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Articles Home » 1976 Articles » Charlie - 1976 Fantasy Girls
Charlie - 1976 Fantasy Girls

ARTIST: Charlie
ALBUM: Fantasy Girls
LABEL: Polydor (UK), CBS (USA)
SERIAL: 2383-373, PC 34081
YEAR: 1976
CD REISSUE: 2011, Airmail Recordings, AIRAC-1617


LINEUP: Terry Thomas - lead vocals, guitars * Martin Smith - guitars, backing vocals * John Anderson - bass, backing vocals * Steve Gadd - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Fantasy Girls * 02 Miss DeLuxe * 03 TV Dreams * 04 Prisoners * 05 First Class Traveller * 06 Greatcoat Guru * 07 Please Let Me Know * 08 Don't Let Me Down * 09 It's Your Life * 10 Summer Romances


British band Charlie are a regular attendee here at GDM. As at 2016 there are only three albums from their discography we haven't covered. We will push on and do those now The first being covered is the 1976 'Fantasy Girls'. The original line-up listed above actually came together as far back as 1971, but only got around to releasing a rare single for Decca two years later. Polydor were eventually persuaded to release and finance this debut, with budding studio engineer Mike Stone at the helm. The trademark Charlie sound found here would continue right throughout their recording career, despite the numerous line-up changes over the years. Originally named Charlie Cuckoo, apparently after a racehorse, the odds were high that a shortened name-change would be on the betting slip, and so it proved. With major songwriter, lead guitarist and vocalist Terry Thomas leading the way, Charlie's songs became a trademark, poking fun at anyone or anything worth shouting home about. Usually celebrities and the like.

The Songs
'Fantasy Girls' the title-track leads off. This has a very American radio rock sound, and is likeable for that reason. The lyrics are a bit out there for 1976; I'm thinking the majority of Britain hadn't quite embraced Penthouse or Hustler magazine just yet (I could be wrong.. lol). The rolling guitar for 'Miss Deluxe' is like musical permafrost on this song, keeping this one in similar territory to Lake and early City Boy. Terry kicks it up for 'TV Dreams', one of many songs over the years to feature the TV as a lyrical marker-peg. 'Prisoner' is a tale of two stories. The first half strolls through without incident, until the halfway point which sees the tempo go off the map, and the guitars firing up. The single off the LP was 'First Class Traveller', a quaint pop rocker with a hint of Queen and 10cc in the arrangement, but only just. 'Greatcoat Guru' (unusual title) borders on funky, while the last four tracks are paired off as two rockers and two ballads. 'Don't Let Me Down' and 'Summer Romances' demonstrate this new band has potential on the hard rock side of the tracks, while 'Please Let Me Know' and 'It's Your Life' would suggest that ballads come easy to Charlie.

In Summary
'Fantasy Girls' would set the low-tide mark for the band, and it was onward and upward from here on in. Thomas and crew would migrate to 1977 with their second LP 'No Second Chance', and the practice of including a stunning looking gal on the cover would occur on a regular basis. The only issue that most Charlie fans have is finding a decent copy of their albums on CD. This one was reissued by Japanese label Airmail Recordings in 2011, and thankfully not on Renaissance Records, which released a whole bunch of dodgy sounding reissues. [word count 474]

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#1 | gdazegod on January 31 2016 08:44:13
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