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The Silver Fox Charlie Rich made a number of timeless recordings, some he wrote and was the case with “Big Man” some came from others (Dale Fox). Rich was pretty much near, if not the perfect singer. If it wasn’t for the fact he couldn’t handle stardom, like he might have and enjoyed more than an occasional drink he could have made an even greater impact. As it was he still had a batch of great achievements to his name, and with his early recordings particularly fine Charlie Rich was a star. Brought up on gospel music and then jazz and blues he was also able to attract country music followers with his music, and rock’n’roll too.
Piano playing Rich was also an excellent songwriter, as demonstrated within this 26 compilation. In fact it is littered with gems of various style. From the appealing “Caught In The Middle” to “Lonely Weekends”, brass steeped “Easy Money” and “Sittin’ And Thinkin’ plus a song he was later to have a country hit (1980s duet with Janie Fricke) “On My Knees”. Plus with a huge laugh greeting it “I Finally Found Out” and “Rebound”. I love this old, stripped down style of music. With a voice like Rich to back it up you can’t go wrong. Among the jazz covers of Chuck Willis’ you have him ease, effortlessly, through “Juanita” and “It’s Too Late” and there’s two instrumentals, recorded under the name of Bobby Sheridan thrown in for good measure. There are others too. Charlie Rich for me was up there with the best of rock’n’roll greats; Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly etc.
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