Ray Charles Genius Anthology CD
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Description & Features+
Recording information: Los Angeles, CA (02/18/1959); New York, NY (02/18/1959); Seattle, WA (02/18/1959); Los Angeles, CA (02/1949); New York, NY (02/1949); Seattle, WA (02/1949); Los Angeles, CA (02/20/1958); New York, NY (02/20/1958); Seattle, WA (02/20/1958); Los Angeles, CA (05/17/1953); New York, NY (05/17/1953); Seattle, WA (05/17/1953); Los Angeles, CA (05/26/1950); New York, NY (05/26/1950); Seattle, WA (05/26/1950); Los Angeles, CA (06/26/1959); New York, NY (06/26/1959); Seattle, WA (06/26/1959); Los Angeles, CA (10/28/1958); New York, NY (10/28/1958); Seattle, WA (10/28/1958); Los Angeles, CA (11/24/1950); New York, NY (11/24/1950); Seattle, WA (11/24/1950); Los Angeles, CA (1949-1951); New York, NY (1949-1951); Seattle, WA (1949-1951).
Ray Charles created such a huge body of innovative, genre-blending work over his 50-plus-year career that it is easy to forget about his earliest recordings. THE GENIUS ANTHOLOGY collects 20 tracks from the legendary performer's first ten years (1949-1959). Charles originally modeled his singing and playing style on Nat "King" Cole, and songs like "A Sentimental Blues" and "Don't Put All Your Dreams in One Basket" are smooth, nightclub ballads on the order of Cole. Accompanied by stand-up bass and mellow electric guitar (adding horns for some tunes, including "Late in the Evening Blues"), Charles croons softly in a way that seems restrained and tame compared to his material in the later '50s.
However, as early as 1951's "Kissa Me Baby," the raw, soulful vocal delivery that would become Charles's trademark is already in evidence. The songs begin to swing harder, and Charles's approach to phrasing and timbre loosen up considerably, incorporating gospel inflections and an improvisational flair. The punchy, bopping "Heartbreaker" shows the artist moving into his mature style, while the set's last four tracks--taken from 1958 and 1959--are classic, indispensable Charles. The wildly exuberant "What'd I Say" (Charles's watershed single and still one of his finest moments) is an appropriate ending to this dynamic, satisfying portrait of an artist discovering his voice and style.
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From the Manufacturer +
Q & A+