Charlie Rich was an American singer-songwriter and pianist, best known for his success as a country artist.
Charlie Rich was born in rural Arkansas in 1932, and raised on a musical diet of gospel, blues and country - he learned to play blues piano from C.J. Allen, a black sharecropper working on his family's land. He married Margaret Ann Greene in 1952 and joined the US Air Force in 1953. On leaving the military in 1956 he began to play jazz and R&B in clubs around the Memphis area, and also began writing his own material. In the late 50s he became a regular session musician at Sam Phillips' Sun Records, and also wrote songs for Sun artists such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Smith and Johnny Cash. The demos he recorded himself were deemed too jazzy by Phillips, so he was steered in the direction of rockabilly in hope of some commercial success of his own. It paid off in 1960 with the single "Lonely Weekends", with it's Elvis Presley-like vocals, which charted at #22. However none of the follow-up singles charted, and he left Sun in 1963.
This is a good compilation bringing together eighteen of his recordings from the Sun years, with the focus mostly on rockabilly, but also with some very good jazz and blues flavoured recordings, which show where his talents really lay right from the start of his career. The highlight is undoubtedly his own composition "Who Will The Next Fool Be", which was recorded by Bobby 'Blue' Bland for a Top 20 R&B hit in 1962.