Chuck Durfor,
Fallen/Forgotten
(Durftunes, 2000)

If Chuck Durfor's Fallen/Forgotten were a recipe for cake, it would be a mix of some of the best ingredients that money could by, spoiled by a bug dropping in the batter and then getting baked too long. Odd visual, but fitting. This recording had a lot of potential, and even had moments of greatness, but a few small details knocked it down to mediocrity.

Durfor has, undeniably, an extreme amount of talent when playing the guitar. He mixes the stylings of jazz, blues and folk effortlessly, and he makes it seem easy. And with an excellent backup band of flutes, saxes and more, he weaves some intriguing and soothing sounds, such as can be heard on "Hunters" and "Sandwood Down to Kyle." However, the aforementioned bug comes when Durfor opens his mouth to sing -- while he has marvelous abilities on the guitar, in the ears of this reviewer, he should probably let someone sing his songs. Songs such as "Running from Home" and "Fallen/Forgotten," where Durfor sings along to his music, leave me shaking my head and reaching for the next button on my CD player. And, unfortunately, sometimes his ability supercedes his playing -- there are spots where the music sounds discordant, where too many sounds tried to escape at once, all trying to be heard.

Honestly, I think Durfor has a lot of talent, honed through years of playing and writing. I would have liked to hear a bit more diversity of styles on the CD, as he keeps his tempo fairly slow, letting the saxes and flutes do the work of lifting the music to any semblance of happiness. And there's no denying the inspiration to the title of the CD -- his search for a lost relative who passed away after a hard life fought in the Civil War, through lost children and loves, and passing away penniless. It's a fitting tribute to a fallen hero -- solemn and demure, but I would have liked to seen the talented player break away from the somber mood of the recording and dazzle us with some talent. Hopefully, Durfor will grace us with a future recording where he can prove me wrong.

[ by Timothy Keene ]



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