All I had was a ONE STAR review to guide me when I bought this blu-ray. I did not even have a playlist of songs. But this is Ray Charles. Even on a bad day, how bad can Ray get? So I took a leap of faith.
The Picture Quality was fabulous, even for a 1080i, not 1080p. Sound was great. I prefer the PCM 2.0 track to the DTS as I use old fashioned (but high end) speakers. The sound was great. Until Ray Charles started singing. The volume of his voice and keyboard (no piano) was low. I too would have rated this Blu-ray a ONE STAR affair if this was the only criterion. In actual concerts, getting drowned out by the very comprehensive orchestra is not totally unexpected. The mike volume could have been pushed up for Ray in an edited recording. Other than this blemish, I felt like I was actually at the concert.
This is not standard Ray Charles fare. It is off his beaten path. It is certainly not a Best of Ray Charles, or Ray singing his greatest hits concert. For familiar Ray, refer to "Genius Loves Company". Missing from this performance are, inter alia, You are the Sunshine of my Life, Unchain my Heart, Hit the Road Jack and other Ray Charles standards. The only familiar one to me was track 5 "Georgia on My Mind". Ray is doing non-standard fare which is not usually found in his other compendiums. Hence the high rating. Lets be reasonable: the orchestra, and the whole company,did not go all the way to Switzerland to perform the familiar stuff. This concert builds on the familiar repertoire.
I have no complaints about visual or audio quality, which is great considering the vintage of the material. It could have been recorded yesterday: you cannot really tell when the recording was made if 1997 was not so boldly printed on the artwork.
Lets see how many of these tracks are familiar to you:
1. I Don't Know
2. Ray Charles Opener
3. I'll be Home (Sadie's tune)
5. Georgia on my mind
6. Mississippi Mud
7. Just for a Thrill
8. You Made Me Love You
9. Angelina - check this one out
10. Scotia Blues
11. song for You
12. Watch them Dogs
13. Shadows of My Mind
14. Smack Dab in the Middle
15. I Can't Stop Loving You
16. What'd I say.
Bonus tracks performed by the Ray Charles Orchestra.
Whether you like these songs or not is a matter of personal taste. But they are exquisitely sung, as expected of this Legendary performer. This is a civilised concert. No drama, no embellishment. Just cool music delivered one track after another.
I would not recommend this Blu-ray as a first Ray Charles product to buy. You might think, on the basis of the playlist, that this is a singer of esoteric fare. But if you have heard the Ray standards like Sunshine of my Life and Hit the Road Jack ad nauseum, this is Ray singing material you do not find him doing often on other compendiums. One and a half hours of straight music makes it a pretty solid addition to a mature collection.