Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ray Charles - Modern Sounds In Country & Western Music

... issued in 1962 at the height of the Civil Rights Struggle. A black man singing white country music. Today it seems so ordinary and natural. I realize that young people today can't realize what a big deal this was, both musically and socially. There were white people and black people. White music and black music, even segregated radio. In New Orleans black artists couldn't play with white bands and visa versa. This was a game changer, a black soul singer singing country western standards. Every cut on this is so good it's almost silly. 
"The words to country songs are very earthy like the blues, see, very down. They're not as dressed up, and the people are very honest and say, 'Look, I miss you, darlin', so I went out and I got drunk in this bar.' That's the way you say it. Where in Tin Pan Alley will say, 'Oh, I missed you darling, so I went to this restaurant and I sat down and I had dinner for one.' That's cleaned up now, you see? But country songs and the blues is like it is." -Ray

Side one
"Bye Bye Love" (F. Bryant, B. Bryant) – 2:09
"You Don't Know Me" (Arnold, Walker) – 3:14
"Half as Much" (C. Williams) – 3:24
"I Love You So Much It Hurts" (Tillman) – 3:33
"Just a Little Lovin' (Will Go a Long Way)" (Arnold, Clements) – 3:26
"Born to Lose" (Brown) – 3:15

Side two
"Worried Mind" (Daffan, Davis) – 2:54
"It Makes No Difference Now" (Tillman, Davis) – 3:30
"You Win Again" (H. Williams) – 3:29
"Careless Love" (Traditional, Charles) – 3:56
"I Can't Stop Loving You" (Gibson) – 4:13
"Hey, Good Lookin'" (H. Williams) – 2:10

There were a series of Pepsi commercials some years ago featuring Ray and the Raylettes. They were young, slim and hot.  When I saw Ray Charles in person, the Raylettes were big ladies, not much to look at, even a little grim, but Lord they could sing. Hell, he was blind, not deaf. 

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