Amer­i­cana

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Polly Coufos

Feel Like Go­ing Home: The Songs of Char­lie Rich Var­i­ous artists Mem­phis In­ter­na­tional/ Planet Through the years Char­lie Rich at­tracted many big-name fans. Bob Dy­lan, Bruce Spring­steen, Elvis Costello, Tom Petty and Tom Waits have all ex­pressed their fond­ness for the ver­sa­tile singer and songwriter, but none is any­where to be found on this lov­ing trib­ute to the songs of the Sil­ver Fox. Mi­nus mas­sive star power, this hum­ble cel­e­bra­tion is al­most ex­clu­sively a salute to his time un­der the tute­lage of Sam Phillips. Recorded in the same Mem­phis stu­dio that Rich toiled in decades be­fore, pro­ducer-guitarist Michael Di­nallo cre­ates a driv­ing sound that’s not big on fi­nesse yet still cap­tures the majesty of Rich’s blos­som­ing song­writ­ing tal­ent. Given that most of the orig­i­nal record­ings are per­fect pe­riod pieces, the 13 vo­cal­ists faced the un­en­vi­able task of try­ing to show some­thing of them­selves with­out stand­ing in com­pe­ti­tion. Rich’s stock in trade was a mis­ery and melan­choly that matched Hank Wil­liams’s. In putting their stamp on the ma­te­rial, Su­san Mar­shall ( Time and Again) and Johnny Hoy ( Don’t Put No Head­stone on My Grave) give wellinten­tioned but over­wrought per­for­mances. Ev­ery­one else holds some­thing back and lets the songs do the heavy lift­ing. Char­lie Rich Jr re­vis­its rock­a­billy thumper Break Up with as much vigour as his fa­ther did more than 40 years ago. He is also heard on Holli Mosley’s pas­sion­ate take on Who Will the Next Fool Be? Will Kim­brough rumbles through Sit­tin’ And Thinkin’ with thick gui­tars re­plac­ing Rich’s piano licks. Jim Laud­erdale and Shooter Jen­nings make a great racket on Lonely Week­ends and Re­bound, re­spec­tively, while lesser-known de­lights Mid­night Blues and Easy Money show just how much qual­ity ma­te­rial there is in his catalogue.

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