Here we have ten songs that have never before been released by Ray Charles, and they are reason to stop again and give thanks for the genius that inhabited this human being, and that he had the opportunity to be able to put this in a form for all of us to appreciate. I'll never forget the first time I saw him in 1962, I was a freshman in college and he played at the college in a hall designed for concerts. The first half of the show was just him playing piano with a bass player and a drummer, for the second half of the show he had his full band with guitar player and horns. It was a show designed to appeal to all genre of music: from Jazz to Blues, to Rock and Roll to R & B to classical to beautiful quiet yet complicated and soothing piano flights of fantasy. It all moved beautifully and smoothly and left me gasping for breath that this one individual could do all of this, seemingly so effortlessly and damn it he couldn't see the tips of his fingers.
These ten songs were recorded in various studios, with a variety of musicians between 1972 and 1995, and, true to his genius, he shows how adept he is in all these different styles. In doing this disc the producers picked songs that flowed together as if they were intended for one album. Even though they were recorded over a span of about 23 years they hold together as an entity, not a hodge-podge. The key with Ray was his feel for the music/the song, and being able to take songs as mundane, schmaltzy, and over played such as Wheel of Fortune, (a song that made me spin the dial) and put true heart-felt feeling back into them and display alternative sides and depth to the songs that completely refreshed them. This disc ends with a beautiful version with Johnny Cash singing lead and Ray adding counterpoint and background on Kris Kristofferson's Why Me Lord? This is a beautiful and fitting song with which to end this disc.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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