I love the music on this CD, even though unavoidable sadness and nostalgia accompany my listening pleasure. I grew up to the sound of Ray Charles' voice, his songs...and absolutely loving them. Unfortunately, this album is not a sample of the artist at his best. It is obvious that he was ill and his voice has a strained, almost feeble quality at times. But even in his final studio album, Mr. Charles, "the genius," is better than most stylists/musicians at peak form.
Ray's sings 12 timeless favorites with younger performers, who have already established themselves as talents, as well as with some older pros. These duets give "Genius Loves Company" a funky, eclectic sound, and provoke the warm feeling that his legacy has been passed down to another generation. Some of the best cuts include: Charles' duet with B. B. King on "Sinner's Prayer." He plays a bluesy piano that goes straight back to his musical roots - fantastic! And with King along on blues guitar, it doesn't get much better! The sassy version of "Sweet Potato Pie" with James Taylor, and "Fever" with Natalie Cole are outstanding. He and Elton John do a soulful interpretation of the latter's "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word."
"Genius Loves Company" makes no pretensions. It is an honest album, pleasing, laid-back and memorable because it is Ray Charles's farewell to his fans. I think it is a 'must have' for anyone who loves his music! Highly recommended!