Behind Closed Doors

Charlie Rich

Epic / Legacy Records, 1973

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I remember when I was a child back in the '70s how popular Charlie Rich was. If Elvis Presley ever had stuck with pure country music, he may have sounded like Rich. Songs like "Behind Closed Doors" and "The Most Beautiful Girl" became radio staples, and Rich enjoyed, albeit briefly, the sweet taste of success. But his last top ten hit came in 1979, and he never again enjoyed the same kind of fame until his death in 1995.

Behind Closed Doors, the 1973 album which made Rich a household name, has recently been re-issued with four bonus tracks. While Rich's voice is something which takes a little getting used to, one can hear the seeds being planted for such artists as Garth Brooks in Rich's country-fried pop. And while this album does show a layer or two of dust on it, the disc does rightfully show that Rich earned the fame he enjoyed back then.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

I will admit this much: after hearing "Behind Closed Doors" for the first time in well over a decade, I didn't really understand why people flocked to this song. Maybe it was because of the suggestive nature of the track, something that didn't really dominate the airwaves in 1973. Maybe it was the way the song crossed over the strict borders of country and looked at the pop world - something that Rich would further do with "The Most Beautiful Girl". (Considering that, isn't it ironic that Rich reacted so harshly at the CMA Awards in 1975 when, instead of announcing John Denver as a winner, he set the certificate on fire?)

As much as the song is a retro nugget of times long gone, "The Most Beautiful Girl" is still a very pretty song, and it does show off Rich's vocal skills quite well. There's a reason why this track topped the charts, and it's still a valid reason today: it's a well-written, well-performed song.

While many other tracks on Behind Closed Doors don't get the same kind of attention, there are songs included within that are worth taking a close listen to. Songs such as "'Til I Can't Take It Anymore," "Nothing In The World (To Do With Me)" and "We Love Each Other" are just as enjoyable, while it takes a little time to warm up to others like "If You Wouldn't Be My Lady" and "A Sunday Kind Of Woman".

The expanded edition of this album makes it worth all of the trouble. Tracks like "Mama, Take Me Home" and "Papa Was A Good Man" (two of three taken from the 1972 release We Love Each Other) are wonderful additions, capturing a vein of country heartbreak that many people might be more used to. The remaining two tracks, "Ruby, You're Warm" and "I've Got Mine," are decent, but not quite as endearing.

Of all the albums Rich recorded in his lifetime, Behind Closed Doors might be the best-remembered. While parts of this album have not held up as well due to the passage of time, there's still plenty to get excited about today, and should remind people (especially those who were there the first time that Rich hit it big) what made him a legend in the world of country music.

Rating: B

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© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Epic / Legacy Records, and is used for informational purposes only.