flake brown Help the Overdog (CD, £6.50)label: Autumn Ferment Records
‘Help The Overdog’ is the debut album from East Sussex based Tony Ramsay, performing under his pseudonym of Flake Brown. The album consists of fifteen tracks of stripped bare finger picked folk ramblings, with Flake’s signature voice present on all but the instrumental closing track. Flake derives his music from many a musical genre and many influential names come to mind when describing his sound; the Gypsy Jazz of legend Django Reinhardt, the bohemian psych folk flair of The Incredible String Band’s Robin Williamson, the raw early recordings of 1920’s blues/ragtime guitarist Blind Blake and traditional Celtic guitar style and Bardic story telling that has survived in Britain throughout the centuries. The songs on ‘Help The Overdog’ are full of riddle-like tales and hallucinogenic imagery that transport the listener to wondrous (if not slightly sinister) places full of lucid dreamlike characters and story book events. Surreal these tales may be but within them there is substance and depth and, along with the eccentric flair, Flake merges psychology and religion, historic and literary characters and the basics of love, death and everyday life occurrences into his well structured songs. The guitar style used by Flake contains elements of Spanish, Celtic and Classical nylon stringed techniques played with a wild, free and sometimes off kilter approach, not bound to any rigid format, but still full of precision, grace and intricacy. Riding on the guitar lines, Flake's unique voice is sometimes high and meandering before falling down into a dark, rich, muddy warmth to resonate deeply for a while; the piercing cry of a bird of pray, the guttural call of a rutting stag. ‘Help The Overdog‘ ushers in the second offering from Autumn Ferment Records with a truly unique release and one that will appeal to many different ears.
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