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Charlie Rich I'll Shed No Tears - The Best Of The Hi Recordings (Vinyl LP)

I'll Shed No Tears - The Best Of The Hi Recordings (Vinyl LP)
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Charlie Rich’s recordings for Sun, Croove and Smash had proved convincingly that he could be... more

Charlie Rich: I'll Shed No Tears - The Best Of The Hi Recordings (Vinyl LP)

Charlie Rich’s recordings for Sun, Croove and Smash had proved convincingly that he could be a white R 81 B stylist sans pareil. The Hi sessions attempted to determine whether he could become the premier white soul stylist. When the answer proved to be an unqualified ‘maybe’, Charlie Rich turned to crossover country music, a move that presaged his success with Epic some five years distant. The music that he recorded during his one year stay with Hi bore witness to those twin options, explored in the attempt to find a niche for his eclecticism.

Charlie Rich had been signed to Hi by Seymour and Natalie Rosenberg. Sy Rosenberg is a Memphis lawyer — short, myopic, balding, somewhat overweight, with a cigar clamped between his teeth. However, when the cigar was absent, Rosenberg had been known to play the trumpet. He responded to the talent of Charlie Rich and signed him to a management contract shortly after the success of Lonely Weekends in 1960. After securing Charlie Rich’s release from Sun in 1963, Rosenberg placed him with RCA/Groove for one year (and one hit) and then smash for two years (and another hit) before finally alighting upon Hi in September 1966.

Hi badly needed a star vocalist on their roster to help them move into the new climate within the record business. Rich needed a company that would stick with him long enough to ?nd a winning format. And the Rosenbergs wanted a company that would give them a shot behind the control board. The Rosenbergs were the first-and last-to see their wish granted. As Ray Harris recalled to Hank Davis, “Seymour and his wife wanted to handle the whole production. They did that ?rst record, Pass On By. They told us, ‘If we can just produce it, we know we can sell so many records.’ We said, ‘Oh do you? Do you really believe in yourself that much? Then let’s try it.’ After nothing happened with it, they kinda gave up on that side of things. " We brought in the Pepper-Tanner studio musicians for those first sessions. They cut commercials over there, one of the biggest firms. We used all their people. They did endless overdubs.

It sounds like it was a large band but it was overdubs." At that time, Isaac Hayes and David Porter were looking for a home for their combined talents. They pitched Love ls After Me to the Rosenbergs. They also pitched a somewhat more durable song, When Something ls Wrong With My Baby. It was recorded on October 16, 1966 and the handful of soul music savants who care should note that this was over a month before Sam and Dave recorded it. All of which barely matters, of course, because Sam &, Dave’s version was released first. It became one of the biggest soul records of 1967. Either because of blind misjudgment on the part of the Rosenbergs or Hi, or some post session pressure from Hayes and Porter, Rich's version was held back. Pass On By, a strong though determinedly uncommercial composition from Margaret Ann Rich, was worked up for release (probably featuring Sy Rosenberg’s obligatti on trumpet). It was coupled with Hayes and Porter’s Love ls After Me.

Charlie Rich was brought back into the studio for two sessions on February 2 and 8, 1967. Only one of the eight songs recorded, Hurry Up Freight Train, was ever issued. In fact, the material assembled for the second session was rather lack lustre and has been omitted here with the exception of Rich’s reworking of his own Sun classic, Who Will The Next Fool Be?

When the second single, which coupled Hurry Up Freight Train with the undistinguished Only Me, failed, the Rosenbergs abandoned the producer’s chair. Together, Ray Harris and Hi president Joe Cuoghi came up with the concept of a Hank Williams tribute album recorded in an uptown country style. “lt was just a shot”, recalled Harris. “We were trying to be successful for Charlie. You never know in the record business. Rich was willing to do whatever you wanted to do. He's always left it to someone else. Some of those tracks were a fair way toward pop by the time we had finished sweetening them, though.

“He was in good shape on those sessions. He was living in Arkansas and on one session we worked until 2:00 or 3:00 o’clock in the morning. Charlie had a drink or two and finally he just got up and left. He got in his car and drove back to Arkansas. I tried to get him to come back to my place but he drove home. It worried me so I called the next day and spoke to Margaret Ann. He was OK. He was out on the lake fishing. He was like that. He’d work real hard, try to do what everyone wanted and then he liked to go home, get in an old Jeep and go fishing.”

Despite the fact that the session musicians on the Williams sessions comprised the cream of the talent on offer in Memphis — Reggie Young, Bobby Emmons, Mike Leech and Tommy Cogbill — the overall sound was, as Harris indicated, fairly innocuous. However, it pointed with unerring accuracy towards the crossover style that Charlie would perfect with Billy Sherrill a few years later. A key indicator was the submersion or disappearance of Rich’s piano which was such an integral extension of his vocal lines. Ray Harris recalled, “One of those sessions was rough. It dragged on and on. I got home about 1 o’clock in the morning and got into bed. I woke up about 3:30, sat up in bed and wondered, ‘Did I get that piano of Charlie's?’ I had been cutting his vocals and isolating them while we cut the band. Then we'd come back, let him do the vocal overdub on the band track. Man, I got up and walked the floor. I lived 20 miles from the studio but I had to get in the car, go back to the studio, put on the tape and see. Well, it was there, but, as I think of it now, we didn’t really dominate the session with Charlie’s piano. Looking back, I don’t know if that was a good or bad idea.”

After the sessions were complete, Hi found that they had to abandon their original idea of using Hank Williams’ name on the jacket because of objections from the estate. The album eventually appeared with the title ‘Sings Country and Western’ accompanied by a bucolic vista of the old west on the jacket (Hi seemed to have an aversion to placing the artist’s photo on their jackets during the ’6Os).

Seeing that Hi staff had no more success producing Charlie Rich than himself and Natalie, Sy Rosenberg placed Charlie with Epic after the end of his one year term. In fact, Rosenberg was still his manager when he hit paydirt five years later. At Rosenberg’s instigation, Charlie Rich invested some of his newfound wealth in the nascent Wendy’s hamburger chain. The investment was better than the burgers and Rich reportedly cashed in his stock and secured himself for life. The Hi album was reissued and repackaged by Hi in 1974- and Cream/Hi in 1977. Both reissues ignored the unissued songs which still lay in the old storage room behind the Hi control booth with only the enigmatic initials ‘CR' on the tape boxes giving a clue to their identity. The best of those unissued cuts make their debut here.

As a result, this is not the full story of Charlie Rich on Hi but it culls the best from both of the styles he employed and shows Charlie trying to find a niche for himself in a rapidly changing marketplace. The Hi staff showed a great deal of prescience in aiming him at the country crossover market but it would be left to another producer to show just how much commercial acumen they had.

Liner notes:

COLIN ESCOTT Interview with Ray Harris by HANK DAVIS, January 1987. Recommended

Recommended listening Charlie Rich 'Don't Put No Headstone On My Grave' (Zu-Zazz Z 2002):

Article properties: Charlie Rich: I'll Shed No Tears - The Best Of The Hi Recordings (Vinyl LP)

  • Interpret: Charlie Rich

  • Album titlle: I'll Shed No Tears - The Best Of The Hi Recordings (Vinyl LP)

  • Genre Country

  • Label VINYL

  • Geschwindigkeit 33 U/min
  • Vinyl Size LP (12 Inch)
  • Record Grading Mint (M)
  • Sleeve Grading Mint (M)
  • Artikelart LP

  • EAN: 5014757234187

  • weight in Kg 0.2
Rich, Charlie - I'll Shed No Tears - The Best Of The Hi Recordings (Vinyl LP) LP 1
01 When Something Is Wrong With My Baby
02 Don't Tear Me Down
03 Hurry Up Freight Train
04 Pass On By
05 Can't Get Right
06 I'll Shed No Tears
07 To Fool A Fool
08 Love IS After Me
09 Who Will The Next Fool Be?
10 You Win Again
11 Cold, Cold Heart
12 Nobody's Lonesome For Me
13 They'll Never Take Her Love From Me
14 My Heart Would Know
CHARLIE RICH If ever a musician deserved attention for more than his hit records, it was... more
"Charlie Rich"


If ever a musician deserved attention for more than his hit records, it was Charlie Rich. To several generations of casual listeners, Charlie was nothing more than the ‘Silver Fox’: the guy who sang Behind Closed Doors and The Most Beautiful Girl. The tunnel vision of pop culture has done a profound disservice to Charlie Rich. He was much, much more than those records.

Even listeners who remember his earlier work like Mohair Sam and Lonely Weekends rarely see the full picture. Charlie Rich was a true original in a field that pays lip service to originality but doesn't know what to do with it. An irrepressible eclectic in a field that is enslaved to musical categories. A singer/songwriter/musician in a field that prefers you to be just one thing so everyone else can earn a living.

Worse yet, Charlie Rich was a profoundly shy man with virtually no desire for stardom. He was thrust into a spotlight he feared and distrusted. A quiet, intense man pushed nearly beyond the limits of his endurance to severe substance abuse. A performer so talented and good looking that nobody could stand to leave him alone. A press agent's dream and a promoter's nightmare. Charlie was a gentle giant who would rather spend quiet time with his family and play anonymous gigs in smoky clubs than endure the scrutiny and demands of a hit record and a concert tour. 

Charlie Rich began a career that spanned more than three decades at the legendary Sun label in Memphis, recording for Sam Phillips. Without question, Rich's earliest work is his most interesting. It is also the rawest, least disciplined and most revealing. Rich was never more prolific as a songwriter than during his formative years at Sun. There is nothing in his later career that wasn't foreshadowed in some manner at Sun. Unfortunately, however, there is much in these earliest recordings that was lost or remained undeveloped in Rich's later work.

Never before have Charlie Rich's Sun recordings been examined in such depth. Most reissues have taken a Greatest Hits approach, focussing on Lonely Weekends and half a dozen single releases and cuts from his lone Sun LP. In fact, Charlie's catalogue is much deeper. He recorded over a hundred titles for Sun. Many were carefully produced masters; others were rough publishing demos. Almost all were compelling.

We have divided Charlie's music into three categories. The first CD presents every title originally issued on the Phillips International label as a single or on an LP. Note that these tracks are not necessarily carbon copies of the originals. In some cases, we have remixed the original master tapes into stereo, although the original 45s were reduced to mono. In some cases, we have removed the choral or string overdubs that marred the original releases. For the first time you can hear Charlie's performance as it actually sounded in the studio before the producers started painting the proverbial mustache on the Mona Lisa.

The second CD contains a combination of finished studio performances that were overlooked by Sun - for whatever reason - during Charlie's five year stay with the label beginning in 1958. Many of these titles first surfaced only after Shelby Singleton bought the original Sun masters and began issuing LPs during the late 1960s/early '70s. Other titles - so called ‘deeper catalogue’ - appeared during the peak period of Sun archaeology prompted by British and European record collectors in the 1970s. But there are still some surprises here. We have managed to find titles that escaped all this scrutiny. In addition, this CD contains alternate takes of familiar titles that will surprise even hardcore Sun and Charlie Rich fans.

The third CD contains Charlie's demos. Some have been issued before, although many exist only on rare or out-of-print LPs. Others appear here for the first time. These demos are undoubtedly the least polished recordings but, in many ways, his most rewarding. Bear in mind that none of them was ever intended for release. This is a very special glimpse into the development of Charlie's music. Some of it would probably have embarrassed him. During his earliest period Charlie was almost always searching musically. He was taking chances, playing in styles that were alien to him. Some of these experiments were surprisingly successful. Others were expendable failures. Some were abandoned, nearly on the spot. Others gave rise to patterns, songs, even instrumental riffs that would surface later in his career.

Most of the facts of Charlie's life have already been documented. Some of this material is worth re-examining, especially in the context of his Sun days. Perhaps most interesting are the memories of and reactions to Charlie by the persons closest to him during the Sun years and immediately thereafter. Many of these words about Charlie have not been publicly shared before and their speakers welcomed the opportunity to do so. Charlie Rich provoked deep reactions in those around him. Both his music and his personality stirred indelible memories. Nearly 40 years later, these impressions remained vivid to colleagues like guitarist Roland Janes, drummer J. M. Van Eaton, saxman Martin Willis, vocalist Barbara Pittman, and drummer/manager Harold Murchison. Here, pieced together with reminiscences by his widow Margaret Ann, is Charlie Rich's story.



Despite his affinity for the blues, it would be sheer fantasy to claim that Charlie Rich grew up dirt poor in the rural South, scuffling for his next meal or a warm bed to sleep in. Such tales of rural poverty may not be far removed from the lives of Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley, but they bear little similarity to Rich's background. Rich was born on December 16, 1932 in Forrest City, Arkansas. There probably weren't many affluent people living in Forrest City during the Great Depression, so the Riches' economic circumstances were hardly exceptional. By the 1940s, the family's finances had stabilized and they settled in Colt, Arkansas (population 312).

Charlie Rich The Sun Years, 1958-62 (3-CD)
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Copyright © Bear Family Records

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