CHARLEY PRIDE-THE HAPPINESS OF HAVING YOU/SUNDAY MORNING WITH CHARLEY PRIDE/SHE’S JUST AN OLD LOVE TURNED MEMORY/SOMEONE LOVES YOU HONEY.

CHARLEY PRIDE-THE HAPPINESS OF HAVING YOU/SUNDAY MORNING WITH CHARLEY PRIDE/SHE’S JUST AN OLD LOVE TURNED MEMORY/SOMEONE LOVES YOU HONEY.

When Charley Pride released his debut album Country in April 1966, it reached number sixteen in the US Billboard Country charts, and was certified gold. This was the start of a six year period when Charley Pride was one of the most successful successful country artists.

Between 1966 and 1972, Charley Pride released a total of eighteen albums. Fifteen reached the top ten in the US Billboard Country charts; ten reached number one; and eleven were certified gold. Charley Pride it seemed could do no wrong.

And so it seemed. When Charley Pride released Sweet Country in April 1973, it reached number three in the US Billboard Country charts and 166 in the US Billboard 200. Sweet Country became Charley Pride’s least successful album in the US Billboard 200 since Songs of Pride…Charley That Is in September 1968. It had failed to chart. However, after that, Charley Pride’s album were entered the US Billboard 200 and found an audience outside of country music. Maybe Sweet Country was a blip?

When Amazing Love was released in October 1973, the album gave Charley Pride another number one on US Billboard Country charts. This was twelfth number one of Charley Pride’s career. However, the album failed to chart in the US Billboard 200. This was hugely disappointing. So was that Charley Pride had released another album, and still there was no sign of another  gold disc.

The last gold disc Charley Pride received for a studio album came for Charley Pride Sings Heart Songs, which had been released in October 1971. Since then, only The Best of Charley Pride Volume 2, which was released in 1972, had been certified gold. While that was only two years ago, Charley Pride must have been worried. After all, he was no longer selling the same amount of albums. The problem was, nowadays, most of Charley Pride’s audience were country music fans. Previously, his music had crossed-over, and found an audience within mainstream music. Maybe this would change?

When Charley Pride returned with a new album in May 1974, Country Feelin’ stalled at number fifteen in the US Billboard Country charts. This was Charley Pride’s least successful album since The Pride of Country Music in June 1967. To make matters worse, Country Feelin’ became Charley Pride’s second consecutive album not to trouble the US Billboard 200. However, the Charley Pride bubble hadn’t burst. 

We Could was chosen as a single from Country Feelin’. It reached number three in the US Billboard Country charts, and reached number one in the Canadian Country charts. This was a small crumb of comfort for Charley Pride and everyone at RCA Victor.

Six months later, Charley Pride bounced back with Pride Of America. It was released in November 1974, and reached number five on the US Billboard Country charts. This was an improvement on Country Feelin’. However, Pride Of America was the consecutive Charley Pride album that failed to enter the US Billboard 200. The frustrating thing for Charley Pride was, that the quality of his music deserved a much wider audience.

Charley Pride’s next album, Charley, was released in May 1975. It reached number five in the US Billboard Country charts. For Charley Pride it was one step forward, and one step back. Charley hadn’t quite matched the success of its predecessor Pride Of America. Still Charley Pride was no closer to reconquering the US Billboard 200. However, still Charley Pride was one of the biggest names in country music, and for the last nine years, a stalwart of US Billboard Country charts. Nineteen of Charley Pride’s twenty-three albums had reached the top ten. Charley Pride was country music royalty. He had come a long way from when he worked in the smelter. This drove Charley Pride on, and he was determined to stay at the top of the country music tree.

This wasn’t easy. By 1975, the competition in was fierce, and new artists were beginning to make their presence felt. Artists like Charley Pride were having to raise their game over the next few years. During the period 1975 and 1978, Charley Pride released three country albums and a gospel album. They’re being reissued by BGO Records on two discs on 18th March 2016. This quartet of albums are: The Happiness Of Having You, Sunday Morning With Charley Pride, She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory and Someone Loves You Honey. They find Charley Pride as he try to recapture the commercial success he enjoyed between 1966 and 1972.

The Happiness of Having You.

Just six months would pass between the release of Charley in May 1975, and The Happiness Of Having You in November 1975. This wasn’t unusual, as Charley Pride averaged at just over two albums a year. By the time Charley Pride began to begin work on what became The Happiness of Having You, he was working with one of country music’s most successful producers, Jerry Bradley.  Charley Pride was just one of the artists Jerry Bradley worked with. They would record ten songs that became The Happiness of Having You.

Charley Pride and producer Jerry Bradley had cherry picked some quality songs for The Happiness of Having You. The title-track and album opener was written by Ted Harris; while The songwriting team of  Mack Vickery and Bobby Borchers cowrote I Can’t Keep My Hands Of You. Other tracks included Kenny O’Deil’s Everything I Am and Jimmy Payne and Naomi Martin’s My Eyes Can Only See As Far As You. Kris Kristofferson’s classic Help Me Make It Through The Night; Jim Owen’s I’ve Got A Woman To Lean On and Johnny Duncan’s Right Back Missing You Again. Along with Shirley Ann Worth’s Everything She Touches Turns To Love and Ben Peters’ Signs Of Love. Shirley Ann Worth, on paper, The Happiness of Having You looked an album that should ooze quality.

As usual, at RCA’s Nashville Sound Studio was chosen for the recording of The Happiness of Having You. Some of Nashville’s top musicians accompanied Charley Pride, and the recording went smoothly. So six months after the release of Charley, RCA Victor were getting ready to release The Happiness of Having You.

Reviews of The Happiness of Having You were mostly positive. Critics complimented Charley Pride on the quality and diversity of the material. The songs were well produced by Jerry Bradley,  who was now one of Nashville’s top producers. He was no longer standing in his father’s shadow. Jerry Bradley had earned his stripes, and was determined to help Charley Pride to get back to the days when number one albums and gold discs were commonplace.

When The Happiness of Having You was released in November 1975, the album reached number two on the US Billboard Country charts. This made The Happiness of Having You Charley Pride’s most successful album since Amazing Love in October 1973. Was Charley Pride on the way back.

He certainly was. When The Happiness Of Having You was released as a single, it reached number three in the US Billboard Country charts, and number one on the Canadian Country charts. My Eyes Can Only See As Far As You was chosen as the followup, and reached number one in American and Canadian country charts. It looked like Charley Pride was back?

Charley Pride’s judicious choice of songs for The Happiness Of Having You had paid off. The Happiness Of Having You, an uptempo, joyous paean whetted listener’s appetite; before I Can’t Keep My Hands Off Of You is a tale of hurt, betrayal and unrequited love. Ballads like My Eyes Can Only See As Far As You epitomises the mid-seventies country, and come to life in Charley Pride’s hands. So does Kris Kristofferson’s oft-covered Help Me Make It Through The Night and Everything She Touches Turns To Love. They’re two of the highlights of The Happiness Of Having You. By the time the wistful Signs Of Love closes The Happiness Of Having You, it’s obvious that it’s one of the best albums Charley Pride has released in recent years. It’s no wonder Charley Pride was riding high in the charts, and had just enjoyed two hit singles. However, could Charley Pride build on The Happiness Of Having You.

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Sunday Morning With Charley Pride.

Most people would’ve had expected Charley Pride to followup The Happiness Of Having You with a similar album. Charley Pride had a different idea, and decided to release another gospel album, Sunday Morning With Charley Pride. This was a risky strategy, and was an easy way to alienate record buyers. However, it was something Charley Pride believed in, and was determined to do.

At RCA Victor, executives must have had mixed feelings. They must have wondered why Charley Pride had decided to release his second gospel album after his most successful album in two years? However, Charley Pride’s last gospel album, Did You Think To Pray had reached number one on the US Billboard Country charts and seventy-six on the US Billboard 200. So maybe, Sunday Morning With Charley Pride would see the success Charley Pride was enjoying continue?

Unlike The Happiness Of Having You, Sunday Morning With Charley Pride didn’t feature songs by the creme de la creme of songwriting. Instead, Charley Pride chose songs by some lesser known names. After all, many of the songwriters whose songs featured on The Happiness Of Having You, were secular, not gospel or religious songwriters. So with ten songs by some lesser known names, Charley Pride headed to RCA’s Nashville Sound Studio.

At Nashville Sound Studio, some of Nashville’s top session players and producer Jerry Bradley awaited Charley Pride. As Charley Pride delivers a series heartfelt, impassioned vocals, his band provide a backdrop to songs that are moving, spiritual and often, beautiful. He’s The Man, Without Mama Here, Next Year Finally Came and He Took My Place were without doubt, the standout tracks as Charley Pride showcased his versatility on Sunday Morning With Charley Pride. However, what would critics think?

In America, critics were used to country artists releasing gospel albums. Sunday Morning With Charley Pride received a fair hearing, and garnered mainly, positive reviews. It was a moving, heartfelt album, and a project that Charley Pride believed in, and wanted to do. The problem was, who many people would buy Sunday Morning With Charley Pride?

When Sunday Morning With Charley Pride was released later in 1975, the album stalled at just fourteen in the US Billboard Country charts. Again, it was one step forward, one step back for Charley Pride. His next album was going be hugely important. 

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She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory.

After the release of Sunday Morning With Charley Pride, it was over a year before Charley Pride released a studio album. His only solo album released during 1976 was The Best Of Charley Pride Volume 3. It reached number three in the US Billboard Country charts, and 188 in the US Billboard 200. Meanwhile, the album was certified four times platinum in Canada. For Charley Pride, this was a huge boost to his confidence.

After the success of The Best Of Charley Pride Volume 3, Charley Pride’s thought’s turned to his next studio album. For She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory, Charley Pride would rely on some of the top songwriters. 

This included John Schweers, who contributed She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory and The Rose Is For Today. Singer-song-writer George Weiss had written Rhinestone Cowboy, which featured on his 1974 album Black and Blue Suite. Charley Pride spotted the potential in the song. It would feature on She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory. So would Elijah Lee Fry’s The Hunger; Ben Peters’ A Whole Lotta Things To Sing About an Mac Davis I Feel The Country Callin’ Me. I’ll Be Leaving Alone was written by Dickie Lee and Waylard Holyfield; while the David-Dussia songwriting partnership contributed We Need Lovin’ and Get Up Off Your Good Intentions. Along with a cover of Country Music, these songs would become She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory.

Recording of She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory took place atRCA’s Nashville Sound Studio. Some of Nashville’s top musicians accompanied Charley Pride, who co-produced the album with Jerry Bradley. Charley Pride it seemed, was keen to add a new string to his bow. Unlike other country artists, he wasn’t known as a songwriter, and up until then, didn’t produce his own albums. In Jerry Bradley, Charley Pride had the perfect teacher. Their first lesson took place on She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory.

The release of She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory was schedule for March 1977. By then, critics had given the album positive reviews. Again, they remarked upon what was a judicious choice of songs. Charley Pride it seemed had picked songs that were tailor made for him. This included Rhinestone Cowboy, where Charley Pride seems to live the lyrics. Along song that drew praise from critics was I Feel The Country Callin’ Me. These two tracks, critics thought, were among the highlights of She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory.

On its release, She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory reached number six in the US Billboard Country charts. While this was an improvement on Sunday Morning With Charley Pride, the album didn’t match the success of The Happiness Of Having You. However, the singles more than made up for this. 

A Whole Lotta Things to Sing About was released in 1976, as the lead single from She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory. It reached number two in the US Billboard Country charts, and number one on the Canadian Country charts. She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory then topped the American and Canadian Country charts. So did I’ll Be Leaving Alone in early 1977. For Charley Pride, She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory was one of the most successful albums of recent years. Partly, because of his judicious choice of songs and his ability to bring lyrics to life.

Charley Pride does this throughout She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory. That was the case from the opening bars of She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory, right through to the closing notes of Get Up Off Your Good Intentions. The album is full of quality country cuts. 

This includes the trio of singles A Whole Lotta Things To Sing About; She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory and She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory, where Charley Pride’s vocal is full of hurt and heartbreak. He rolls back the years. Especially on Rhinestone Cowboy and The Hunger where his voice is full of sadness. Then I Feel The Country Callin’ Me proves to be one of the most beautiful songs on She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory. It’s if memories come flooding back for Charley Pride. He doesn’t deliver lyrics, but seems to have lived them. That’s the case on Country Music, a truly captivating ballad where the listener literally holds their breath, wondering where the song is heading? A more uptempo track is the album closer Get Up Off Your Good Intentions. It shows another side to Charley Pride and whets the listener’s appetite for his next album.

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Someone Loves You Honey.

After the success of She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory, Charley Pride returned with a a new album eleven months later, in February 1978. This was Someone Loves You Honey, which featured eleven new songs which Charley Pride hoped, would build on the success of She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory.

Just like previous albums, Charley Pride chose songs by some of his favourite songwriters for Someone Loves You Honey. Among them, were Don Devaney who contributed the title-track. John Schweers wrote I Live You and Daydreams About Night Thing and cowrote Another I Love You Kind Of Day. Ben Peters penned More To Me and I’m Never Leaving You. Other songs included Conway Twitty’s Play, Guitar, Play and Marty Robbins wrote Days Of Our Lives. The Grindelle, Gibbons and Hatch songwriting partnership returned with Heaven Watches Over Fools Like Me; while Doyle Marsh and George Renau contributed The Days Of Sand and Shovels. These songs would be recorded in the familiar surroundings of RCA Nashville Sound Studio. 

At RCA Nashville Sound Studio, Charley Pride and some f Nashville’s top session players prepared to record Someone Loves You Honey. Again, Jerry Bradley and Charley Pride co-produced the album. Charley Pride’s production debut featured three number one singles. How would Someone Loves You Honey fair?

As critics received their review copies of Someone Loves You Honey, Charley Pride held his breath. Reviews could make on album. After the success of She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory, Charley Pride wanted to build on that success. To do that, he needed positive reviews of Turned Memory Someone Loves You Honey. That’s what he got. 

Critics were won over be the almost laid-back, understated mellow sound of Someone Loves You Honey, Georgia Keeps Pulling On My Ring, I Live You and Play, Guitar, Play. With an understated sound, these songs epitomised everything that was good about country music. Another I Love You Kind Of Day and More To Me seemed to owe a debt of gratitude to country music’s past. Side one of Someone Loves You Honey seemed to pick up where She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory, left off.

Side two didn’t disappoint either. Days Of Our Lives and Daydreams About Night Things are the perfect showcase for Charley Pride’s vocal. They ease the listener into the second side. Heaven Watches Over Fools Like Me feature a rueful vocal where hurt and heartbreak are omnipresent. The Days Of Sand And Shovels finds Charley Pride’s in a reflective mood; before a heartfelt rendition of I’m Never Leaving You proves the perfect way to close Someone Loves You Honey. It was released in February 1978.

When Someone Loves You Honey was released, it reached number four on the US Billboard Country charts, and just failed to enter the US Billboard 200, when it reached 207. In Canada, Someone Loves You Honey was certified gold. Then More To Me and When Someone You Loves You Honey were released as a single, both reached number one in America and Canada. This was meant that Charley Pride had enjoyed eighteen number one single in America; and twenty-two in Canada. Twelve years after his 1966 debut album Country, Charley Pride was one of the biggest names in country music.

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While gold discs and number one albums seemed to be a thing of the past, Charley Pride was still one of the biggest selling American country artists. By 1975, the competition in was fierce, and new artists were beginning to make their presence felt in country music. Artists like Charley Pride would have to raise their game over the next few years. For a former ball player like Charley Pride, he liked nothing better than a challenge.

During the period 1975 and 1978, Charley Pride stepped up to the plate and released a trio of top quality country albums and his second gospel album. These four albums will be reissued by BGO Records on two discs on 18th March 2016. This quartet of albums are: The Happiness Of Having You, Sunday Morning With Charley Pride, She’s Just An Old Love-Turned Memory and Someone Loves You Honey. They find Charley Pride trying to recapture the commercial success he enjoyed between 1966 and 1972.

While the number albums and gold discs seemed to have dried up, Charley Pride had grown and matured as an artist. Lyrics come to life, as Charley Pride doesn’t so much sing them, but live them. His delivery is heartfelt, emotive and impassioned. It’s country music at his best. That’s not surprising, as Charley Pride is country music royalty.

Charley Pride is still, and always will be regarded as country music royalty. During a career that’s lasted six decades, he enjoyed thirty-nine number one singles on the US Billboard Country charts, and sold over seventy-million albums. Still, Charley Pride is RCA Victor’s second biggest selling artist of all time. The most successful period of Charley Pride’s career was between 1966 and 1972. However, there’s much more to Charley Pride’s career than that. This includes The Happiness Of Having You, Sunday Morning With Charley Pride, She’s Just An Old Love-Turned Memory and Someone Loves You Honey which were recently reissued as a double album by BGO Records.

CHARLEY PRIDE-THE HAPPINESS OF HAVING YOU/SUNDAY MORNING WITH CHARLEY PRIDE/SHE’S JUST AN OLD LOVE TURNED MEMORY/SOMEONE LOVES YOU HONEY.

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