The Fabulous Charlie Rich follows the same formula as its predecessor, Set Me Free, but to more successful results. For starters, the record has a more consistent set of material -- these are songs that Rich can really sink his teeth into, as evidenced by the beautiful, melancholy "Life's Little Ups and Downs" (written by his wife, Margaret Ann) and his own "Sittin' and Thinkin'." Furthermore, the core of each song -- from the bluesy "July 12, 1939" and "Bright Lights, Big City" (which is done essentially as a Jimmy Reed medley, performed in the style of Ray Charles) to the soulful "I Almost Lost My Mind" and the country-pop stylings of "San Francisco Is a Lonely Town" and "Love Waits for Me" -- is more apparent, thanks to Billy Sherrill's relatively trimmed-down production. There are still strings, vocal choruses, and horns throughout the album, but Sherrill has incorporated them into Rich's style more effectively. Occasionally, there is a fairly uninspired number, but The Fabulous Charlie Rich does capture the eclectic nature of Rich's music better than the great majority of his albums, even if the sumptuous production will make it less palatable for country purists.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine