It was never my intention just to celebrate birthdays on this blog, but they've been coming fast and furious these past few weeks and I cannot ignore the fact that the great Ray Charles was born on this day in 1930. I don't think I need to go into the importance of Brother Ray. Anyone who frequents this blog knows why he's great through his nearly 50 years of recording and we've all seen the movie. His demand for perfection in the studio resulted in some of the greatest recordings of the last century. On a personal note I don't think there is another male voice in all of music that can stir emotion in me quite like Ray. I also tend to agree with his philosophy on labeling music just two ways : good and bad. Hell, I even named my dog Ray Charles! So enough of my yakkin', here's a few funkier selections from Ray that you may or may not have heard. Here's to The Genius.
Ray Charles: Living For The City
This groove is arguably deeper than Stevie's original. Released as a single in 1975, you can find this track on The 1997 Ray Charles box set Genius & Soul: The 50th Anniversary Collection.
Ray Charles: The Jealous Kind
You may be familiar with Joe Cocker's rendition of this Robert Guidry tune, but I think Ray really nails it. Released on his out of print 1977 LP True to Life. The album that includes an array covers from Johnny Nash to Lennon/McCartney to Gershwin.
Aretha Franklin & Ray Charles: Spirit In The Dark (reprise)
This one's a real treat also found on Genius & Soul. An outtake from Aretha Franklin's legendary show at the Fillmore in 1971. Even though he's not too concerned with the lyrics at the start their chemistry is undeniable as Ray takes over offering the hippie crowd a lesson in soul their sure not to forget. "I CAN FEEL IT!!!"