243

Ray Charles: Genius: The Ultimate Collection

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Ray Charles: Genius: The Ultimate Collection
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 as Charles' purple period—packed with often quite raw R&B, jazz and gospel melanges, before country and western and out-and-out pop began to dominate his output.

Second, the sound quality is outstanding. Many of Charles' recordings, including most of those included here, have undergone incremental improvements to audio quality during their multiple-reissue lifetime. Bob Fisher's remastering gives Charles' voice, those of the Raelettes, and every individual instrument or orchestra section unprecedented presence and separation, so that the familiar tracks leap out of the speakers as fresh as newly tendered mint juleps.

Third, the packaging, particularly on the DeLuxe Edition, is immaculate. For this edition, the disc is presented in a hardbound A5-sized book, its heavyweight gloss pages including 23 infrequently seen photos of Charles or reprints of contemporary concert billboards, all reproduced full-page. Don Heckman's introductory essay and track commentaries are pithy, factual and authoritative. It would have been nice to have the personnel listings, but the probability that Heckman knows all of them by heart at least suggests their deliberate exclusion, presumably for reasons of space, rather than their lazy omission. The DeLuxe Edition also contains two extra tracks, "Your Cheating Heart" and "Without Love (There Is Nothing)."

Quite who compiled Genius: The Ultimate Collection is unclear. Was it Heckman, or Chris Clough, billed as Compilation Producer? Whoever it was did a mighty fine job.

Track Listing

Hit The Road Jack; What'd I Say (Part 1); Busted; I Can't Stop Loving You; Sticks And Stones; Drown In My Own Tears; Unchain My Heart; Georgia On My Mind; I've Got A Woman; You Are My Sunshine; Take These Chains From My Heart; Hide Nor Hair; Let's Go Get Stoned; You Don't Know Me; Hallelujah I Love Her So (Live); Crying Time; A Fool For You; One Mint Julep; Here We Go Again; Yesterday; America The Beautiful.

Personnel

Ray Charles: vocals, piano, organ; other personnel not credited.

Album information

Title: Genius: The Ultimate Collection | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Concord Music Group

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read All Figured Out
All Figured Out
Derek Brown and The Holland Concert Jazz Orchestra
Read Supersense
Supersense
Steph Richards
Read Alex Moxon Quartet
Alex Moxon Quartet
Alex Moxon Quartet
Read I Went This Way
I Went This Way
Rachel Musson
Read HH
HH
Lionel Loueke
Read Dominos
Dominos
Chuck Anderson

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.