Monday, 29 November 2010

“Charlie Rocks” by CHARLIE RICH. A Review Of The 2009 Bear Family CD Compilation.

"…Fast Talkin'…Slow Walkin'…Good Lookin'…"

Released June 2009 on Bear Family BCD 16513 AR, "Charlie Rocks" offers up 31 slices of the Silver Fox’s varying styles – Rock ‘n’ Roll, Blues, R’n’B, Crooner and even Sixties Pop. It covers 1958 to 1966 on Sun Records, Phillips International, Groove, Smash, Phillips and Mercury - and at a 74:34 minutes doesn't scrimp it on content or value for money.

Like all the titles in this extensive series, "Charlie Rocks" comes in a 3-way foldout card digipak with a large detachable booklet in the centre (40-pages for this one). The CD label itself repros the USA 45” for “Big Boss Man" – his fantastic cover of Jimmy Reed’s blues standard - complete with its 1965 Groove Records label bag - and that's again repro’d in full on the flap beneath the see-through tray (a nice touch).

The substantial booklet features extensive liner notes from Page 2 to 28 by HANK DAVIS with a Discography for all 31 tracks from Page 29 to 36 by COLIN ESCOTT, HANK DAVIS, MARTIN HAWKINS and Bear Family’s owner RICHARD WEIZE. It’s peppered with several full colour plates of Rich from a previously unreleased photo session and many of his American 45’s are pictured throughout the Discography - a typically top job done by Bear.

The remastered sound is by MARCUS HEUMANN and given the difference sources and years – it’s uniformly superb - even on the unreleased rough ‘n’ ready Sun sides. By the time you get to the Sixties stuff (recorded in good studios with top musicians), the sound quality is rocking.

1. Whirlwind (Undubbed Version)
2. Everything I Do Is Wrong
3. Philadelphia Baby
4. Big Man
5. Rebound
6. That's Rich
7. Lonely Weekends (Master Take)
8. Break Up
9. Midnite Blues
10. Little Woman Friend Of Mine
11. Goodbye Mary Ann (Take 3)
12. You Made A Hit
13. Red Man
14. Donna Lee
15. Popcorn Polly
16. Gentle As A Lamb
17. Charlie's Boogie
18. Stop Thief
19. Right Behind You Baby
20. Lonely Weekends (Undubbed Alternate Take)
21. Yes Ma'am
22. Big Man (Undubbed Alternate Take)
23. Big Boss Man
24. The Ways Of A Woman In Love
25. Mohair Sam
26. I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water
27. Just A Little Bit Of Time
28. It Ain't Gonna Be That Way
29. That's My Way
30. Just A Little Bit Of You
31. So Long

Tracks 1, 6, 10, 12 and 14 through to 21 are all from the 1998 4CD Bear Family box set “Lonely Weekend – The Sun Years 1958-1962” and were previously unreleased at the time.

Tracks 8, 11, 13 and 22 are all PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED and exclusive to this set.

All the other tracks are singles or album sides on the labels mentioned above.

His huge hit “Lonely Weekend” is on here twice – the master is track 7, while track 20 is a previously unreleased Undubbed Alternate Take. “Midnite Blues”, “The Ways Of A Woman In Love” and “Mohair Sam” (lyrics above) epitomise his Sixties cool – like Roy Orbison at his sly best – great vocals, clever lyrics and an instantly catchy tune every time. There’s a few tracks off his two superb albums for Smash Records in 1965 and 1966 – “The Many News Sides Of…” and “The Best Years” which will make you want more and talk of forgotten genius {“It Ain’t Gonna Be That Way”). The “If you keep your hands clean, you won’t those bloodhounds on your trail…” lyrics of “I Washed My Hands In Muddy Waters” has a great piano rocking feel as it chugs along – the kind of bluesy tune Presley might have tackled on his superb “Elvis Is Back” album from 1960. Speaking of which…

Looking at the booklet and listening to the CD, you’re struck by three things (1) Charlie Rich was a handsome son of a bitch, (2) like Presley and Orbison, he had a voice to die for and could sing anything and (3) a whopping 24 of these 31 cuts are his own compositions, So he looked good, sounded awesome and wrote his own tunes. So why wasn’t he huge?

He would of course enjoy global success in the early Seventies with “Behind Closed Doors” and “The Most Beautiful Girl In The World” which galvanized his ‘Silver Fox’ crooner image. But this disc gives us his preceding rocking years and it’s an absolute eye-opener as to his talent and great way with a song…

I’m so glad I bought this CD - another cracker from those nice archiving people in Germany.

Recommended big time...

PS: The "Rocks" Series by Bear Family features the following artists:

1. Pat Boone
2. Johnny Burnette
3. The Cadillacs
4. Eddie Cochran
5. Bobby Darin
6. Fats Domino
7. Connie Francis
8. Don Gibson
9. Glen Glenn
10. Bill Haley
11. Roy Hall
12. Dale Hawkins
13. Ronnie Hawkins
14. Screamin' Jay Hawkins
15. Wanda Jackson
16. Sonny James
17. Buddy Knox & Jimmy Bowen with the Rhythm Orchids
18. Sleepy LaBeef
19. Jerry Lee Lewis
20. Smiley Lewis [see REVIEW]
21. Bob Luman
22. Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers
23. Carl Mann
24. Amos Milburn [see REVIEW]
25. Ella Mae Morse [see REVIEW]
26. Ricky Nelson
27. Carl Perkins
28. Roy Orbison
29. Lloyd Price
30. Piano Red (aka Dr. Feelgood) [see REVIEW]
31. Charlie Rich
32. Jack Scott
33. Shirley & Lee
34. The Treniers
35. Conway Twitty
36. Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps
37. Rusty York

The Bear Family "Rockin' Rollin'" Series features:

1. Johnny Horton
2. Marvin Rainwater
3. Marty Robbins Vol.1
4. Marty Robbins Vol.2
5. Marty Robbins Vol.3

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