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More from Charlie Rich (the Silver Fox), a colossal talent bettered by few has yet another compilation / reissue to his name. Piano playing vocal stylist Rich was a true legend. Originally issued on two LPs (Charlie Rich, 1964 and That's Rich, 1965) and seven singles, plus the previously unreleased "One More Mountain (One More River)" . Ace Records’ release follows a couple of other releases I’ve been lucky enough to come my way recently, and like I have noted previously my admiration for him continues to grow. Rich was one of the finest when it came to fashioning a song to meet his needs, and with his Groove a subsidiary of RCA albums heard in their entirety this is a special release. As Bob Stanley shrewdly points out in his liner notes ‘it’s hard to think of anyone who has suffered as much from budget comps (especially those issued after he had left a label) clogging up their creative arteries’. Then again how many people have had their appetite whet by compilations, especially those featuring random songs!
I believe one helps the other. With 40 tracks on offer and the likes of one of my all-time favourites by Rich, stellar love ballad “There Won’t Be Anymore” to go with “Too Many Teardrops”, “Big Boss Man”, lazy paced gem “It’s All Over Now”, and with a confident swagger “I Need A Thing Called Love”. Plus, with some classy piano, strings and harmonies “Mountain Dew” and sad-eyed ballad “She Called Me Baby”.
At the top of his game, Charlie Rich was a master; his effortless caressing of a ballad had few peers. “Ol’ Man River” has a jaunty blend of southern, blues and jazz; more straight forward is “Twelfth Of Never”. While an act of great devotion is shown in all its splendour on "Twelfth Of Never"; while he pays tribute to Jim Reeves on “Gentleman Jim”, his admiration for the then recently deceased, fellow RCA recording act is most poignant. On a country note Rich does a tasty, complete with twangy country lead guitar and rolls on his trusty piano version of Merle Haggard associated “(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers” (Liz Anderson).
Others of note include merry romp “She Loved Everybody But Me”, and with a vintage feel to his vocals “The Ways Of A Woman In Love” is a rare touch of class, and with the likes of brooding ballad “Rosanna” and on producing a Rhumba beat “I’m Right Behind You” are all jewels in the Rich crown. Despite the fact I don’t believe his Chet Atkins’ produced Groove recordings were necessarily among Charlie’s best work; a little more dash and, possibly more freedom in general allowed to the stylish piano playing master.
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