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4.8 out of 5 stars37
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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.
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on 30 April 2013
I HAD BOTH THESE ALBUMS WHEN THEY FIRST CAME OUT ON VINYL IN THE EARLY 1960s, AND THANKS TO THE FOLKS AT JASMINE, AND ALL THEIR GREAT REISSUES OF SUCH CLASSICS FOR THAT MATTER, ITS NICE TO BE ABLE TO REPLACE THEM ON CD AND HAVE THEM IN MY COLLECTION AGAIN NEARLY 50 YEARS ON. THEY CAN HARDLY BE CALLED 'MODERN' SOUNDS AFTER ALL THAT TIME, BUT THEY CERTAINLY STAND UP WELL IN THE TEST AND DON'T SOUND A BIT DATED -- OR PERHAPS MY TASTE IN MUSIC JUST HASN'T CHANGED! THE WORD 'GREAT' IS APPLIED SO FREELY TO MANY OF TODAY'S TOP ACTS, WHEN PERFORMING AEROBIC MOVEMENTS TO TRY AND ENHANCE THEIR SOMETIMES IFFY SKILLS AT SINGING LIVE, BUT YOU CAN USE BOTH 'GREAT' AND 'CLASSIC' UNTIL THE COWS COME HOME WHEN REFERRING TO THE LATE RAY CHARLES. THOSE TWO WORDS ARE BOTH ACCURATE AND MEANINGFUL. I'LL SAY IT TOO -- GREAT! CREATIVE STUFF LIKE THIS YOU'LL NEVER GROW TIRED OF -- ALL AT A RESPECTABLE PRICE TOO, AND YOU GET A COUPLE OF BONUS TRACKS FOR YOU MONEY! RAY WAS A GENIUS ... A NICE ONE, AND YOU FOLKS AT JASMINE -- THANKS!
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on 17 May 2013
Ray Charles singing Hank Williams songs with lush strings backing on many tracks. There are also some lesser known gems in this - No Letter today, Midnight, A Worried Mind and Born to Lose.If some of today's artists think they are soul singers, they should listen to this and see how far short they fall.Incredible value for a great product. It took me ten years of searching for this on CD before I found it and bought it and it was well worth the effort and wait.
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on 20 November 2010
This CD contains what were orginally two separate vinyl albums recorded by Ray Charles in February and September 1962. Musically these were genre-busting releases at the time, and went on to sell in huge numbers; in terms of novelty, imagine if today [say..] Jay-Z decided to release an album of covers from the likes of Fairport Convention and Pentangle!

The really pleasing thing about the CD release is that the producers have thankfully avoided any temptation to fiddle about with sound of the original recordings, such as changing the equalisation to match 'modern' replay equipment or tastes. The quality of the original recordings is superb, with just the right amount of studio ambience and a very 'live' feel, and the CD does sound very much like the vinyl releases, albeit without any pops and clicks.

This is one of those albums that should be in the collection of anyone who's serious about 'popular music' of any sort, or for that matter, just 'music'.
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on 13 December 2011
Don't be fooled by the Country & Western-tag because this is an album of exquisite big band, harmony vocal backings, and that gorgeous Ray Charles voice with appropriate piano. Ray was brought up listening to The Grand Ole Oprey on the Saturday-night wireless, and his affection for the music resonates throughout, whatever the pace or tone. Including the old-time HEY, GOOD LOOKIN', the moody YOU DON'T KNOW ME, the big-band ballad YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE, Ray duets with Majorie Hendricks...you can tell they knew each other real well. This album is brimming with musicality. And, if you're not convinced, remember it also contains I CAN'T STOP LOVING YOU
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on 31 October 2010
Originally realeased on vinyl, As Modern Sounds in Country & Western music vol 1 & 2, this is now reproduced on 1 CD of 24 tracks. If you remember 'You dont know me', 'I cant stop loving you' and 'Take these chains from my heart' from the 60's, you will be aware of the quality of these Ray Charles recordings.

The CD is an amazing mixture of C&W, Jazz & Blues style, but its also classic country music with a big string sound, and singers. It was cutting edge in its day, and its still fantastic. Great recordings of 'Born to lose', 'I'll never stand in your way', 'Making believe', 'Teardrops in my heart' and 'Hang your head in shame'. JUST BUY!
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on 4 September 2011
Simply beautiful and lush sounds at last transferred onto disc. Ray does a sterling job on these near (50) year old albums. Tear stained ballads with full string orchestra and for supreme listening pleasure, we have the lovely full choral backing to most. Recorded and released in full (stereo), listen while you relax and take in the sensational sounds of genius Ray, emotional and heartbreaking outpouring of vocal soul. Five stars from me.
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on 9 August 2009
I first bought this album in 1962 and I hadn't heard in years it was great being united with an old friend. This was ground breaking in its day, a R&b/Blues artist doing country and western. Timeless and brilliant.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 10 January 2013
After a cursory, unnecessary version of Bye Bye Love (an innocent Everly Brothers song that`s been sung by Connie Francis at al, and murdered by actor Roy Scheider in the appalling film All That Jazz) Ray settles down to one of his greatest interpretations, the glorious You Don`t Know Me:

You give your hand to me, and then you say Hello
And I can hardly speak, my heart is beating so

It`s beautiful.
There are other highspots on this occasionally patchy, though mostly pleasing, compilation of Ray`s two records of country songs from 1962.
I Love You So Much It Hurts aches with longing, Born To Lose is wonderful, No Letter Today is a lesser known song that fits Ray like a glove. Someday, Midnight, Your Cheating Heart, and Hang Your Head In Shame are all stunning, as are the justifiably well known versions of two signature Charles ballads, I Can`t Stop Loving You and Take These Chains From My Heart. Both still sound ecstatic, even after all these years.
The rest is a bit of a mixed bag, though there`s enough here for any lover of Ray Charles, and I`m certainly that - I could listen to the Genius any time, day or night.
One thing puzzles me and that`s the omission of two of his best country tracks, Cryin` Time and Together Again. Were they recorded later? Or only as singles? Pity they`re not here, though, especially the emotive Cryin` Time.
Not perfect - unlike some Ray albums, which are exactly that - but essential if you love the man.

An hour later...
I`ve been playing this again, and I love it! A few less than great tracks, but mostly irresistible. So I`ve upped my star rating from 4 to 5.
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on 7 March 2014
Forget the title; if you like great music performed by a superb artist with a terrific orchestra delivering amazing songs, then buy this!
Ray Charles is well known, however, this, one of his earliest albums (unusually a double) from the late 50s, has all his best-known songs and many ohters besides. Soul, country, pop, jazz and blues meet head-on to create a timeless masterpiece.
Just like Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, everyone on this album sounds like they are having great fun.
Highly recommended.
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