Charlie Rich, The Complete Sun Recordings: Solo Sides

John Morthland

By John Morthland

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Demos provide a peek inside the musical mind of Sun’s greatest songwriter

Remember, Charlie Rich was a Sun staff songwriter for some time before he began making his own records in the late '50s, so he cut plenty of demos. This set is mostly demos along with some late-night messarounds. Rich always resented that private recordings like his mocking deconstruction of "Blue Suede Shoes" and his drooling "Juicehead Baby" ever found their way to the public but just the same, it's hard not to like them for the way each reflects on his sensibility. "There's Something You Should Know," meanwhile, is a wonderful demo, bluesy/loungey like the best Sinatra material. "Ain't It a Shame" (not the Fats Domino hit) is a mellow midnight blues in the Charles Brown vein. The first version of "Graveyardville" has a nervous quality that evokes that old expression "whistling past the graveyard" (the second version, which is actually not solo as he's joined by a drummer, is positively arctic by comparison). And "Little Woman Friend of Mine" has an intro that draws you in a little at a time; then the song bursts into a full-bore rocker. A caveat: do not confuse this "Everyday" with the song of the same name that appears on eMusic's second volume of Rich band sides. They're two different tunes with the same title.