(All Album Reviews by shadow)
Charlie West: acoustic and electric guitars, lead vocals, bass, mandolin, asstd. percussion, keyboards
Lincoln Cross, Duane Ferrel: Drums
Terri Moss Backing vocals
A communications specialist by day, at the 5 o’ clock whistle Charlie ducks into a phone booth and is transformed into the psychedelic folkster. A child prodigy, Charlie first picked up guitar at age 11 and began composing original material soon thereafter. Under the moniker “Chazz”, he made his debut recording, 1988’s Wasted Time whilst barely out of his teens. This exceedingly rare LP is a hot ticket on the underground collectors’ circuit and usually commands a $50 starting bid.
Songs are Charlie’s bag, and his primary tools are his battery of acoustic guitars and his quite English sounding voice, which can be favorably compared to founding Fleetwood Mac guitarist/vocalist Danny Kirwan’s fragile lilt, especially the Second Chapter solo album. West arranges his deeply personal vignettes with skillfully applied splashes of electric and real percussion, hooky electric riffs, and spare, low-flyby keyboards. His dutiful spouse Teri proves she is no slouch as a lyricist, as she serves as an able conduit for his vision on about half the material.
Delivered with the poetic metaphorical invective of John Prine, the catchy, melodic, ironically cheery bounce of REM, and the occasionally over-ripe earnestness of Roy Harper, Charlie paves life as a long highway littered with petty embroilments, lost and found hopes and loves, betrayal, stagnation and renewal, as well as the necessity of picking up the pieces, and with a wistful last glance over one’s shoulder, carrying on. Look for a review of West’s most recent release, I Must Be in the Wrong Place on PE soon.