Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Rich’

‘Who’

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

After a couple of previews six months ago, we finally get around to beginning the project called Journalism 101. Today, we’ll be sorting the 95,000 tracks in the RealPlayer for titles that contain the word “who,” the first of the five W’s of reporting. (I doubt this needs stating, but those W’s are who, what, when, where, and why. And we’ll include “how” in the project as well.)

That sorting brings us 740 tracks, twenty-six more than we found when we announced the idea back in February. As is usual when we do these types of searches, many of the tracks aren’t suitable for our purposes. Tracks from the Who, the Guess Who, a late Seventies group called 100% Whole Wheat, the novelty project Dylan Hears A Who, and more go by the wayside, as do some albums, including Kate Rusby’s 2005 effort The Girl Who Couldn’t Fly and the Warner Brothers loss leader from 1972, The Whole Burbank Catalog. We also have to discard eighty-one tracks with the word “who’s” in the title and four tracks with titles that carry the word “whoever” (I thought there’d be more). But we still have enough to find four worthy titles.

Given the alphabetical nature of the player’s search, the first track that shows up is “Who To Believe” by the Allman Brothers Band. It’s from the 2003 album, Hittin’ The Note, which turned out to be the group’s last studio release. It’s also the first album not to include guitarist Dicky Betts (and the first to include guitarist Derek Trucks). I’ve had the CD since not long after it came out, but I’ve not listened to it very often, which is too bad. Many of the pieces I’ve read since the recent death of Gregg Allman said that Hittin’ The Note was good work, and “Who To Believe” sounds very much as if it could have been recorded in 1970.

The digital shelves here hold six versions of “Who Will The Next Fool Be,” ranging from the original 1961 release by Charlie Rich (who wrote the song) to versions from 1975 by the Amazing Rhythm Aces and from 2003 by Janiva Magness. Those are only a taste of the number of times that very good song has been recorded, of course. The website Second Hand Songs lists forty-five versions (though there are likely more), with the most recent being a 2013 take on the song by jazz singer Tina Ferris. And though the bluesy versions by Bland and Magness call to me this morning, I think I’ll stick with the song’s country roots and offer Rich’s original version.

Then we come to the melodramatic “I (Who Have Nothing),” which comes up twice in our listings: the 1963 version by Ben E. King and a 1972 cover by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway. King’s release was the first English recording of the song, and it went to No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100, to No. 16 in the magazine’s R&B chart, and to No. 10 on what is now called the Adult Contemporary chart. Based on the information at Second Hand Songs, the tune was first recorded in Italian in 1961 by Joe Sentieri; the English lyrics are credited to songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. I’m a little surprised that I don’t have more versions of the tune in the stacks, especially the 1970 version by Tom Jones, which went to No. 14 on the Hot 100 (as well as to No. 2 on the AC chart). I could go wandering for other versions as well, but we’ll stick with King’s version of “I (Who Have Nothing)” this morning.

And what would a trek through the digital shelves here be without some 1960s easy listening combined with a theme from a spy movie? I have four versions on the shelves of the theme from The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, the 1965 movie based on the novel by John le Carré. I think I saw the movie when it came out. (That would have been on one of those Saturday nights out with my dad that remain a bit puzzling, as I wrote a few years ago.) Oddly, Sol Kaplan’s moody soundtrack is not on the shelves here, an absence that needs to be corrected. But the four versions I have of the disquieting theme are all pretty good (with that assessment coming, of course, from one who loves spy themes and mid-1960s easy listening), with the sources being the well-known trio of Billy Strange, Roland Shaw and Hugo Montenegro as well as the blandly named Jazz All-Stars. That last is a group of what I assume was studio musicians; they’re identified at Discogs as Bobby Crowe, Ernie Royal, J.J. Johnson, Joe Newman, Johnny Knapp, Larry Charles, Milt Hinton, Mundell Lowe and Sy Saltzberg, though I do not think all of those men played on the version of the theme I have. That version was included on Thunderball & Other Secret Agent Themes, a 1965 album on the Design label that came to me during my James Bond obsession.

‘One Day I Awoke . . .’

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Last Saturday, after I shared Ella Washington’s cover of “He Called Me Baby” as a Saturday Single, a reader named Larry provided a link to Candi Staton’s superb cover of the Harlan Howard song, which Staton recorded at Rick Hall’s Fame studios in Muscle Shoals. I’d heard it before, but it never hurts at all to hear it again. In 1971, it went to No. 52 on the Billboard Hot 100 and to No. 9 on the R&B chart.

That might be the definitive version of the song; its country roots are clearly audible beneath the R&B. The opposite – R&B audible beneath the country – is what I hear when I listen to the Harlan Howard original, which Second Hand Songs says was released in September 1961. In 1963, Bobby Bare did an up-tempo version of the song, and Skeeter Davis and Patsy Cline covered it as well; Cline’s version went to No. 23 on the country chart a year later, after her death.

Two other versions made the country Top 40: Carl Smith had one of his sixty-nine hits on the country Top 40 when his cover of “She Called Me Baby” went to No. 32 in 1965, and Charlie Rich’s cover went to No. 1 on the country chart and to No. 47 on the pop chart in 1974:

There are a few other covers listed at Second Hand Songs and a few more listed as well in the catalog at Amazon: Ernest Tubb, Ferlin Husky, Billy Swann, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Waylon Jennings, Glenn Campbell, Nancy Wilson and Jessi Colter are the names I recognize; there are many I don’t recognize, which tells me the song continues to be vital.

As usual, when I look at covers, this is in no way a comprehensive listing; these are the versions I either already had in my mp3 files or found by stumbling through a few websites. And we’ll close today with a version I found during that stumbling: Jeannie Newman’s 1967 cover on the Memphis-based Goldwax label. I’ve read that Newman was about the closest to a country artist that R&B-centered Goldwax had on its roster, and her take on “He Called Me Baby” tends to support that.

Lesley, Paul, Charlie, Jackson & David

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

July muddles along. It’s been a quiet month, one perfect for gardening, reading and digging into some newly acquired music. Perhaps the most fun of those has been digging into box sets of the music of Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters, both of which arrived in June; their sheer size has made absorbing them lengthy processes.

The easiest of the new musical arrivals to process was an anthology that’s part of a series on the Hip-O label: No. 1’s, ’60s Pop. None of the twenty tracks on the disc is very rare; they range from Little Eva’s 1962 hit, “The Loco-Motion” to “In the Year 2525,” the Zager & Evans hit from 1969. What the CD’s arrival did allow me to do was to rip new files of many of its tracks at a better bitrate than I’d previously had. One of those was Lesley Gore’s anthem, “It’s My Party,” which was still on the charts on this date in 1963, sitting at No. 27, on its way down the chart after peaking for two weeks at No. 1. (Interestingly enough, her own answer record, “Judy’s Turn To Cry” was sitting at No. 11.)

And here’s a television appearance of Gore lip-synching to “It’s My Party.” It’s evidently from the episode of the syndicated music program Hollywood A Go Go recorded on December 25, 1965. (Others on that episode were the Association, the Dixie Cups, Bobby Freeman, Donna Loren, Simon & Garfunkel and the Sunrays.)

So what other records were at No. 27 on this date over the years?

In 1968, it was “Don’t Take It So Hard” by Paul Revere & The Raiders. This was the record’s peak; it stayed at No. 27 for one more week and then began to drop down the charts. I can’t show the video here, but here’s the link to the page at YouTube.

On this date in 1973, the No. 27 record was “Behind Closed Doors” by Charlie Rich. A week earlier the record had peaked at No. 15. Later in the year, Rich would have his biggest hit when “The Most Beautiful Girl” was No. 1 for two weeks and topped both the country and adult contemporary charts for three weeks.

Five years later, a two-sided single from Jackson Browne’s live album, Running On Empty was in spot No. 27 on the Billboard chart. “Stay/The Load-Out” would peak two weeks later at No. 20, where it spent two weeks before tumbling back down the chart. I don’t have the edited single, nor can I find a video of it, but here’s a live version of “The Load-Out/Stay” from a 1978 performance in Shepherds Bush Theatre at the BBC Television Centre in London.

Jumping ahead yet another five years, we find the seventh Top 40 hit for the enigmatic David Bowie at No. 27. “China Girl” would peak at No. 10 during the last week of August 1983.

And there, we’ll call a halt to this morning’s exercise. The No. 27 record on this day in 1988 was Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car,” which we’ve talked about here before, and – this morning, at least – I’m not interested in pushing on into the ’90s. I’ll be back in two days with a Saturday Single.