Tuesday, October 17, 2006, 6:38 PM // 4 comments

Charlie Rich

A recent email from my brother...

charlie rich - altobelliYou know much about him? Well, in a nutshell, he's pretty mindblowing. When he showed up at Sun Records in ‘57, he was groomed to be Elvis’s replacement. Unfortunately, he had too much talent and variety to channel properly and he got lost in the mix. He could write and play gospel, jazz, swing, country, and rockabilly, yet was marketed poorly time and again. By the late 60s he hooked up with producer Billy Sherrill, the Phil Spector-like producer who was creating the Countrypolitan sound with artists like Tammy Wynette. The first couple of LPs Rich and Sherrill did together didn’t sell well—tho they did well critically (Rich may be rock’s first “critic’s darling”)--and by 1971 he was playing airport bars, going nowhere. Music journalist Peter Guralnick profiled him during this period, in a book of essays called “Feel Like Going Home.”

Shortly thereafter, Rich did “Behind Closed Doors” and finally became an overnite sensation. Shortly before he died in 1991, he recorded his final LP, “Pictures and Portraits,” which Guralnick produced (they remained friends over those 20 years). Rich, inspired by the book that in part helped revive his career, wrote a song called “Feel Like Going Home.” Here’s his demo, which is breathtaking. It’s full of grunts and chair squeaks and it’s just Charlie and his piano. Wow.

I’m so glad my boy Harry Mose will grow up in a home where this beautiful music will play loud and clear.


Listen / Download:
Feel Like Going Home - Charlie Rich

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Anonymous Uncle Stephen said...

Further proof of how interesting and cool Charlie Rich is: In 1975, he appeared on the nationally televised Country Music Association Awards show. He presented the award for Entertainer of the Year (which he had himself won the previous year). When John Denver turned out to be the winner, Charlie took out his lighter and burned the slip of paper.

5:57 PM  
Blogger Paul MacPhail said...

Um, he died July 25, 1995. Love the music though. He did a new cut of the song on his last album, Pictures & Paintings put out in 1992?. If you like "Feel Like Going Home", you would probably like "Time And Again", it has the same sort of mood to it. As for his ripping the envelope in 1975, I don't think he held any ill will against John Denver. He was just drunk.

12:10 AM  
Anonymous Naomi said...

Actually, CR had been taking pain killers for a foot injury he received when he was getting out of his recliner at home. That mixed with the gin he shared with a friend backstage at the awards show explained his "irrational" behavior. Charlie had no personal grudge against John, but he was upset with the Nashville music business and all the politics involved. He and Margaret Ann went to John's home when they vacationed in Colorado a few months later, so Charlie could extend his apologies, but John wasn't home at the time.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Nick12B said...

this is an amazing song. and now for a confession/pledge: i will try never again to confuse charlie rich with charlie pride or buddy rich. apologies to the universe...

9:21 AM  

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Paul Altobelli is a veteran Internet, marketing and technology professional with considerable expertise in search engine marketing, web site development, design, implementation and project management. [more]

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