Though a bit heavy in cliché, Charlie Allen's self-titled debut merits some serious consideration of the singer's talent. Most of the collection sounds reflects the country sound of the 1980's, which actually charms rather than detracts. After all, country was building steam during this decade attracting a widening demographic. The flaw is essentially a hit- and- miss in consistency.
Allen's ballad deliveries come across honest and genuine, with "As If" as a fine example both of mood and song writing. "Thanks To You," with its acoustic guitar licks is another solid ballad. Allen, born Charles Allen Bouton, co-wrote 11 of the 12 cuts, including these two. That is a dangerous choice for a new artist. Often, the decision to co-write an entire album excludes diversity, a key characteristic in a fickle music industry. The result of this decision for Charlie Allen means a few mediocre cuts such as the revved up "Gettin' Nowhere Fast" that really doesn't get anywhere but "clichéville."
Allen did, however, make the wise choice to write with country great Earl Thomas Conley, whose work does add a bit of 80's charm on cuts such as "Mind Over Matter," one of Allen's best performances of the album. The musical accompaniment on the album is also a plus, with a variety of harmonica, steel and electric guitar.
Charlie Allen has proved that he has the talent to join the ranks of the hit makers; now it's time to step back, diversify a bit, and distinguish himself from the deluge of male country acts vying for radio airplay.