Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Ultimate Hits Collection (2CD)
Genres: Country, Blues, Jazz, Pop, R&B
This double CD collects not only Brother Ray's best-known '50s and '60s singles, but some choice semi-obscurities (the 1953 jump blues "Mess Around," his 1959 cover of Louis Jordan's "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Cryin'") t... more »
This double CD collects not only Brother Ray's best-known '50s and '60s singles, but some choice semi-obscurities (the 1953 jump blues "Mess Around," his 1959 cover of Louis Jordan's "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Cryin'") that earn their places next to "What'd I Say" and "I Can't Stop Loving You." The man's originality and infectious feeling bleed through on each of these 36 tracks, whether he's transforming "One Mint Julep" or "America the Beautiful" or collaborating (separately) with Willie Nelson and Chaka Khan. --Rickey Wright
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The best primer...
nicjaytee | London | 07/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With a ridiculously large output of albums recorded over more than 40 years, garnering an "ultimate" Ray Charles compilation is a pretty impossible and highly subjective task, but this two CD set comes just about as close as anything you could reasonably expect. Concentrating, quite rightly, on those songs on which his formidable reputation has been based it includes many of his most popular "hits" and, equally importantly, some of the very best from his huge canon of less popular tracks.Put together by people who clearly know his back-catalogue and who also know an excellent song when they hear one it cleverly avoids the trap that many other attempts at a "best of" Ray Charles album fall into of being too superficial, too limited in time span, or just too big. Both CD's hang together as high class acts, encompassing not only a carefully sequenced cross-section of his extremely broad recording career but some of the best music you'll ever hear. As a primer it's outstanding but, equally importantly, for fans who have all or most of these selections already it's a great "play", bringing together on two discs many of those tracks that you really do want to hear back-to-back. A "genius"?... well you decide but certainly, as this collection shows, one of the most exceptional and enjoyable artists of all time."
Ray of Light
Pat Kelly | Here, There & Everywhere | 06/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Most appelations in pop music are unearned. If Elvis was the King, he certainly abidicated by the mid-60's. Michael Jackson, King of Pop? Puh-leeeze. Aretha, Queen of Soul? Sinatra, Chairman of the Board? Yeah, I'll buy those.But one nickname was earned, fully bought & paid for by decades of originality, creativity, boundary-breaking and genre-crossing: Ray Charles - The Genius.Most artists would be satisified by acheiving success in a single field of music. Charles, by comparison, virtually created modern soul as a fusion of gospel and blues, revolutionized country music with his "Modern Sounds" series, and was a leading light in jazz.How many artists owe a debt of gratitude to Charles? To even start a list would be to trivialize his impact.As usual, Rhino has done a superlative job of selecting virtually every top forty hit from a decades-spanning (& label-crossing) career. From 1953's "Mess Around" to the mid-80's duet with Chaka Khan, produced by the man he mentored, Quincy Jones.It is cliche to say when a famous person dies that we will never see his like again. With Ray Charles, that is a certainty."
A terrific tribute to the late great Ray Charles!
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 10/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The two CD set is a very fine tribute to the late Ray Charles. Although it contains his "ultimate hits" only, don't let that stop you--the complete gamut of Ray's brilliance is presented here. From the sexual "Mess Around" and "What'd I Say" to Ray's passionate and patriotic version of "America The Beautiful," this two CD set demonstrates the core of his ability to perform virtually any type of music. (He could also play classical music on the piano, just about the only style not included here.) Blues, country-western, jazz, romantic ballad--anything that could be done, Ray did to perfection!
I had some familiarity with Ray's work; but I learned so much more about him from this collection! His musical abilities are obvious throughout the two CDs. He can sing, play piano, use back up singers very well, and even do an awesome job with the instrumental "One Mint Julep." Listeners also get the treat of hearing Ray collaborate with Willie Nelson for the song "Seven Spanish Angels." Ray also worked with Quincy Jones and Chaka Khan to do "I'll Be Good To You."
Rhino went further, however, in adding a 48 page booklet by David Ritz detailing the events of Ray's childhood years as well as all the pertinent developments during his over five-year career. The book is well written and there are terrific black and white photos in the booklet of Ray with Frank Sinatra, Percy Mayfield and many others. One minor disappointment: almost all of the personal events of Charles' life are written of his childhood; there are only three or four very brief passing references to his personal life after that.
In addition, there are some nice pictures of Ray on the CD covers and the recording dates of each song are also listed in the 48 page book. The sound quality is excellent and the songs are almost entirely presented in chronological order.
I would highly recommend this two CD set and booklet for any Ray Charles fan, obviously, but also for fans of classic R&B and soul. There isn't much of his work here before 1954, but this still stands as the clear superlative anthology of his work that you could get in a two CD set. Fans of the "crooners" may also delight in Ray's talents! I write this as the 2004 holiday season approaches--and, even if it weren't this time of year--this also makes a great gift! A BUY! GRIN