CHARLIE WAYNE MORRILL – The Metal Years 1985-2005


Release Date: January 11, 2005

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Charlie Wayne Morrill is a name which may be familiar to both the rock fraternity and those in the Country arena. In the rock world, he has been involved with, amongst others, The Bullet Boys and Hawk, a band which also featured Scott Travis from Judas Priest. Whereas fans of Country music may know him through Charlie Wayne and Crawdad Creek, as well as for his work with fellow 80’s rocker Ron Keel, under the name of Keel and Wayne, which is garnering a fair degree of critical acclaim in Country circles. It is however, Morrill’s rock credentials that will be placed under the microscope with the release of The Metal Years 1985-2005.

Covering material dating back to 1985, performed under his own name, and also by Hawk from their No One To Love album, through to The Charlie Wayne Band’s Scarecrow of 2000 and Unchained and Live, as well as more up-to-date material by The Ticks from 2004’s Infected. As an added sweetener, and bringing matters bang to the current date, is a brand new recording with Charlie and long time mate Ron Keel.

“No One To Love” delves right back to the early days of Hawk with an almost demo-like production, and Morrill coming over rather like a youthful Axl Rose. Although this recording was made pre-Appetite for Destruction, it may give a hint of where Axl looked to when developing his vocal style??

Although the album is titled 1985-2005, there seems to be a distinct lack of 1990’s material, as the time frame jumps from the mid to late 1980’s to material from 2000’s Scarecrow album. Here Morrill’s voice has developed a more early Robert Plant/Dizzy Dean (Britney Fox) style shriek.

“Make Love Little Lady” does feature a spoken introduction, which may have been a winner on a Barry White album, but doesn’t quite work in the context of a Hard Rock record, and is probably best skipped over.

“Waterhole” is a different proposition altogether. This is a great acoustic foot tapper that would go down as a treat at a smoky club on a Friday night or around a campfire on a summer evening.

“Keep Falling” represents the pick of The Ticks tracks, combining a tiptoeing bass line with a rather fine hummable chorus. Here Morrill’s voice seems to veer away from the higher register, taking on a more restrained, sophisticated approach, giving a richer tone to his voice, which actually works really well with this material. In fact, The Ticks material is by far the strongest of the album, both in terms of songwriting and performance, so it’s no surprise that there’s a total of six songs featured on this compilation. Morrill shows that there is more to his repertoire than merely screaming, and, at times, comes across akin to MSG’s Gary Barden at his best.

“Infected,” the title track of The Ticks album, is a right jolly romp, living up to its title to the full, and is surely the only time in Rock history where the flu is mentioned in a song!!!

Bringing matters right up to 2005 is “Come Home With Me,” the new recording with Ron Keel, which is an acoustic ballad, the type of thing Jon Bon Jovi would knock out in his sleep. This is an offshoot of the duo’s work with The Acoustic Outcasts, a project including such luminaries as Kelly Keeling and JK Northrup.

Completing the package are a handful of live tracks from Unchained and Live by The Charlie Wayne Band, including a cover of “Smooth Up In Ya” by The Bulletboys, a band which Morrill had connections with in the 80’s, and a cover of Foghat’s “I Just Wanna Make Love To You.” These come across as rough and raw, giving them an honest vibe as opposed to going for the multi-overdubs that some bands seem to prefer, and they sound all the better for it.

The package covers the whole spectrum of Morrill’s Rock career, providing the perfect taster to those keen on discovering more about his hard rocking credentials, and gives an insight into the bands and solo material he has been involved with over the years.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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