Sunday, 16 July 2017

Rich pickings

Thank you to Charity Chic for making me delve back into my Charlie Rich collection. He was so much more than the Silver Fox. A bit like yours truly...

The late (and rather great) Charlie Rich had at least three careers: as a session musician he was a regular at Sun studios c.1957/58  when Elvis et al were banging out the hits. But Rich realised, maybe he was told, he didn't have the rock and roll chops to ride that particular train; though I for one would have to disagree, just take a listen to Whirlwind from the first disc on The Essential Charlie Rich Collection. Instead he used his not inconsiderable songwriting talents to supply the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash with quality material.

Rich spent much of the sixties on the periphery, playing more jazzy stuff - he was a fine pianist as well as being a huge vocal talent - and even turned out a couple of mod influenced hits: Mohair Sam and Big Boss Man can still be heard in any venue wherever you see a row of Lambrettas parked outside.

But it was in the early seventies when he was re-energised by country (just country, hold the western). In 1973 his hit album Behind Closed Doors spawned two absolutely colossal singles: The Most Beautiful Girl and, of course, the majestic title track. Rich suddenly found himself with gold discs coming out of his ears, very popular and, I guess, very rich.

However, he couldn't sustain this level of success and found himself once more in the wilderness. Though he would go on to make one more beautiful album: In 1992 he recorded and released one of his finest collection of songs, Pictures and Paintings. It's tinged with jazz & gospel and is sung from the heart. It's reflective. It's almost sorrowful. It's beautiful. And it's where you'll find this:

Charlie Rich: Feel Like Going Home

Charlie Rich (1932-1995)


  1. Just popped by and like that you too have written about Charlie Rich today after having been prompted by CC's post.

    When I start blogging again I am going to try and use your blog model (a modest 2 up 2 down you called it) - Loads of information here of interest finished off with a great tune. Enjoyed it a lot.

    1. My humble two-up two-down blog is low maintenance. When you let slip how many hours research you put into yours I was staggered. Impressed, but staggered nonetheless.
      And don't forget, write when you want to write, and don't write when you don't want to write.

  2. This is the wondrous stripped back version of 'Feel Like Going Home' originally found on the b-side of 'The Most Beautiful Girl' in 1973. One of my Desert Island Discs and the song I'd like played at my funeral. Still staggering after all these years.

    1. You're right, of course. As good as the 'orchestrated' version is, it's not a patch on the stripped back demo.
      What are your other seven DIDs, if I may be so bold?

    2. I actually combined the Desert Island Discs format with that of an old Radio 1 show from the 1970's called My Top Ten - essentially I cheated to allow myself 10 selections as opposed to 8. I've posted a couple of the tunes over the years, but not the whole lot. I'll get to it I promise.