Sunday, May 21, 2006

20. Ray Charles - The Genius of Ray Charles (1959)

Track Listing

1. Let The Good Times Roll
2. It Had To Be You
3. Alexander's Ragtime Band
4. Two Years Of Torture
5. When Your Lover Has Gone
6. Deed I Do
7. Just For A Thrill
8. You Won't Let Me Go
9. Tell Me You'll Wait For Me
10. Don't Let The Sun Catch You Cryin'
11. Am I Blue
12. Come Rain Or Come Shine


So, Ray Charles, wasn't he nice? Well, this is an Album which is very clearly meant to be heard in vinyl. You hear it in a CD or on the internet and you immediately feel that there are two parts to this album, which in vinyl would be clearly defined by side A and side B. As, such this is almost reviewing two albums instead of one.

The first six songs, the first part of the album are a happy swingin' collection of songs, with a big brass band behind Ray, noisy, fun and with great songs such as Let The Good Times Roll and Alexander's Ragtime Band. Frankly however, I much prefer side B, or the last 6 songs of the album, they are much more subdued and the emphasis is on strings in the orchestra. I think it's on this half of the album that you clearly hear the birth of soul music, although it is also somewhat present on side A, which is a more jazzy affair. On side B Just For a Thrill, Am I Blue and Come Rain or Come Shine stand out from the whole album as truly great tracks.

So yes, this is a magnificent album, and indeed it is a revolutionary one. There was nothing like this before Ray, he is creating a fusion of what at times sounds like Rock and R&B and at other times is completly Jazz, often within the same song. Nevertheless it is not as consistent an album as it could have been. There are some tracks which leave me cold, like Deed I Do or You Won't Let Me Go.

So yeah, if you don't know it hear it and some of the tracks here you can't live without, but others you can. Stream it on Napster.

Or Buy it at Amazon: UK or US

Track Highlights

1. Just For a Thrill
2. Come Rain or Come Shine
2. Am I Blue
4. Let The Good Time Roll

Final Grade



Great connoisseur of Heroin.

Actually he was part of a narcotics brigade, yet his blindness led him to have to shoot up in order to tell if it was really heroin.

Ray later played Jamie Foxx in the Oscar-winning Biopic, Jamie.

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