Soul and r&b legend Ray Charles may not have lived to see the success of Hollywood's ultimate tribute to him, but director Taylor Hackford's biopic (featuring a landmark performance by Jamie Foxx as the musical legend) will further burnish his legacy as one of the cornerstones of contemporary American music. Though it stretches from 1953's ecstatic, proto-soul "Mess Around" to a sublime, bluesy live take of "Georgia On My Mind" recorded in Japan in the mid-70's, this 17-track song-score can only be an inviting appetizer to the singer's epochal body of work. Charles' artistry may have virtually defined soul music itself, yet it also triumphed in genres as far afield as blues blues ("Nightime is the Right Time") and country ("I Can't Stop Loving You," "Bye Bye Love") during the 60's, the impossibly rich era from which the bulk of this soundtrack is culled. Crucially, fully a third of the cuts here are live recordings -- including electrifying 1965 performances of "What'd I Say," "You Don't Know Me" and "Hallelujah I Love Her So" hand-picked for the film by Charles himself -- the forum in which the singer consistently operated on a whole other artistic plateau from mere mortals. -- Jerry McCulley
Singer, composer, arranger, piano player and sonic alchemist, Ray Charles combined jazz, country, gospel and blues to create soul music itself. Accompanying the biopic Ray, this disc contains milestone tracks from 1957-1962, plus live recordings hand-picked by the man simply tagged 'The Genius'.
Charles wrote just six of these seventeen tracks himself. Yet he made each as distinctively his own as his trademark sunglasses and razor-sharp suits. Ray includes classic studio takes of "I've Got A Woman", "Unchain My Heart" and "(Night Time Is) The Right Time". If these songs' call-and-response refrains and brass-laden riffs still impress, think how acolytes like James Brown and the founders of Stax and Motown must have felt at the time.
Here too are "Mess Around" and "Hit The Road Jack". Fronted by Charles' revolutionary chordal piano style, these keyboard-driven tear-ups retain all the dynamism that inspired British-beat bands like The Animals and Manfred Mann. Likewise, Charles' gospel-infused vocals ring as true now as when helping shape Van Morrison, Steve Winwood and a generation of other singers, here and in the US.
Signature versions of "Georgia On My Mind" and "Drown In My Own Tears" show the Georgia-born artist could ballad with the best. From 1962's Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music come "Born To Lose" and "Bye Bye Love"; laced with lush strings and choirs, these songs were first condemned by r'n'b purists as schmaltzy sell outs. But today they highlight Charles' sheer musical eclecticism, and vitally counterpoint his earlier earthier style.
However, it was in front of his own driving band that Charles leaped highest over musical boundaries. Six euphoric live takes, including "What'd I Say", "Hallelujah I Love Her So" and "I Can't Stop Loving You" prove the point.
Of course, no soundtrack could indicate Charles' full range. Missing is any original recording from the last 42 years of his life: a period that, although it had its fair share of tepid covers,included highlights like 1993's My World.
In terms of the sounds that sired soul, Ray is -as Ray was - definitely where it's at. --Simon Morgan
Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window
I will ship by EMS or SAL items in stock in Japan. It is approximately 7-14days on delivery date. You wholeheartedly support customers as satisfactory. Thank you for you seeing it.