Though all 27 of these tracks did indeed chart as singles between 1968 and 1979, a little clarification is in order. The half-dozen songs released on RCA were actually recorded
over a year-and-a-half period starting in 1963, and issued as 45s in the '70s to retroactively capitalize on Rich
's superstardom during that decade. So it's not a retrospective of a continuous decade-or-so period; it's mostly a collection of Epic chart singles from the late '60s to the late '70s, with a few considerably earlier RCA recordings thrown in, not including anything from his mid-'60s stints with Smash and Hi. That noted, what we have here is something close to a greatest-hits anthology focusing on his most commercially successful era, with the very crucial omissions of anything from his stints with Sun (including "Lonely Weekends") or Smash (which included "Mohair Sam"). The cynical critics' view is that the Epic recordings marked the point at which his music, with some exceptions, took a notable turn for the more middle of the road and overproduced, and, uncoincidentally, the juncture at which he reached his widest audience. That's a harsh assessment, but one which has a lot of truth to it, as his recordings for other labels were usually both earthier and better. Nonetheless, this does include the hits for which Rich
is most famous to the average person on the street, among them "Behind Closed Doors," "The Most Beautiful Girl," "A Very Special Love Song," and "I Love My Friend." A good share of these songs that didn't cross over to the pop charts in a big way were huge country sellers, like the number one, 1977 title track. For the sniping critics, it also has some of his most critically (if not commercially) successful outings from the period, particularly 1969's downcast ballad "Life's Little Ups and Downs" and the 1971 Dan Penn
composition "A Woman Left Lonely." Much of the rest will not endure among his most vital work, and his own compositions are underrepresented, though the melodramatic, even operatic 1979 single "Spanish Eyes" is quite affecting, if quite far away from country even in its most pop-oriented form.