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The Birth Of Soul : The Complete Atlantic Rhythm & Blues Recordings, 1952-1959 [Box set, Import]

Ray Charles, Ray Charles And the Count Basie Orchestra Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Oct 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set, Import
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B000002IRW
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,850 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. The Sun's Gonna Shine Again
2. Roll With My Baby
3. The Midnight Hour
4. Jumpin' In The Morning
5. It Should Have Been Me
6. Losing Hand
See all 17 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. I Got A Woman
2. Greenbacks
3. Come Back Baby
4. A Fool For You
5. This Little Girl Of Mine
6. Hard Times
See all 18 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Swanee River Rock
2. That's Enough
3. Talkin' About You
4. What Kind Of Man Are You
5. I Want A Little Girl
6. Yes Indeed
See all 18 tracks on this disc

Product Description


Though this is not the most recent Ray Charles box set collection, it may be the best. That's because it focuses on Ray's great growth in the 1950s, particularly his days with Atlantic Records. The set opens with Ray still in a Charles Brown, smooth-voice, mellow-piano mode, but in short order, he discovers his own identity. From the good time of "It Should Have Been Me" on disc one, though the orgiastic "What'd I Say, Parts 1 & 2" on disc three, the man they call "The Genius" rocks, rolls, raises the rafters, and sinks way down low with the blues. This box also features an excellent essay by the late music historian, Robert Palmer. --Robert Gordon

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential R'n'B 12 Dec 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Ray Charles is one of the greatest R'n'B artists of all time. His career encompassed jazz, blues, R'n'B through to soul. In fact he is arguably one of the founders of soul music (along with James Brown, Sam Cooke and others).
This box set focuses on Ray's R'n'B recordings, with the result that this is not only the ESSENTIAL Ray Charles collection - but one of the ESSENTIAL collections of R'n'B full stop! Many of the tracks on here have been covered numerous times (The Animals alone covered at least FIVE of these tracks!) - though the originals, as they say, are still the greatest.
To collect all of the tracks on this set on vinyl would be a time-consuming task: LPs and many 45s. This set neatly collects together all of the tracks for you.
What more can I say?! BUY IT!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Set 28 May 2007
Format:Audio CD
Amazon have done this set an injustice. The boxed set is superbly packaged (the image displayed is just part of the 3rd CD cover).

CD 1 covers 1952 to 1954, CD 2 1954 to 1957 and CD 3 1957 to 1959. Theres a nice accompanying booklet which gives full credit to all the known musicians and there is a substantial written history of Ray Charles time at Atlantic records which must runs into thousand of words. Jerry Wexler is quoted in these notes saying "In terms of purity and musical value, he cut his best sides for us. It was righteous roots music. It was intrinsically great music". So its no surprise that the music IS some of the best stuff Ray Charles ever did. A mixture of Rhythm and Blues, Jazz, Gospel and Blues that quite rightly is called the birth of soul.

This magnificent set is not available new anymore but with 53 tracks you should make the effort to find this important boxed set. Hopefully it will be reissued one day.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Birth of Soul: Ray Charles - GENIUS! 23 Aug 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Covering his complete R&B output from 1952 to 1959, this 3 cd, 52 track collection is an essential part of any music lover's collection.

Tracking his progress with Atlantic records, this charts Charles's progression from smooth balladeer through his development of that style that was all his own, the birth of what we know today as soul music.

It's more than just a historical document, this is 3 cds of essential music, from the rollicking `What'd I say', through to the bluesey `Drown in my own Tears'. Charles puts everything he's got into this music, making it inventive, full of passion and with plenty of toejam. It's music that speaks straight to the soul, you'd have to have a heart of stone not to enjoy the music on offer here.

If you like this then I would also recommend the complete country and western recordings to see where Charles went after he had finished inventing soul!
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  28 reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Genius Writes His Thesis 29 Mar 2000
By Anthony G Pizza - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Ray Charles' seven-year tenure on Atlantic Records, represented here by his complete R&B recordings, is as musically and culturally important as Frank Sinatra's tenure on Capitol Records or Elvis Presley's on Sun Records.
Charles' music here used basic rock and roll ingridients (blues, jazz, honky-tonk, gospel interplay) to create something more adult, eloquent and sensual than anything the renowned rock n' roll pioneers created. Charles' mixing and matching of styles at first seems impure even now ("Pray with me, boys," he groans as his band dives deeper into the blues "Feelin' Sad," which he ends with a wail.) But his band (razor-sharp after hundreds of dance concerts every year) could play any style, mixing several at once, turning hits like "What'd I Say," jazz workouts like "Mess Around," ancient standards like "My Bonnie," and even his cover of Hank Snow's C&W "I'm Movin' On" into mini-revelations.
These years represent the most creative in Charles' career, before his huge Sixties hits made him an American icon. He would never be as creative and profilic as he is here, making "The Birth of Soul" THE essential purchase for fans of the singer or the R&B form.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The essential Ray Charles 14 Feb 2001
By bruce horner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
There are times when a particular string of sessions recorded by an artist for a particular label is so creatively significant that it marks not only a stylistic synthesis or breakthrough for that particular artist but also a touchstone for a whole branch of music. Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven sides for Columbia come to mind, as do Charlie Parker's Dial sessions and of course Presley's Sun sessions. The singles that Ray Charles recorded for Atlantic Records from 1952 to 1959 are similar, in that they not only mark a creative peak for Charles, but his unique mixture of elements of jazz, r&b, blues, and gospel led directly to the musical style that would be called soul. Thus the title of this collection (The Birth of Soul) is more than just jolly hyperbole but almost literally true. The brilliant synthesis didn't happen overnight, of course, and the second song here, "Roll With My Baby," sounds like an imitation of Nat King Cole. One of the pleasures of this collection is listening to him mature which he does soon enough. The singles are presented in strict chronological order with copious and easy-to-read session information. (Interesting that Connie Kay played drums on his first ten sides, and the importance of reedman David Newman to the band's sound can hardly be overstated.) Discs two and three are pure manna. It's rather startling to be reminded just how good Charles was in the fifties, arguably his most fertile and rewarding period. His years as a top-forty icon and later a soft drink pitchman have obscured his amazing earlier achievement. This well-produced package reminds us of what he SHOULD be known for. Robert Palmer's informative liner notes are another extra in a collection that does everything right---selection, sound mastering, packaging. This is the one Ray Charles set that should be considered essential to anyone interested in 20th-century American music.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Landmark in American Music 3 Dec 2004
By Grant Camden - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
A lot of people like Ray Charles for a lot of reasons. This collection is why I love him. It finds Ray defining Rhythm and Blues in the 1950s.

The recordings here represent what I consider his golden period with Atlantic. It is prior to his move to other record labels and his experiments with country and pop standards. This is good old R&B. As I said before, it defines the genre in the 1950s as far as I'm concerned. There are few instrumentals; most tracks include vocals, and Ray's voice is in incredible form throughout, rasping, moaning, groaning, and all. A mention must also be made of the distinctive tenor sax work throughout of long time sideman, David "Fathead" Newman.

The music and Ray's voice here have a visceral quality and richness which waned, in my opinion, after Ray's Atlantic years. Later, although Ray remained one of America's greatest musicians, he became increasingly glossy. This is before the gloss. This music has real soul and lots of it.

I have enjoyed this set more than any music I own. If you would like a serious set of goose bumps and hours of enjoyment, I cannot recommend this set highly enough. I own about 25 Ray Charles CDs. I recommend this set hands down above all others.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection - worth every penny 6 Dec 2000
By thedevilscoachman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Prior to a couple of years ago, I never really knew what Ray Charles's backstory was. I always sort of thought of him as the guy in the Pepsi ads and in the Blues Brothers, and the singer of "I Can't Stop Loving You" - pretty good music, but also in some way uninspired or irrelevant. I was wrong. As this package shows, he was a towering genius long before Pepsi came along. He was an inspired piano player, and he could do it all - jazz, stride, R&B, New Orleans. He had a totally unique rhythmic sense, which clearly informed James Brown and other "soul" artists. Over the course of this package, you hear him shape his voice into an incredibly expressive instrument - he's great both at singing the song straight and adding subtle embellishments to the melody that are dead on perfect (and never overused). Unlike other artists, especially at the time, who were confined to niches, he wasn't afraid to take on all different kinds of styles - from jump blues ("It Could Have Been Me" or "Greenbacks") to New Orleans ("Mary Ann") to blues ("Hard Times" or "What Will I Do") to numbers that mix them all up with jazz and gospel, like "What'd I Say?" or "Talkin' About You." He put together a great band that could play hard-core jazz with as much facility as R & B (Check out his band on his saxophonist David Newman's jazz albums). And finally, it seems to me that he used the studio in innovative ways long before many other artists - like on "What Kind of Man Are You" and "I'm Movin' On." And while his songwriting isn't always brilliant, it is at least always very strong, and he has a good ear for cover tunes that suit him well. Any one of these strengths alone would qualify him as great, but he's rightly called "The Genius" for putting all these things into one package. Highly recommended.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive early Ray Charles 24 Mar 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Atlantic Records released 23 singles by Ray Charles from 1952 to 1959 and this box set has them all, both sides, plus 4 other songs released in 1960. The tracks are presented in the order they were recorded, not released, so you can easily hear the evolution of Ray's style from pure blues singer to gospel-inspired R&B favorite. The enclosed booklet documents Ray's Atlantic years including his entire Atlantic single discography. This box set is an excellent collection of early Ray Charles music without any nuisance alternate takes found in so many other box sets.
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