver’s crooning vocals were smooth like butter. Just listening to this majestic tune left me utterly mesmerised. Cos Of You was a heartfelt soulful ballad which resulted in the hairs on the back of my neck stand on edge. The melody was easy on the ear and those lyrics had me swaying from side to side. This song does have an emotional story to it. Frankie has said that “It’s about losing my mother. I couldn’t finish it because I became too emotional, so changed the lyrics around a little to take it elsewhere but the essence of song remains – if I could do it all again I wouldn’t change a thing other than to have my mother in my life forever”. The fifth track came in the shape of I’ve Got Love This dazzling song was the other 1/2 to the AA single Tell Me. This fresh and funky tune was upbeat which can quite easily have you moving on the spot. My Kinda Woman was a slick jam resonating plenty of hypnotic soulful vibes. Oliver’s exquisite vocal tones were incredibly soothing. She’s Beautiful was a glorious sun kissed piece of perfection. Those luscious lyrics see Frankie sing about a woman he wants to make his and then you had that uplifting melody which resonated plenty of warmth. Just like I’ve Got Love, the fast paced Down By The Riverside was a funky cut aided by captivating verses. Honey I’m On Fire was a smoldering track drenched in plenty of bluesy goodness. This magical tune left me in a complete trance. Plenty of soothing R&B vibes flowed from the delectable How Many Times. This charming track was rather pleasant on my ear. The penultimate tune of this record comes in the shape of Frankie’s interpretation of Love Is Overdue. Now the original was written and performed by Gregory Isaacs, but in the mid-seventies reversed from reggae to an old style R&B with stand up double bass and brushes on the drums. “I can’t think of too many reggae songs adapted to a different genre” says Frankie. Here I Am then came to a close with the whimsical Things I Was Told.
This record was produced by Sam and Delroy and featured a pool of top-flight musicians including Patrick Tenyue (trumpet), Bass Player Elroy Bailey of Black Slate, Ray Carlos (saxophone), Drummer Nik Bjerre, blues guitarist Steve Haworth and Michael Bami Rose from the Jools Holland R&B Orchestra.
Here I Am was an impressive record which showcased Frankie’s exquisite vocal range and his impeccable songwriting skills. Having fallen in love with the AA single Tell Me/ I’ve Got Love made me excited to hear the debut. Frankie Oliver’s soulful vocal tones literally gave me the chills. Hear I Am was a hypnotic effort consisting of 12 sensational tracks. I could quite easily see Oliver performing on Later With Jools Holland.