This is a great collection for anyone interested Charlie Rich's early career at Sun Records. The ardent fan may opt for Bear Records' mammoth, 90-song Complete Charlie Rich Sun Collection, but the 23 tracks on Collectables' Lonely Weekends: The Very Best of Charlie Rich also provides an effective overview of Rich's varied repertoire from the late '50s and early '60s. Rich was, in many ways, the most talented member of Sam Phillips' Sun roster, which also included "Million Dollar Quartet" icons Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash. Rich not only furnished hits for Lewis ("Breakup") and Cash ("The Ways of a Woman in Love") but also was an accomplished jazz pianist and able to demonstrate his unmatched vocal prowess on many original gospel, pop, blues, and country numbers. Rich's swinging, rockabilly hits "Lonely Weekends" and "Rebound" are included in this collection along with lesser-known gems like the solo, boogie-woogie number "Donna Lee" and his version of Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes." Other highlights include Rich's honky tonk blues "Who Will the Next Fool Be" (a minor country hit on its early-'70s re-release) and the autobiographical, alcoholic's lament "Sittin' and Thinkin'." Rich is best remembered for his later countrypolitan hits like "Behind Closed Doors," but, along with his solid sides for the Groove, Smash, and Epic labels in the '60s, the work he did for Sun should not be overlooked. Start with Lonely Weekends: The Very Best of Charlie Rich and work your way from there for a grand tour of the career of one of the unsung heroes of early rock & roll.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook