"Rollin' On" by Orange River RemedyReview
As a big fan of Rikki & Tyron Hansel from their days in the Hansel Brothers through to Evergreen & on to today, I am consequently one too of their current outfit, Orange River Remedy, where they have been joined by drummer Lottie Pennington.
I always enjoyed the odd original they used to slip into what were largely covers sets & it's a delight to hear them play their own songs as they are as good at writing as they are performing. Thus, their imminent debut single (they are aiming for the 1st of December) with the new lineup, "Rollin' On" is a cause for celebration.
The sound is very distinctive as you'd expect from these musicians who know their own style and revel in it. It's far closer to the Hansel Brothers approach than the more folk rock one they used with Evergreen: a much heavier, blues centred rock sound without the more complex vocal harmonies of the earlier group.
It's hard to define exactly the qualities which draw me (and I'd say many others) to particular artists & I tend to try to capture them in my articles. It's more than just capable technical musicianship (though it would be wholly unfair on Orange River Remedy if I didn't emphasise that this is very much part of the package). I'd certainly include a tremendous love of playing their favourite music (and I'm pretty sure that this was the big factor in why I loved what they did the first time I saw the covers band) and an encyclopaedic knowledge of musical heritage: the covers they played were not your usual run of the mill crowd pleasers but slightly less well known cuts: ones to please the aficionados in the crowd. Hence the pulling in not only of 1960s styles, but that blossoming of blues rock which came about at the end of that decade and (as far as Evergreen went), the sort of thing the Mamas & Papas were aiming for. They also occasionally perform a whole evening in tribute to Neil Young.
These strands come together here magnificently, fuelled by the passion they possess & elevated by the sheer good humour which has always been a hallmark of their performances: they love playing & this infects those who see them.
Written by Rikki with David Saunders, producer Barry Bayliss has done an excellent job at Gospel Oak Studios in capturing the qualities of the live act: it fizzes with vitality & bonhomie.
That by itself would be no bad thing, but as I have said earlier, this band writes excellent songs, crafted in the classic styles of the songs they admire by others (it's a shame so few Evergreen songs got released, though I'm pleased that we were able to include "Sunny Lady", a song I first heard the Hansel Brothers band perform, on ‘Hot Music Live Presents Volume Two'. I'd hope I few more of these could be reworked for Orange River Remedy as it would be such a waste if they just vanished).
"Rollin' On" generally states the band's philosophy on life generally: being positive in how you see things & in what you choose to do. A blissful strut which adheres to the funkier end of the blues, the song cleverly slips in various Rolling Stones song titles (see how many you can spot!) and to some extent must be a bit of a tribute to that band, but the music is no Stones pastiche: yes there are moments of homage, but other sections veer towards the style of The Who or Creedence Clearwater Revival (among other influences).
We mustn't fail to spot the wood for the trees: the song may be beautifully put together but it's done so well & played with such lightness of touch that picking it apart might easily detract from the overall impression it gives.
The band are tremendously hard working & determined to succeed (it's been great to engage with the professional management they now have in place: look out for fruits of this relationship such as the great promo video I've seen). They are also very popular amongst audiences (over an increasingly wide area) and other musicians all of whom I'm sure will support them in getting the recognition they deserve. Stepping up from being a band probably best known as a high class covers act to one seen as purveyors of equally classy originals requires adjustment in the perceptions of even their most loyal admirers, but believe me, as a calling card for what they are capable of, "Rollin' On" could not really be bettered. I've been enjoying the music of members of the band now for quite a few years and if this single propels them into a higher level where many more music lovers can see in them what I have already done, then no-one would be happier for them than I.