Hear a sample of
"Why, Oh Why"
-courtesy of BMG Special Products.



Charlie Rich was a bluesman.

He was born in the flat, poverty-stricken cottonlands of the Arkansas delta on December 14, 1932. The same fertile landscape criss-crossed by Sonny Boy Williamson and Albert King and the towering figure of Robert Johnson, among others.

He was born in Forrest City, Arkansas, the same town that produced Al Green. A little-known fact is that Charlie and Al worked the very same land for a time.

Charlie Rich was a bluesman.

The fact that he wasn’t born poor and he wasn’t exactly born black shouldn’t stop you from believing. One of his earliest musical experiences involved a sharecropper by the name of C.J. Allen who worked the Rich family land. C.J. was a blues piano player. Charlie used to sit and watch him play for hours. Says Charlie, "He was the honky tonk piano player for the time, and, of course, there were still quite a few blues things around Memphis—the plantation was over in Arkansas, but it was only about 30 miles from Memphis."

When he had the chance, C.J. would teach Charlie basic blues piano riffs, serving as a powerful influence in Charlie’s musical development.

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