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The Essential Charlie Rich

Charlie Rich

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Album Review

Though it bypasses his late-'70s and early-'80s records for United Artists and Elektra, the double-disc, 36-track set Feel Like Going Home: The Essential Charlie Rich covers Rich's best (and best-known) work for Sun/Phillips, Groove, Smash, and Epic, making it the first cross-licensed compilation ever assembled on the idiosyncratic vocalist and pianist. The multi-label approach works wonders in illustrating the depths of Rich's talents, since the compilation showcases all of his stylistic detours and his rich musical eclecticism. The song selection also helps showcase his versatility. While Feel Like Going Home contains all of his best-known songs in their original hit versions ("Lonely Weekends," "Who Will the Next Fool Be," "Sittin' and Thinkin'," "Big Boss Man," "Mohair Sam," "I Washed My Hands in Muddy Waters," "Set Me Free," "Don't Put No Headstone on My Grave," "Life's Little Ups and Downs," "Behind Closed Doors," "The Most Beautiful Girl"), it overlooks several big country hits from the mid-'70s in favor of lesser-known '60s and early-'70s recordings, which are stronger performances. As a consequence, Feel Like Going Home is the only compilation that truly shows the scope of Rich's talent, and it works both as an introduction and as a definitive retrospective.

Biography

Born: 14 December 1932 in Colt, AR

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Charlie Rich was simultaneously one of the most critically acclaimed and most erratic country singers of post-World War II era. Rich had all the elements of being one of the great country stars of the '60s and '70s, but his popularity never matched his critical notices. What made him a critical favorite also kept him from mass success. Throughout his career, Rich willfully bended genres, fusing country, jazz, blues, gospel, rockabilly, and soul. Though he had 45 country hits in a career that spanned...
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The Essential Charlie Rich, Charlie Rich
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