Τρίτη, 30 Ιουνίου 2009

Charlie - Fight Dirty


Having signed with Arista in the States, the band appeared poised for massive commercial success. Unfortunately things rapidly went downhill. Having completed work for their Arista debut tentatively entitled "Here Comes Trouble" the company refused to released the set without additional new material. The band's British label Polydor refused to finance more recording sessions. Caught in the middle without any financial support the band effectively fell apart with keyboardist Julian Colbeck and guitarist Eugene Organ tendering their notices. The business logjam eventually came to an end with the release of 1979's "Fight Dirty". For an album recorded in the midst of so many problems the results weren't half bad. Most bands would have probably just thrown in the towel ... The album certainly wasn't a major change in direction, but if anything Terry Thomas and company seem to have redoubled their efforts to come up with a blend of their trademarked sound and a commercial edge. At the same time band seemed to haphazardly bounce from their more rock oriented roots to a disconcerting lightweight pop orientation. - Perhaps their creative highpoint, 'Killer Cut' had it all - this one should have been a massive radio hit. Yeah the cheesy synthesizers sound a little dated today but with a fantastic hook, cynical insider lyrics, chunky guitars and instantly recognizable vocals this one was irresistible. To my ears it sounds as good today as the first time I heard it. - Released as the first of two singles the title track found the band showcasing a bluesy side. A mid tempo rocker with a mild jazzy feel (shades of early Steely Dan), the glorious harmony lyrics were still there as was Thomas knack for crating a wonderful hook. Probably my favorite song on the album and I can remember trying to copy John Anderson's pounding bass line. If only they hadn't added the hideous cocktail jazz sax solo to the end. - After two great songs, 'Don't Count Me Out' came off as a lame, disco-flavored pop song. The chorus provided a nice vocal hook, but even that couldn't save the song from being forgettable. - 'Heartless' sported another nice vocal hook, but again couldn't make up for a song that was overly commercial. Worth nothing that Thomas shared the lead vocals with bassist John Anderson and lead guitarist Organ. - Time for a big ballad - 'Too Late'. Showcasing Colbeck's piano, the song was pretty, but instantly forgettable. The extensive orchestration didn't exactly improve the track. - Side two started out with 'So Alone' - another pure pop effort that included some surprisingly enjoyable horn charts. Another track that could have been a nice single ... - 'Just One More Smiling Face' was the ultimate groupie song. - Other than the fact it started out sounding like a Survivor song, 'California' wasn't a bad rocker. Not the most original lyrics, but the multi-part harmonies were glorious. - Lots of reviews slap a jazz label on Charlie and I seldom get the description, but here's one of the isolated cases where that would be an appropriate tag - 'The End Of It All' was simply too mellow for my tastes. - 'Runaway' was another rocker that came close to being excellent, but ultimately fell short of the mark based on dumb life-on-the-streets lyrics. And of course there was the added bonus of another attractive cheesecake cover.

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