Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Pop, R&B
This CD is the perfect gift for someone (perhaps a new friend from Mars) who has never heard Ray Charles. With tracks such as "Georgia on my Mind," "Come Rain or Come Shine," "Without a Song," "Ruby," "Ol' Man River," and ... more »
This CD is the perfect gift for someone (perhaps a new friend from Mars) who has never heard Ray Charles. With tracks such as "Georgia on my Mind," "Come Rain or Come Shine," "Without a Song," "Ruby," "Ol' Man River," and "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'," this is a feast of vintage artistry from one of America's premier performers, a man Frank Sinatra called "the only genius in the business." Featured musicians include Basie and Ellington veterans. For a one-volume presentation of popular music, this collection is hard to top. --Stanley Booth
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Here To Stay
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Popular music just doesn't get any better than this--"the Genius" not merely interpreting but re-creating some of the last century's greatest songs. What Ray does with these standards is pure alchemy. Here you'll find not only the definitive version of Hoagy Carmichael's "Georgia on My Mind" but also probably the best recorded versions of Harold Arlen's "Come Rain or Come Shine" and Gershwin's last song, "Love Is Here To Stay". Considering the competition out there (Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, etc.) it's nearly unbelievable that Ray is able to make so many of these great songs *his*--but there it is.The album would really be more than worth the price for the three above-mentioned songs alone, but you also get other such outstanding performances as "It Had To Be You", "Am I Blue", "Ruby", "Stella by Starlight", "That Lucky Old Sun", "Willow, Weep for Me", and an absolutely terrific, smile-on-your-face version of Richard Rodgers' "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'". (Amazing that such a classic recording was made in 1977 at the same time as the punk invasion and the disco craze.) Ray's "Ol' Man River" isn't the powerhouse that William Warfield's incredible recording is, but it's another standout, mournful and full of soul.It's impossible to categorize the music on this album--it's a perfect blend of classic pop, jazz, and r&b. Like Ellington or Gershwin, Ray Charles is simply "beyond category", an American original. His voice is of course an absolute marvel--soulful, sandpapery, moving effortlessly from the heartrending to the exhilarating. His range of shadings and expression is like that of a great jazz instrumentalist. And you have to love his little additional touches, like the sly "ha-ha" toward the end of "Beautiful Mornin'". His innate talent is just beyond belief and totally unique, and here he gets to exercise it on some truly first-class lyrics and melodies.The arrangements can superficially sound a little dated, but the more you listen to these recordings, the more integral they become. The ones for the earlier tracks provided by Ralph Burns (who had worked for Woody Herman) are particularly good. The bands play very well, and the instruments sometimes blend perfectly with Ray's voice to create expressive effects, notably the "dirty" sounds on "Come Rain or Come Shine". And Ray's piano playing (I do wish he cut loose with it a little more!) shines on "Love Is Here To Stay", simply one of the all-time great interpretations of a standard.A great collection, full of joyful, inspired music-making."
Mellow collection of ballads from Ray's prime...
William E. Adams | Midland, Texas USA | 07/06/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This would be a great way to introduce somebody to Ray's distinctive voice and style, especially a person who might not respond to his '50's R&B sides at first. Can't fault Ray's work here, but some tracks have "backing vocals" popular in the late '50's which really don't suit today's tastes. Look at the song list, read some other reviews, search your budget. Everybody needs at least one Charles disc in the collection, and this is a good choice. Ray's version of "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" from "Oklahoma" will make you sit up and take notice, and most of the other songs are worth hearing many times more than once."
Has to be 5 stars for Brother Ray
ellafan | MI | 11/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These are some of his early cuts,and if you think you have heard Ol' Man River,you haven't until you hear it sung by the Master.All of these cuts are perfect.Buy this.You already know you love him,anyway!"