Prior to 2000, when Sundazed assembled the wonderful and revelatory compilation Country Pickin': The Don Rich Anthology, Don Rich could claim only one album to his name: That Fiddlin' Man, an album that came and went in 1971. Omnivore reissued that LP in 2013, beginning a streak of Rich records that fattened his catalog. Guitar Pickin' Man is the first strict Rich compilation Omnivore has put out -- 2013's Sings George Jones was a scrapped 1970 album -- and it's a good one, selecting Rich-fronted tracks from Buck Owens & His Buckaroos albums from the '60s, along with highlights from LPs released by the Buckaroos on their own. Only the title track, recorded for Hee Haw in 1972, is unreleased, so this isn't especially enticing for anybody who has diligently collected Owens reissues (particularly the three big Bear Family boxes that have appeared over the years), but this is still a snappy, fun collection that spotlights Rich the performer over Rich the picker. If you want six-string theatrics, dig out the Sundazed set. This offers cheerful streamlined Bakersfield country -- a warmer, sweeter version of Buck Owens, and that's enough.
Guitar Pickin' Man Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine