Other People’s Songs

On this page we chew the fat on other people’s songs. The selection is not random, though. These are songs you may hear us play at any given show.  For us, listening to a song is like looking at a car you find interesting. It moves you, but you don’t fully understand it until you get behind the wheel and feel how it handles. So we take songs we like a lot for a drive.

Everything I Do is Wrong – Charlie Rich

Charlie Rich recorded this song a few times during his career, the first version completed in 1959 at Sun Records. Charlie came from Arkansas, and he got his first big break in the late 1950s at Sam Philip’s legendary studio. You know the place. He was a very talented pianist, able to drift from rockabilly and country to serious jazz. He made several great, unclassifiable sides at Sun. They mixed country, rockabilly, jazz and R&B in a way that was not at all commonplace at the time. None of the records were particularly successful. Sam Philips called Charlie the most talented musician he ever worked with, but he didn’t become a star until the 1970s. By then he was performing middle of the road country music. Really great, almost easy listening stuff, but still with Charlie’s charm.

In between his time at Sun and his 1970s mega-stardom, Charlie made several records that featured some very unique blue-eyed soul records. His characteristic bop and lilt were never captured better than on these records. The clip of ‘Everything I Do is Wrong’ up there is from Sun, but the version he recorded for Smash Records in the mid-sixties is probably is one of his best cuts. It has so many of Charlie’s special touches: funny, self-deprecating lyrics that hint at deeper sadness; chromatic key modulations; a killer beat. There is no online clip of the 1965 version, but just do yourself a favour and track down The Many New Sides of Charlie Rich, the record that best represents these middle years of his career. ‘Mohair Sam’ from this record was a bit of hit for him, but he wasn’t able to build off of it. It was five more years before he found the so-called “countrypolitan” sound that would earn him fame and fortune. Charlie was sporting this sound in the late 1960s, before it became a really big thing in the early and mid 1970s. He is a very, very unsung innovator of both rock and roll and country music.