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5.0 out of 5 stars "...It Brings A Tear...Into My Eyes..." - Pure Genius: The Complete Atlantic Recordings by RAY CHARLES (2012 Reissue), 27 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: Pure Genius: The Complete Atlantic Recordings (1952-1959) (Audio CD)
Back in September 2005 when the American reissue label Rhino were still a force to be reckoned with (they've all but disappeared now) - they put out this stunning "Pure Genius" Box Set Stateside in a mock record-player carry-case - sort of like a British Dansette (see separate entry on Amazon). It was a beautifully elaborate affair and even boasted an 8th disc - a DVD of the famous Newport Jazz Festival appearance in 1960. This UK-released July 2012 'mini' box set is a 7-disc mid-price reissue of that costly and oversized packaging (unfortunately minus the DVD).

"Pure Genius - The Complete Atlantic Recordings (1952-1959)" comes in a tasty 5" x 5" card box with 155 remastered tracks across 7 CDs (Barcode 8122-79735-06). Disc 7 is a collectors dream - a whopping 36 unreleased tracks culled from 1953, 1958 and 1959 sessions - complete with dialogue in between some cuts. The individual cards are simply numbered 1 to 7 and are different colours with a basic track list on the rear - so a little dull if the truth were told. But the CD-sized booklet is amazing. Across 80-pages there's a forward by label founder Ahmet Ertegun, an essay on Brother Ray's beginnings and legacy by noted musicologist David Ritz (Pages 9 to 45) and the original liner notes for every LP issue for the period (Pages 46 to 60). It finishes with a fully annotated track list, separate LP and Single Discographies and the set's credits. Rhino's long-standing tape engineers and experts - Dan Hersch and Bill Inglot - remastered the tracks from the original masters to fabulous effect.

The 12 studio albums included are:
"Ray Charles" (1956), "The Great Ray Charles" (1957), "Soul Brothers" (with Milt Jackson, 1958), "Ray Charles At Newport" (1958), "Yes Indeed!" (1958), "What I Say" (1959), "The Genius Of Ray Charles" (1959), "Fathead/Ray Charles Presents David Newman" (1959), "Ray Charles In Person" (1960), "The Genius After Hours" (1961), "The Genius Sings The Blues" (1961) and "Soul Meeting" (again with Milt Jackson, 1962).

The 6 subsequent compilation albums are:
"The Great Hits Of Ray Charles Recorded On 8-Track Stereo" (1964), "The Ray Charles Story - Volumes 1 to 4" and "Ray Charles: A Life In Music - You Can't Fake The Feeling" (1982).

It also features every 7"/78" single issued during the period that were non-album.

Some may feel that this reissue is lessened by the loss of the visual - the DVD - and it is. But I'd argue that if you're on a budget - don't let that exclusion put you off because the audio is simply mind-blowing. Not only is the sound just glorious - track after track is imbibed with his wonderful talent for a tune - and even the outtakes sound 'so' good. Lesser-heard gems get an airing like the R&B-tinged "Roll With My Baby" (his 1st single on Atlantic 976) sided with familiar mellow anthems like "Just For A Thrill", "Come Rain Or Shine" and "Drown In My Own Tears" (lyrics above). "Ray's Blues" sounds suitable mournful while the strings on "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Cryin'" show he could carry any kind of tune. Even something as simple as "A Bit Of Soul" - a 1957 piano and sax instrumental used as a B-side in 1960 - sounds so impossibly cool. And there's over a hundred more where they came from...

OK - visually it lacks the sheer impact of the original issue - but at under twenty-five quid from some online retailers - it's still a bona-fide winner and a whole lotta musical class for not a lotta wonga.

Genius is an over-used word in the music business - but Georgia's Ray Charles Robinson was surely one of them. And this wonderful little box set is a fitting tribute to those amazing years of discovery and risk-taking and those pioneering believers in Atlantic Records.

PS: Lovers of ATLANTIC, STAX and VOLT Records should note that as of October 2012 there is a massive reissue program of classic albums going on in Japan - 100+ titles to be exact (which includes Ray Charles). They feature Fifties Blues and R'n'B, Sixties and Seventies Soul, Funk & Fusion. All are budget price (£7.50 per disc) and feature 2012 DSD remastering. Many of these titles are familiar - but a huge number are new to CD. For a full detailed list of these Japanese reissues - see the 'comment' section attached to this review...
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Oct 2012 20:32:36 BDT
Last edited by the author on 19 Nov 2012 12:29:46 GMT
Mark Barry says:
Using the seemingly generic title "Atlantic 1000: R&B Best Collection" - Japan-only CDs are being released in two phases so far - 3 Oct and 7 November 2012.
Each features a budget price tag of just over 950 Yen - $12 for US customers, £7.50 for UK buyers and 9.20 Euros for Europeans (with P&P added on of course).
This is the cheapest I've seen quality Japanese CDs ever go for - and what's really enticing is that all titles feature 2012 Digital Remastering (DSD).

They come in standard jewel cases with an inner booklet containing the lyrics and description etc and an outer Obi strip.
The campaign even covers many of the early Fifties RHYTHM 'N' BLUES LPs - LaVern Baker, The Clovers, Joe Turner, T-Bone Walker and Chuck Willis.
And BLUES too - Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, John Lee Hooker, Albert King and Blind Willie McTell.
And those elusive Seventies SOUL and FUNK gems - Beginning Of The End, Nikki Giovanni, Major Harris, The Persuaders, Clarence Reid and Philippe Wynne.
There's even an 80's title by The Spinners...

Here's an alphabetical list of the titles (within Artists titles are in release-date order):

ARTISTS...
1. LaVern Baker [aka "Rock & Roll"] - LaVERN BAKER (1957)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27566)
2. The Wildest Guitar - MICKEY BAKER (1959)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27587)
3. Darrell Banks Is Here! - DARRELL BANKS (1967)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27581)
4. Soul Finger - BAR-KAYS (1968)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27517)
5. Funky Nassau - THE BEGINNING OF THE END (1971)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27541)
6. There's Gonna Be A Showdown - ARCHIE BELL & THE DRELLS (1969)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27508)
7. The Soul Of A Bell - WILLIAM BELL ((1967)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27531)
8. No Time To Burn - BLACK HEAT (1974)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27577)
9. Blue Magic - BLUE MAGIC (1974)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27548)
10. Magic Of The Blue - BLUE MAGIC (1974)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27578)
11. Thirteen Blue Magic Lane - BLUE MAGIC ((1975)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27579)
12. Green Onions - BOOKER T & THE MG'S (1962)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27512)
13. Soul Dressing - BOOKER T. & THE MG'S (1965)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27513)
14. Hip Hug-Her - BOOKER T. & THE MG'S (1967)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27551)
15. Doin' Out Thing - BOOKER T. & THE MG'S (1968)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27552)
16. Ruth Brown [aka "Rock & Roll"] - RUTH BROWN (1957)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27565)
17. If You Need Me - SOLOMON BURKE (1963)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27555)
18. Rock 'n' Soul - SOLOMON BURKE (1964)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27507)
19. King Solomon - SOLOMON BURKE (1968)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27556)
20. I Wish I Knew - SOLOMON BURKE (1968)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27587)
21. Dance The Cool Jerk With The Capitols - THE CAPITOLS (1966)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27538)
22. This Is Clarence Carter - CLARENCE CARTER (1968)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27568)
23. The Dynamic Clarence Carter - CLARENCE CARTER (1969)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27514)
24. Testifyin' - CLARENCE CARTER (1969)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27557)
25. Patches - CLARENCE CARTER (1970)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27570)
26. Yes Indeed! - RAY CHARLES (1960)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27528)
27. The Clovers - THE CLOVERS (1956)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27567)
28. Sweet Soul Music - ARTHUR CONLEY (1967)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27546)
29. Shake, Rattle & Roll - ARTHUR CONLEY (1967)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27547)
30. Soul Directions - ARTHUR CONLEY (1967)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27574)
31. More Sweet Soul - ARTHUR CONLEY (1969)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27575)
32. Mercy! - DON COVAY and THE MIDNITERS (1964)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27553)
33. See-Saw - DON COVAY (1966)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27515)
34. First Landing - THE DYNAMICS (1969)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27580)
35. Knock On Wood - EDDIE FLOYD (1967)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27543)
36. The Way I Feel - NIKKI GIOVANNI (1975)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27520)
37. Play The Blues - BUDDY GUY and JUNIOR WELLS (1972)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27526)
38. My Way - MAJOR HARRIS (1974)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27534)
39. Don't Turn Me From Your Door - JOHN LEE HOOKER (1963)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27583)
40. Margie Joseph - MARGIE JOSEPH (1973)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27535)
41. Sweet Southern Soul - LOU JOHNSON (1969)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27545)
42. Land Of 1000 Dances - CHRIS KENNER (1965)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27539)
43. King Of The Blues Guitar - ALBERT KING (1969)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27525)
44. Don't Play That Song! - BEN E. KING (1962)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27509)
45. What Is Soul? - BEN E. KING (1967 UK LP)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27571)
46. Supernatural - BEN E. KING (1975)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27572)
47. Freddie King Is A Blues Master - FREDDIE KING (1969)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27523)
48. My Feeling For The Blues - FREDDIE KING (1970)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27597)
49. Instant Groove - KING CURTIS (1969)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27519)
50. Over The Rainbow - PATTI LaBELLE & THE BLUEBELLES (1966)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27584)
51. Dreamer - PATTI LaBELLE & THE BLUEBELLES (1967)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27540)
52. Workin' On A Groovy Thing - BARBARA LEWIS (1968)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27573)
53. Here Is Barbara Lynn - BARBARA LYNN (1968)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27530)
54. Love Is Here And Now You're Gone - TAMI LYNN (1972)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27594)
55. The Mad Lads In Action - THE MAD LADS (1966)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27586)
56. Last Night! - THE MAR-KEYS (1961)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27536)
57. Do The Pop-Eye With The Mar-Keys - THE MAR-KEYS (1962)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27589)
58. Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters [aka "Rock & Roll"] - CLYDE McPHATTER & THE DRIFTERS (1956)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27562)
59. Atlanta Twelve String - BLIND WILLIE McTELL (1972)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27595)
60. Thin Line Between Love And Hate - THE PERSUADERS (1972)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27532)
61. The Persuaders - THE PERSUADERS (1973)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27579)
62. Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me - THE PERSUADERS (1974)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27590)
63. Burnin' - Live At Freddie Jett's Pied Piper, L.A. - ESTHER PHILLIPS (1970)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27598)
64. In The Midnight Hour - WILSON PICKETT (1965)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27504)
65. The Sound Of - WILSON PICKETT (1967)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27505)
66. I'm In Love - WILSON PICKETT (1968)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27592)
67. Wilson Pickett In Philadelphia - WILSON PICKETT (1970)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27593)
68. Sings Soul Ballads - OTIS REDDING (1965)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27501)
69. The Soul Album - OTIS REDDING (1966)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27502)
70. Complete & Unabridged - The Otis Redding Dictionary Of Soul - OTIS REDDING (1966)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27503)
71. The Immortal Otis Redding - OTIS REDDING (1968)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27559)
72. King & Queen - OTIS REDDING and CARLA THOMAS (1967)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27558)
73. Dancin' With Nobody But You Babe - CLARENCE REID (1969)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27582)
74. Running Water - CLARENCE REID (1973)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27542)
75. Mourning In The Morning - OTIS RUSH (1969)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27588)
76. Double Dynamite - SAM & DAVE (1966)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27506)
77. I Thank You - SAM & DAVE (1968)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27554)
78. Take Time To Know Her - PERCY SLEDGE (1968)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27529)
79. Mighty Love - THE SPINNERS (1974)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27533)
80. Love Trippin' - THE SPINNERS (1980)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27591)
81. The Sweet Inspirations - THE SWEET INSPIRATIONS (1968)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27521)
82. What The World Needs Now Is Love - THE SWEET INSPIRATIONS (1969)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27522)
83. Howard Tate - HOWARD TATE (1971)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27518)
84. Wanted One Soul Singer - JOHNNIE TAYLOR (1967)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27544)
85. Gee Whiz - CARLA THOMAS (1961)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27560)
86. Comfort Me - CARLA THOMAS (1966)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27537)
87. Carla - CARLA THOMAS (1966)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27561)
88. Just One Look - DORIS TROY (1964)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27516)
89. The Boss Of The Blues - JOE TURNER (1956)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27563)
90. Joe Turner [aka "Rock & Roll"] - JOE TURNER (1957)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27564)
91. T-Bone Blues - T-BONE WALKER (1959 LP - includes 4 Bonus Tracks)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27524)
92. The King Of The Stroll - CHUCK WILLIS (1958)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27527)
93. My First Time Around - BETTY WRIGHT (1968)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27510)
94. I Love The Way You Love (featuring Clean Up Woman) - BETTY WRIGHT (1972)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27511)
95. Hard To Stop - BETTY WRIGHT (1973)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27576)
96. Starting All Over - PHILIPPE WYNNE (1977)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27596)

COMPILATIONS...
97. Apollo Saturday Night - VARIOUS ARTISTS (1964)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27599)
98. Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974 - VARIOUS ARTISTS
(10-disc Box Set released 23 May 2012. Was originally an 8-disc set issued in 1991 - this Japan-only version with different artwork adds on 2 bonus discs - most are MONO Fifties rarities) - £120
99. Saturday Night At The Uptown - VARIOUS ARTISTS (1964)
(Released 7/11/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27600)
100. The Stax/Volt Revue Volume 1 - Live In London (1967)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27549)
101. The Stax/Volt Revue Volume 2 - Live In Paris (1967)
(Released 3/10/12 on Warner Brothers WPCR-27550)

Available through Amazon or cdjapan websites

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Nov 2014 08:16:44 GMT
Octave says:
Outstanding review. Thanks for the discographical info (the albums and other material included). I'm kind of pleased that the first couple C&W albums aren't here, as I have those. (And they might be favorites.)

Thanks also for sharing the list of the Japanese soul/R&B reissue program. How I wish that large numbers of them would be collected into a box so a price break might be available for such short collections of music....a standard length for their time, of course, and probably a most-logical length of time for any single sitting. I know there the modestly priced ATLANTIC SOUL LEGENDS, which I think contains the same mastering from this Japanese series (ASIN B008I00E14), but I guess for me personally, that is a bit too much of a mishmash. (I'd prefer to get all of the available albums from artists X, Y, and Z, rather one each from artists A-T. Hard to fault the individual selections, though!)

My newfound love of sould and R&B is becoming a mania.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Dec 2014 10:21:35 GMT
Mark Barry's reviews are consistently outstanding!
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Mark Barry
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Location: London

Top Reviewer Ranking: 16