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Jill Olson | My Best Yesterday (125 Records)
Jill Olson's band Red Meat claims a small, but pretty significant piece of entertainment history, and good for them. As Halle Berry tottered deliriously up to pick up her historic Oscar this year, John Williams' orchestra struck up their Broken Up And Blue, which appeared on the 'Monsters' Ball' soundtrack. That has to be a career highlight that made Ms.Olson all but burst. But, on the evidence of 'My Best Yesterday' - Olson's second solo album, and first for six years - it's all downhill from here. This is by no means utter shite; it's pleasant, but there's just so little of any interest or stimulation going on. Largely jaunty country-pop-lite, there is no drive to the upbeat songs, and no emotional clout whatsoever to the ballads. Although Olson's songwriting is uninspired, much of the blame must be placed at the door of one Dave Alvin, whose production here is flat and sterile. Olson's voice - a mutation of Williams' Victoria and Lucinda - is alright, but only on two numbers does she get remotely close to raising just one single goose-bump. Even then, the simplistic love song Every Night gags on sugary sentiment, and Sam (the only cover) I can see being gargled out by little Elaine Page on West End boards, such is the Lloyd-Webber-like arrangement. There's just no edge, no thrills, and I fear that Jill Olson's best yesterday is just that.

Tom Sheriff
August 2002

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