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Rich, Charlie

Subject: Re: Dylan/Charlie Rich
From: Peter Stone Brown 
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2000 10:08:35 -0500

Anthony Frazer wrote:

> I've been really getting into a lot of Charlie Rich lately. On the back
> of one of the albums I've been listening to I found the following quote:
> " Bob Dylan has said more than once that Charlie Rich is one of his
> favourites - both as a songwriter and as a musician."
> Can anyone shed any light on this? Did Dylan actually make comments to
> this effect?

Absolutely.  He mentioned Rich quite possibly in the '69 Rolling Stone
inteview with Jann Wenner.  I just tried to look it up but the version in
the "Rolling Stone Interviews" book is cut.  But it was quite possibly
before then, in fact as early as '66.  Of course Rich, though not that well
known had been around since the '50s, occasionally scoring hits such as
"Mohair Sam," until he finally broke big in the '70s with "Behind Closed
Doors" and "Most Beautiful Girl."   Unfortunately, "Most Beautiful Girl,"
probably his biggest hit was not representative of what he really did.  He
was an incredibly tough, funky singer, though he could also be very smooth,
but he was much more into R&B and jazz than his Nashville recordings
revealed.  He was also a brilliant piano player.  Check out his early stuff
on Sun and especially if you can find it, "The Complete Smash Sessions" on
Polygram.  For his '70s stuff on Epic (the big hits) produced by Billy
Sherril, the best album (actually before he broke big) is "The Best of
Charlie Rich,"  with the fairly intense "July the 12th 1939."  Rich's final
recording "Pictures and Paintings" on Sire was probably the album he always
wanted to make, a jazz and gospel-based album that made no concessions to
any music biz trend.

I've always felt that "Nashville Skyline" in both Dylan's voice and in songs
such as "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You" and "Lay Lady Lay" were
heavily influenced by Charlie Rich.  Of course the 1960 "Karen Wallace"
tapes show that Dylan sang in that voice much earlier.

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