In 1962 Ray Charles released two of the greatest albums of the 20th century - Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music, Volumes 1 & 2. They were genre bending albums with an African American, the definitive exponent of soul music, re-defining the music of the white working classes. Volume 2, arguably the better of the two albums, has never been released in the CD format until now.
The albums produced five massive hit singles: "I Can't Stop Loving You", a number one on both sides of the Atlantic; "Your Cheatin' Heart", "You Are My Sunshine", "You Don't Know Me", and "Take These Chains From My Heart".
The genius of Ray Charles was to combine not two but four genres in his interpretations of twenty four country classics: the lush strings of easy listening, big band brass, the definitive voice of soul and the beautiful simplicity of country music.
To match that, the albums would expose Ray Charles to a wider audience than had previously existed and, at the same time, introduce another audience to country and western music.
Listening to these albums, now remastered on to one disc, it is not difficult to imagine the shattering effect that they had on the world of popular music nearly half a century ago as black and white America met in a glorious, unforgettable musical fusion.
An essential, historical benchmark.