The Ultimate Collection (Hip-O)

Reviewed by DJ Johnson

The easy way out would have been to present a collection of Charlie Rich's smooth country hits from his incredible chart run of the 70s. Hip-O chose instead to do right by the late artist by including some of his early recordings from the legendary Sun Studios, songs that smacked of rockabilly and featured some of Rich's best piano pumping. Don't worry; "Behind Closed Doors" and "The Most Beautiful Girl" are here, too, along with "There Won't Be Anymore" and several other smoothies, but the rockers make for a nice balance.

Listening to this collection you become very aware of what it was that separated him from the rest of the country pack, and ultimately kept him from having more hits in that stiffly-ruled genre: he was extremely soulful, both in his vocal presentation and in his jazz-inflected piano accompaniment. Listen to the piano ornamentation in "River, Stay Away From My Door" and you'll see what I mean.

Mainstream Nashville and its audience didn't always see the point. If you do see it, and you haven't already got all his albums, The Ultimate Collection is probably the best single-disc collection you can buy.

Track List:

Lonely Weekends * Rebound * Who Will The Next Fool Be? * Break Up * Sittin' And Thinkin' * There's Another Place I Can't Go * Big Boss Man * There Won't Be Anymore * River, Stay Away From My Door * She Called Me Baby * Mohair Sam * I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water * A Field Of Yellow Daisies * Everything I Do Is Wrong * You Can Have Her * Behind Closed Doors * The Most Beautiful Girl * Feel Like Going Home

© 2000 - DJ Johnson