Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Music Section: George Jones Is Not Charlie Rich

George Jones died last week. Country music lost a mover and shaker and a legend, but he is not Charlie Rich.

I got them confused as I was looking for some jazz songs by Jones. There are none. It was Charlie Rich, aka The Silver Fox, who was an accomplished jazz vocalist's and his adherence to what we now call 'crossover' limited both his fame and fortune.

"Charlie Rich was simultaneously one of the most critically acclaimed and most erratic country singers of post-World War II era. Rich had all the elements of being one of the great country stars of the '60s and '70s, but his popularity never matched his critical notices. What made him a critical favorite also kept him from mass success. Throughout his career, Rich willfully bended genres, fusing country, jazz, blues, gospel, rockabilly, and soul. Though he had 45 country hits in a career that spanned nearly four decades, he became best-known for his lush, Billy Sherrill-produced countrypolitan records of the early '70s. Instead of embracing the stardom those records brought him, Rich shunned it, retreating into semiretirement by the '80s." [Read more here]

Ever heard of 'countrypolitan' before? 

The last 331/3 (You explain it to everyone 45 and under.) I owned of Charlie's was the 1975 album "Every Time You Touch Me I Get High". On it were two of the Billy Sherrill produced songs. Lush is an understatement, but they work very well alone and with a bottle of wine as does Jackie Gleason's LP "Music For Lovers Only".

Back to The Silver Fox, here are two of selections of his 'countrypolitan' songs:

Every Time You Touch Me I get High

This song was written by Charlie and Sherrill and released in 1975

Since I Fell For You

Buddy Johnson wrote this in 1945. Wikipedia tells us that the song didn't take off until Lenny Welch recorded it in 1963. Since then it has become a standard and performed by many great singers. But here's The Silver Fox.


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