CD Review: Charlie Farren's "A Live Retrospective"

Publish Notes: 

Green Mountain Outlook Bellows Falls, VT Feb.2, 2010

CD Review: Charlie Farren's "A Live Retrospective"

For any fan of Charlie Farren, the new Retrospective Live At The Regent Theatre DVD/CD package is truly a gem, as many of his past musical friends gathered together on this night to celebrate Charlie's rich musical legacy. This included the members of Balloon, Beatlejuice and of course, Farrenheit. Also along for the ride were special guests Candy O'Terry and Alizon Lissance.

Cover courtesy of Charlie Farren. Photo by Joe Milliken

The DVD: Charlie begins this night as a stand alone-just Charlie and his guitar-for "Nobody's Somebody," co-written with old friend Barry Goudreau of Boston fame and then the Farrenheit favorite "Impossible World." Special guest Alizon Lissance then joined Charlie for a little ambiance, creating an old-world atmosphere with her subtle accordion accents on "Old & Young", the title track of Charlie's 2006 solo release.

Next up to join Farren were his old friends from Beatlejuice-a great band featuring David Mitchell on guitar, Steve Baker on keyboards, Joe Holaday on bass and John Muzzy(“Muzz”)on drums-to perform "Love Street",(for which Mitchell’s guitar solo is smoking)"Deja Blue" and the down-and-bluesy "Whose Going To Carry You Home".

From there it was back to the solo entity for an acoustic version(“and less angry than the original”)of the old Balloon song "Afraid To Fly,” Charlie next invited on stage, said Balloon, his first significant band which enjoyed regional success and radio air play in Boston, featuring Ken Kalayjian on guitar, Joe Black on bass and Bob Sutton on drums. Balloon proceeded to plow through the powerful "Too Far Gone" and "Lies, Lies, Lies," before contrasting into the ballad "Woman In My Life," which Farren also recorded for his aforementioned Old & Young solo release. 30 years gone by, Balloon can still cook it up together as if they never stopped, while Kalayjian unleashes a couple of blistering guitar solos.

Charlie was next joined by the lovely Boston singer and radio personality Candy O'Terry, whom he had teamed up with last year to record a remake of his solo song "You Are The Only One," for which the duo enjoyed success on the national, adult contemporary charts. Indeed, their duet was smooth as silk.

Next up, Farrenheit, the 80's entity that garnered Farren's most commercial success, featuring the thunderous David Hull on bass and Muzz on drums. The garage-rocking trio ripped through "Signal In The Noise", "Bad Habit", "Lost In Loveland"(for which Hull’s bass lines are amazing!)and their biggest hit "Fool In Love", which cracked the charts back in the day.

The Farrenheit set really got the house jumping and primed as Balloon rejoined Charlie, Hull and Muzz on stage for the rockin' grand finale of "Listen To The Rock" and "East Coast, West Coast" from Charlie and Hull’s early 80’s stint with The Joe Perry Project. All complete with a rumbling, double-low end from Hull and Black, another great Kalayjian solo and of course, front man Farren as the smooth-cool ring leader.

Charlie would finally come full circle for his encore, just he and his guitar once again, for the heart-felt "You And Me", rounding out a many textured performance that touched upon every aspect of the F-Man’s musical legacy.
And what makes this package even better? After you have enjoyed the DVD, you can also take the accompanying CD in the car as to enjoy the show during your travels.

Indeed, Charlie Farren is one of those unique artists that, although surely developing quite a loyal following for himself over the years, I still can’t help but feel never got the recognition he truly deserves. A fantastic song writer, vocalist, guitarist and front man that has stood the test of time, all for the love of his craft.