My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review: Charley Pride – ‘Songs of Pride, Charley That Is’

Songs of Pride, Charley That Is was Charley Pride’s second LP of 1968. Boasting no fewer than four producers — Chet Atkins, Jack Clement, Bob Ferguson, and Felton Jarvis — it featured his highest charting hit to date, the #2 peaking hit “The Easy Part’s Over”, which was written by Jerry Foster and Bill Rice.

There weren’t any other singles released from the collection, but there were a few that could have been worthy contenders. Among them was “She Made Me Go”, another Foster-Rice composition, which casts Charley in the role of a spurned spouse is assumed to be the party at fault for the breakup of his marriage. “The Right To Do Wrong” written by Fred Foster, the legendary founder of Monument Records, is another that could have been commercially successful on its own. My personal favorite is the upbeat “I Could Have Saved You The Time”, written by Jack Clement.

The album’s second half is equally strong, with a number of steel-drenched songs that won me over immediately, from Red Lane’s “Both of Us Love You” and Vincent Matthews’ “One Of These Days” (not the same song as Emmylou Harris’ 1976 hit). The Mel Tillis and Wayne Walker number “All The Time” is a bit schmaltzy, and the album opener “Someday You Will” (another Jerry Foster/Bill Rice effort) is a bit pedestrian but those are the album’s only two week links. The production is firmly traditional, with plenty of pedal steel and it is not as dependent on vocal choruses as many other recordings of the day.

Grade: A-

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One response to “Album Review: Charley Pride – ‘Songs of Pride, Charley That Is’

  1. Ken July 17, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    If there was one common thread throughout Charley Pride’s first four albums it was consistency. All contained songs that perfectly fit Charley’s sound and style and the production was unquestionably country. No effort was made to position Charley as anything but a mainstream country singer. That winning formula was again applied to his fifth album.

    With one exception all of the songs on this album were recorded in early 1968 during two January sessions and two more in April. The oldest song in this collection was from the final session for Charley’s previous album “Make Mine Country” in October 1967. “All The Time” was written a decade earlier by Wayne Walker and Mel Tillis. Kitty Wells’ Decca version charted at #18 in early 1959 as the B side of her top five hit “Mommy For A Day.” Jack Greene revived the song in 1967 with huge success. His single spent five weeks at #1 during the early summer and Billboard’s year-end survey ranked it as the #1 record for 1967. A full year had passed by the time Charley’s version was released in September 1968.

    Although multiple producers are credited for this album Jack Clement was the primary in-studio producer. Clement co-owned a publishing company that signed two young songwriters in 1961 – Jerry Foster and Bill Rice. One of their songs was recorded as the B side of a 1963 pop single by Johnny Preston. Charley recorded a country arrangement of that song in 1967 for his third album. Released as a single “The Day The World stood Still” climbed to #4 in early 1968. Three more Foster & Rice tracks were selected for the “Songs Of Pride” LP including the single release “The Easy Part’s Over.” That song became Charley’s highest ranking single yet when it peaked at #2 for two weeks during the summer of ’68. [That record was unable to dislodge Tammy Wynette’s “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” from #1] Foster & Rice credit Charley with launching their songwriting success with those two records.

    Aside from the single my three favorite songs on that LP come from a January 1968 session. By the late 1960’s honky-tonk shuffle songs were becoming rare as the trend toward “The Nashville Sound” was smoothing out the harder country edges. Apparently no one told Jack Clement because that entire session went full retro. Foster & Rice’s “She Made Me Go” led off the set with superb fiddling by Buddy Spicher and Lloyd Green providing vibrant steel guitar fills. The ballad “The Day You Stop Loving Me” was next with Green front and center. The session concluded with Junior Huskey walkin’ the bass on another outstanding shuffle “The Right To Do Wrong.”

    At the time this album was released Tompall & The Glaser Brothers MGM single “One Of These Days” was on the country charts. Their excellent version peaked at #36. Charley probably became familiar with the song through Jack Clement who produced the Glaser’s recording just two days after Charley’s session. Hard to beat the Glaser’s superb harmonies but Charley does a great job on this ballad expressing optimism for the future.

    “The Top Of The World” is not the familiar Carpenters/Lynn Anderson song but a completely different tune. A single release by Charley’s RCA Victor label mate Stu Phillips charted during the summer of ’68. His record only climbed to #53. Charley’s rendition is also excellent.

    Score another A+ album from Charley

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