Title - 'The Songs of Charlie Rich: Feel Like Going Home'
Artist - Various
For those not in the know, Charlie Rich (December 14, 1932 – July 25, 1995) was an American country music singer, songwriter and musician. His eclectic style of music was often hard to classify in a single genre, encompassing the rockabilly, jazz, blues, country, soul and gospel genres.
In the later part of his life, Rich acquired the nickname the Silver Fox and is perhaps best remembered for a pair of 1973 hits, 'Behind Closed Doors' and 'The Most Beautiful Girl'. Indeed, 'The Most Beautiful Girl' topped the U.S. country singles charts, as well as the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles charts and earned him two Grammy Awards. Rich was inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2015.
Out October 14th, 2016 via Memphis International Records, The Songs of Charlie Rich: Feel Like Going Home [CD/Vinyl LP] will be released - and I suggest you all buy it (especially on vinyl!) Until now, much of Rich's output from the early Sixties has remained relatively obscure, but that all changes here on this brand new tribute album.
Featuring performances of Rich's songs from the likes of Jim Lauderdale, Shooter Jennings, Will Kimbrough, Keith Sykes, Charlie Rich Jr. to name just a few, The Songs of Charlie Rich: Feel Like Going Home is an album all fans of country music never even knew they had been waiting for!
Side A of this delicious, crisp, heavyweight vinyl LP opens with the boisterous 'Lonely Weekend' by Jim Lauderdale, and it's just the most perfect way to get introduced to Charlie Rich's brilliant, understated-at-times bounty of work. 'Caught In The Middle' from The Malpass Brothers evokes the spirit of Roy Orbison, and that's backed by the delightful, effervescent, bouncy vocal tones of Juliet Simmons Dinallo on 'Whirlwind.'
The mid-tempo ballad 'Sittin' And Thinkin' from Will Kimbrough is yet another lovely addition to this album, and is followed by one of my favorite cuts here, 'Easy Money' by Preston Shannon. An upbeat song to say the least, its flow, its simplistic approach with regard both lyrics and guitar work just blend perfectly together to create a great tune. Next up is 'Break Up' from Charlie Rich Jr. and is a speeding train of a track, evoking a young Elvis Presley at every turn. A hugely poignant track that allows the son of the great man to show his own musical appreciation for his father's work, his piano work is out of control fantastic. This first side then ends calmly with the delicate tones of Susan Marshall on the beautiful slow-poke ballad, 'Time And Again'.
Side B opens in some style also with the guitar swingin', guitar twangin' 'Rebound' performed by Shooter Jennings, which is backed by the gentle piano sway of 'Who Will The Next Fool Be' from Holli Mosley. Now THIS is how a country song should be sung, for not only does Mosley get the right country stance behind her vocals, but includes some slight, smoky jazz club vibes to it also. Perfect. Simply perfect.
Next up is the vibrant 'Everything I Do Is Wrong' from both Keith Sykes and Grace Askew. A finger-snappin' affair to say the least, if you're hips haven't joined in also come the third chorus you're simply not listening properly! With The Songs of Charlie Rich: Feel Like Going Home primarily focusing on the early works of Rich while in Memphis working with Sam Phillips at Sun Records, this album is, from start to finish, one of the most refreshing down-to-earth country albums that I've heard in a long, long time.
Oh, and if you don't know who Sam Phillips (January 5, 1923 – July 30, 2003) is, well, shame on you! Phillips was an American musician, businessman, record executive, music producer, and disc jockey who played an important role in the emergence and development of rock and roll and rockabilly as the major form of popular music in the 1950s. He was a producer, label owner, and talent scout throughout the 1940s and 1950s. He was the founder of both Sun Studio and Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee and it was through Sun, Phillips discovered such recording talent as Howlin' Wolf, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash. The height of his success culminated in his launching of Elvis Presley's career in 1954.
Next up is the sultry hipsway country blues of 'Midnight Blues' from the angelic Anita Suhanin, before that bleeds wonderfully into the slow-drawn, down south harmonica raw cajun blues vibe of 'Don't Put No Headstone On My Grave' from Johnny Hoy. My personal stand alone favorite of all the tracks here, it most definitely has a more Hooker/King/Rush appeal to it, but nonetheless is a real pleasure to feature here, knowing that Charlie Rich wrote it. The title track, 'Feel Like Going Home' from Kevin Connolly is a lovely way to bring the record to a close. Not a long track, it still contains just enough of a nod and a tip of the hat send off gesture to Rich to make it feel like symbolic thanks to the great man.