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Genius: The Ultimate Collection
Ray Charles
Genius: The Ultimate Collection
Genres: Pop, R&B
  •  Track Listings (21) - Disc #1

THE definitive Ray Charles collection featuring all original hit recordings and performances, and digitally remastered from the original tapes! Housed in a handsome embossed digipack and presented with a 24 page collector...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Ray Charles
Title: Genius: The Ultimate Collection
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Concord Records
Original Release Date: 1/1/2009
Re-Release Date: 4/7/2009
Genres: Pop, R&B
Style: Soul
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 888072312937, 0888072313804, 888072313514


Album Description
THE definitive Ray Charles collection featuring all original hit recordings and performances, and digitally remastered from the original tapes! Housed in a handsome embossed digipack and presented with a 24 page collectors' book of rare photos and extensive notes by celebrated music journalist Don Heckman, this collection brings together Ray Charles' most memorable music from his classic era. A must for music fans of all ages.

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CD Reviews

Easily the finest single disc Ray Charles collection ever as
Paul Tognetti | Cranston, RI USA | 04/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Throughout his life Ray Charles overcame obstacles that would defeat lesser men. He was partially blinded in an unfortunate accident in his back yard at age 5 and became totally blinded at the age of 7. Rather than wallow in his misfortune, a very young Ray Charles began to study classical piano and clarinet at the State School for Deaf and Blind Children in St. Augustine, FL. Ray quickly figured out that music was what he wanted to do with his life. He moved to Seattle in 1948 at the age of 18 and formed the Maxine Trio. Just a year later the group inked a deal with a small Los Angeles based label called Swingtime. After just a few months the groups debut release "Confession Blues" rose all the way to #2 on Billboard's R & B chart. A couple of other hits followed and important people in the music business began to take notice. One of them was Ahmet Ertegan of Atlantic records who had a knack for discovering important new talent. Ray Charles would ink a deal with Atlantic records in 1952 and the rest as they say is history. Over the next five and a half decades Ray Charles would become an institution and one of the most important recording artists and "live" performers in American musical history. Concord records 2009 release "Ray Charles/Genius: The Ultimate Collection" celebrates the man's biggest and most memorable recordings from his hey-day at Atlantic between 1952 and 1960 as well as his legendary hits at ABC-Paramount during the 1960's. It is a stunning collection featuring a variety of musical styles that reminds us all of just how versatile and talented an artist Ray Charles was.
"Ray Charles/Genius: The Ultimate Collection" features a half dozen of Ray's most popular recordings from his stint at Atlantic. Enjoy newly remastered recordings of great hits like "What I'd Say", "A Fool For You" as well as my personal favorite "Drowning In My Tears" which hit #1 on the R & B charts back in 1956. You will also find "Sticks and Stones", "I've Got A Woman" and a fabulous "live" recording of "Hallelujah, I Love Her So" from the Atlantic era. While Ray Charles was wildly popular among jazz and R & B afficianados during the 1950's he really hit his stride with general audiences after signing a deal with ABC-Paramount in 1960. There were certainly a lot of raised eyebrows when Ray opted to leave Atlantic but evidently he knew what he was doing. During his 14 year stay at ABC Ray Charles had around 60 charted singles and recorded dozens of successful albums in a wide variety of musical styles. Hear once again great hits like 1961's "Hit The Road Jack", "I Can't Stop Loving You" and the haunting ballad "You Don't Know Me". Indeed, one of my all-time Ray Charles faves was his magnificent rendition of Buck Owens' country classic "Crying Time" which was a huge hit on the pop, country, R & B and adult contemporary charts in early 1966. Add to the mix tunes like "Busted", "Georgia On My Mind", "Take These Chains From My Heart" and "Unchain My Heart" and it is easy to understand why "Ray Charles/Genius: The Ultimate Collection" should be considered to be absolutely essential to any serious collection of American popular music.
"Ray Charles/Genius: The Ultimate Collection" comes with an outstanding 24 page booklet that includes a brief biography of Ray, a number of splendid photos and a brief story about each of the 21 tracks in this collection. And believe me when I tell you that these tracks have never, ever sounded better! The remastering job done by the folks at Concord records is exceptional. These are the original Atlantic and ABC-Paramount recordings you would remember from the radio. No re-recordings here thank God! I have been collecting records now for more than 40 years. I can always tell when a project has been done with tender loving care. Such is the case with "Ray Charles/Genius: The Ultimate Collection". Very highly recommended!"
+1/2 -- Single-disc sampler of Charles on Atlantic and ABC
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 04/07/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Songwriter, pianist and vocalist Ray Charles may be one of the most anthologized pop artists in history, with several hundred collections and repackagings issued on LP and CD. But even with so many facets of his career having been explored, there remain essential sides that have yet to see official digital reissue. Concord is kicking off an extensive redevelopment of Charles' post-1960 catalogs on the ABC-Paramount and Tangerine labels with this 63-minute 21-track disc of career highlights, including ten R&B chart toppers and three pop #1s.

The set includes four tracks from Charles' time on Atlantic, reaching back as early as 1955 for "I've Got a Woman." The bulk of the set is drawn from 1960 through 1967, starting with Charles' first pop chart topper, 1960's "Georgia on My Mind," and winding along to 1967's "Here We Go Again" and "Yesterday." The disc closes with Charles' last single for ABC, 1976's "America the Beautiful." Throughout the twenty-one selections you can hear Charles' develop his seminal brand of soul from roots in gospel, blues, R&B, and jazz. ABC freed Charles to explore more broadly than had Atlantic, bringing in Latin rhythms, singing the works of country and tin-pan alley songwriters, adding strings, and alternating between the sassy call-and-response of the Raelettes and a smooth backing chorus.

Concord's digital remastering is crisp (mono for the Atlantic tracks 2, 6, 9, 17), and the non-chronological song sequence provides an excellent flow. The CD includes a 20-page booklet with liner and song notes by Don Heckman, photos, release and chart data, and an embossed cardboard wrapper. Few artists can boast as powerful a catalog as Charles, and though it's overstatement to label any single disc an ultimate collection (there's many times more essential sides missing than would fit), this is a welcome overture to the coming symphony of ABC/Tangerine reissues. 4-1/2 stars, if allowed fractional ratings. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]"
Sincerely, Ray
Michael Kerner | Brooklyn, New York U.S.A. | 04/19/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"There honestly has been so much going on with R&B right now with a lot of younger artists, that we honestly do forget the brightened roots of traditional R&B. That sadly is the case with classic artists like the late Ray Charles. It sadly has been 5 years since Ray Charles tragic passing, but his music definitely has brought in new lights thanks to his final original album Genius Loves Company, and the film Ray with Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx. Yet, with all the great moments in Soul, Ray Charles is always recognized as a true and blue pioneer with the standards of soul. Now, a new hits collection showcases why Ray Charles was nicknamed with the meaning of Genius.

Genius! The Ultimate Ray Charles Collection is a reflection of what had made Ray Charles so classic. While the collection as a whole is strong, at reflecting his biggest hits of the 50's and 60's, there honestly was a big surprise that Concord, the label that released Genius Loves Company, would showcase the album. The collection of songs have been remastered very well, and include a lot of his genuine standards from Hit The Road Jack!, the elegant and somber Georgia On My Mind, as well What I'd Say, and Un-Chain My Heart, which was covered brilliantly later by Joe Cocker. While the collection as a whole is a great re-introduction for Ray Charles, I sadly was hoping there would be more from Ray's later years in the 80's and with Genius Loves Company here, with You Don't Know Me collaborating with Diana Krall, and Baby Grand, his 1986 duet with Billy Joel. It does surprise me also that especially something from Genius Loves Company could've been here, considering that Concord which released the album should've had something from that album on this compilation.

Nevertheless, if you have not yet owned a Ray Charles record, or heard any of his classic songs, than Genius! The Ultimate Ray Charles Collection is a great starter for your music library. I really love his classic gems that helped shape the essence of what R&B is like today. I think it is a nevertheless a very strong album that is sure to tell you that Georgia will always be on your mind, and that you heart will never be un-chained to the soul of life that Ray Charles had brought to the music industry.

Album Cover: B

Songs: B+

Price: B+

Remastering: B

Overall: B 1/2+"