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Ray Charles: The Complete ABC Recordings 1959-1961

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Ray CharlesThe Complete ABC Recordings 1959-1961Le Chant du Monde2012At first glance, it's a mystery. Why choose 1961 as the cut-off point for a collection spanning the first years of singer/keyboardist Ray Charles' lengthy tenure with ABC-Paramount? Extend that to 1962, and even within the 3-CD confines of The Complete ABC Recordings 1959-1961 it would be possible to include the momentous Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. This was the album that gave Charles his place in the mainstream of American popular music, to achieve which he had switched to the bigger ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ray Charles: Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles

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Handsomely appointed, Concord's Singular Genius--The Complete ABC Singles offers an example of intelligent and succinct programming and assembly in the waning days of the compact disc. This individual items collection were produced during the heyday of the 45 RPM single, which is to say during the time of alphanumeric telephone exchanges. It represents all of Charles' ABC single releases between 1960 ("My Baby, I Love Her Yes I Do") and 1973 ("Ring of Fire"). What exists in between is nothing less than the most important soul and rhythm and blues recordings of the period. Between 1953 and ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Ray Charles: Rare Genius

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Concord's reissue of vocalist and keyboardist Ray Charles' albums for ABC-Paramount, the label he moved to from Atlantic in 1959, is a mixed bag. It includes two winners, The Genius Hits The Road (1960) and Modern Sounds In Country Music Vols. 1 & 2 (1962), a so-so concept album, A Message From The People (1973)--and, in Live In Concert (1965), a stone masterpiece, Charles' all-round best live album. This edition is made essential listening by the inclusion of six previously unreleased tracks from the September 1964, Los Angeles performance at which it was recorded. The reissues are ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ray Charles: Ray Charles Live in Concert

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The Concord Music group inaugurated a release cycle celebrating Ray Charles' 80th birthday with Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters (Concord Records, 2010). Now, its reissue of Ray Charles Live in Concert, expanded with previously unreleased material from the same September 20, 1964 performance at the Shrine Civic Auditorium in Los Angeles, captures Charles enjoying the pinnacle of his powers. Charles released few commercial live recordings in the 1950s and '60s, when his considerable talent and influence were being most potently felt in American music. Ray Charles at Newport (Atlantic) was release in 1959, recorded the year before. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ray Charles: Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters

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Concord records began celebrating Ray Charles' 80th birthday with the release of Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters, a collection of masters recorded during the '70s, '80s, and '90s, when the singer/pianist was largely silent, having forever changed American music in the '60s. These selections, housed in the vault of Charles' RPM International Studios in Los Angeles, were left as skeletons, filled out in preparation for this release by the likes of Keb' Mo', Bobby Sparks, and Chuck Berghofer. What these songs amply demonstrate is that youth is wasted on the young, and that Charles could have held ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ray Charles: Genius: The Ultimate Collection

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If you want a Ray Charles best-of album you've got plenty to pick from, and the run-up to the holiday season often adds another one. But this year's contender, the 21-track, 71-minute Genius: The Ultimate Collection, stands out from the crowd. For three reasons... First, the choice of tracks has a tight, coherent focus. Aside from a 1964 live version of “Hallelujah I Love Her So" and a 1972 studio recording of “America The Beautiful," all the selections made the R&B Top 10 on original release between 1955 and 1967. Those dozen years represent what many listeners regard ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Ray Charles: Genius + Soul = Jazz

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Ray Charles Genius + Soul = Jazz Concord Music 2010

Ray Charles spent the 1950s and 1960s transforming the atomic American musics of gospel, the blues, R&B and country into what has been tagged “soul." Should jazz have been immune to his considerable charms? No, of course not. During the early 1960s, Charles was making his transition from Atlantic Records to ABC Records. This transition was surrounded by the releases of The Genius Sings The Blues (Atlantic, 1961), The Genius After Hours (Atlantic, 1961), The Genius Hits the Road (ABC, 1960) and Genius + ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Ray Charles: Original Album Series

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Ray Charles Original Album Series Warner/Rhino 2010 (1957-61)

Singer and pianist Ray Charles' period with Atlantic Records, from 1953 to 1960, which is the subject of Warner/Rhino's Original Album Series, was the most exciting in Charles' long and well documented career. Preceding the country music years which began on ABC in the early 1960s, the Atlantic era found Charles recording albums rather than singles; establishing his own touring and recording band, and vocal group the Raelettes; and developing his unique blend of jazz, blues and gospel until, around 1958, it reached a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ray Charles & the Count Basie Orchestra: Ray Sings, Basie Swings

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There is no recipe for success...or is there? Concord's Ray Sings, Basie Swings, reminiscent of past crossover duos, draws upon state-of-the-art technological means to propose a premium posthumous montage. Does this sound formulaic and forced? Maybe, but in the end, they credibly made it more musically attractive than say, yet another best of greatest hits compilation.

Spearheaded by Senior VP of A&R John Burk and producer/drummer Gregg Field, the serendipitous project does swing. And, like Genius Loves Company (Concord, 2004), its Grammy-winning predecessor, Concord retains the promotional support of Starbucks Hear Music's meticulously plotted brand development strategy. Recently, ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Ray Charles 1930-2004: The Movie Ray, Part 4 of 4

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Ray Bristol Bay Productions / Universal Pictures DVD release: 2005 The film Ray was released in 2004, shortly after the death of its subject, Ray Charles. Directed by Taylor Hackford, the movie was a fifteen-year labor of love that hinged, according to Hackford, on Charles' instincts regarding the actor to play him. Hackford stated in an interview that “[Charles] had the best instincts of anybody I've ever met. Foxx emerged and the next year, the biopic won five Academy Awards, including a Best ...

GENIUS GUIDE TO JAZZ

What I Say

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If they ever make a biopic out of my life, and there's no clear reason why they wouldn't since I am the Dean of American Jazz Humorists® and one of the world's foremost experts on baseball's balk rule, I hope they are able to get Jamie Foxx to reprise his Oscarâ"¢-winning role in the pivotal “Genius writes his Ray Charles piece scene. But if it comes down to it, I'd rather they spend the budget money on the absolutely necessary “Thora Birch recreates Phoebe Cates' swimming pool scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High sequence.So then.Ray ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Brother Ray: Ray Charles' Own Story

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Ray Charles and David Ritz Brother Ray: Ray Charles' Own Story Da Capo ISBN: 0306814315 2005

If the widely heralded and Oscar-nominated biopic Ray wrapped Ray Charles' extraordinary life in somewhat too neat a Hollywood package, Charles' newly reissued 1978 autobiography pulls no such punches. It's a raw, honest, decidedly unromantic look back at a then-30 year career in music that saw Charles overcome blindness, racism, poverty and drug addiction to earn a place in the pantheon of American popular music. Told in a plainspoken, conversational style, Charles and co-author ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Ray Charles 1930-2004: Part 3 of 4 (The Soundtracks)

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Taylor Hackford had the dream job of selecting the songs to be used in his movie, Ray , the biopic of singer Ray Charles. Additionally, in his consideration, he had the original item, Mr. Charles, himself for guidance. A Labor of love, 15 years in the making, the movie had its genesis in director Hackford's approaching Charles in 1988 to propose to him directing a movie about the singer's life. What they did not have at the time was the male lead. Who would play Ray Charles? The music was really easy. ...

ARTIST PROFILES

So Long, Brother Ray

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Ray Charles Robinson September 23, 1930 - June 10, 2004

Regardless of where you live in America, the media's coverage of Ronald Reagan's death has overshadowed the passing of Ray Charles. Charles was certainly more accessible and universally loved than Reagan; he was even asked to play at Reagan's second inaugural ball. Even Reagan would have to agree: Brother Ray's mighty soul touched us all.Although he grew up in Florida, he was born in Albany, GA -- the place he has always considered home (his version of “Georgia on my Mind" is the state's official song). ...



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