Ray Charles Video Museum

Mediagraphy - Discography - Trackography - Videography - Gigography - Biography - Chronology

14 June 2016

Ray Charles Live In Wantagh (1992)

On June 22, 1992 Ray Charles, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Dr. John and The Fabulous Thunderbirds were found jamming at the Downtime Bar in New York City, where they announced their Blues Festival '92 Tour. As far as I know the plans only materialized in a limited series of concerts in June and September.
On September 2 the group played the Jones Beach Amphitheater in Wantagh (NY). Ray's show was taped from the audience (in a reasonably good quality)*. The setlist was:
  1. Intro show
  2. Woody 'n' Bu (Ray Charles Orchestra)
  3. Intro Ray Charles 
  4. Then We'll Be Home (Sadies Tune)
  5. Busted
  6. Georgia On My Mind
  7. Come Rain Or Come Shine
  8. Teardrops From My Eyes
  9. Ellie, My Love
  10. The Good Life
  11. The Brightest Smile in Town
  12. Intro Raelettes
  13. I Want Your Love (ft Estella Yarbrough)
  14. I Can't Stop Loving You
  15. I Believe To My Soul
  16. What'd I Say
  17. Outro
The line-up must have came close to this: 
Ted Murdock, Ken Scharf, David Hoffman, Chuck Parrish - trumpets; Wayne Coniglio, Marc Fields, Mike Guerrier, Steve Sigmund - trombones; Steve Elliott, Al Jackson, Al Waters, Rudy Johnson, Jim Farnsworth - saxophones; Peter Turre - drums; Kenny Carr - guitar; Benoît Grey - bass; Ernest Vantrease - keyboards; The Raelettes: Trudy Cohran, Pamela Diggs, Paula Moye, AngieWorkman, Estella Yarbrough.
* Special thanks to George Rue.

Ray Charles In Q&A With UCLA Students (1983)

On May 10, 1983 Ray Charles received the UCLA Distinguished Humanitarian Award. The event was "attended by nearly 1,000 students who gave him a standing ovation" after an extensive Q&A where Ray tried to avoid his usual answers.
He was well aware of the challenge of reaching 1,000 people with just his speaking voice. The audio was recently digitized by the UCLA Communications Studies Department.

06 June 2016

Ray Charles And Wiley Pitman, His Protector

This remarkable commercial was made for TrustE's Tracker (protection) software.
Uroš Perić - vocals; John Fresk - piano; Graham Currie - bass; Peter Auret - drums.

The song, in Ray Charles' late '40s style (actually, borrowing some late '50s grunts), was written and arranged by Adam Howard. Recording date: April/May 2016; Adam Howard - sound engineer.

Ad Title: Wiley Pitman and Five Notes That Changed a Life. Client: Tracker South Africa. Director: Kevin Fitzgerald. Creative Agency: House of Brave. Executive Creative Director: Vanessa Pearson. Writer: Dan Parmenter / Stefanus Nel / Conan Green. Art Director: Thereza Norton. Production Company: 0307 Films. Recording Studio: Produce Sound. Executive Producer: Jo Barber.

21 May 2016

The Ray Charles Songbook

A worthy and fun tribute to Brother Ray (finally, after all these years!).

The show was staged twice, on May 20 and 21, 2016. Both programs were recorded on video and audio. The 20 May concert was broadcast by PBS (live on TV and on the web on the 20th; a few days later parts of the show were interwoven with interviews in a radio program). The audio can be listened to here:

Personnel: Chuck Parrish - lead trumpet; Kenny Rampton - trumpet, music director; Jim Seeley - trumpet; Elliot Mason - lead trombone; DuPor D Georges -trombone; Wayne Coniglio - bass trombone, arrangements, orchestrations; Sherman Irby - lead alto saxophone; Patrick Alexander Bartley Jr. - alto saxophone; Andy Farber - Tenor saxophone; Lauren "El Boogie" Sevian; Baritone saxophone; Ernest Vantrease - organ/keyboards; Roger W. Hines - acoustic and electric bass; Bill Sims - guitar, vocals; Jamison Ross - drums, vocals; Diane Schuur - vocals; Angela Workman, Renee Collins Georges, Katrina Harper - vocals, background vocals.

23 January 2016

Ray Charles Live In Geneva (1970)

On October 23, 1970 the Ray Charles Band played a concert at the Victoria Hall in Geneva. Don't miss the remarkable version of Going Down Slow, which included a solo on (muted) trumpet by Johnny Coles and some bone chilling notes added by Joe Randazzo on bass trombone (he even got a reprise) - I guess both to kill the off-beat clapping from the audience. Rather special is also Games People Play (so far only known from a performance with Andy Williams and Mama Cass), featuring Vernita Moss and Susaye Greene.
The concert was taped from the audience; the audio quality is reasonable. The setlist was:

  1. Unidentified instrumental
  2. Hallelujah I Love Her So
  3. Georgia On My Mind
  4. Marie
  5. Yesterday
  6. The Bright Lights And You Girl
  7. Going Down Slow
  8. Intro Raelettes + If You Were Mine
  9. I Can't Stop Loving You
  10. Show Me The Sunshine
  11. Eleanor Rigby
  12. Games People Play
  13. What'd I Say + Outro

Unidentified instrumental (with Genius Shout!):

Hallelujah I Love Her So:

Georgia On My Mind:



The Bright Lights And You Girl:

Going Down Slow:

Intro Raelettes + If You Were Mine:

I Can't Stop Loving You:

Show Me The Sunshine:

Eleanor Rigby:

Games People Play:

What'd I Say, Outro:

The line-up was probably identical to the personnel performing earlier that month, in Paris:
Johnny Coles, Bill King, Blue Mitchell - trumpets; Glenn Childress, Henry Coker, Fred Murrell, Joe Randazzo - trombones; Jay Cloyd Miller, Curtis Peagler - alto saxophones; Andy Ennis, David Newman - tenor saxophones; Leroy Cooper - baritone saxophone, band leader; Ernie Elly - drums; Ben Martin - guitar; Edgar Willis - bass; Truman Thomas - organ. The Raelettes: Susaye Greene, Mable John, Vernita Moss, Estella Yarbrough.

* Special thanks to Uroš Perić.

24 November 2015

Ray Charles Contributing To Smothers Brothers Show's Theme Song

Halfway through the production of the The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1967–1969) a theme tune (written by Perry Botkin, Jr., Mason Williams, and Nancy Ames) was introduced. While it became more and more popular, the stars who appeared on the show were asked to contribute to a montage, which probably was broadcast only once: during the very last show on April 20, 1969. Ray delivered his bit when he appeared on the show that was aired on January 19, 1969.
Among the other contributors I recognized The Smothers Brothers, Jackie Mason, Harry Belefonte, Nancy Sinatra, Donovan, Andy Williams, Victor Borge, Bob Einstein, Barbara Feldon, Bob Newhart, and Jonathan Winters.

25 October 2015

A Radio Commercial For An Integrated Ray Charles Gig In Memphis, 1961

This acetate belonged to Julie Wall, "a North Kesteven Council employee who rifled more than half a million in loose change from car park cash boxes – and spent the lot on Elvis memorabilia".
Sometimes collecting Elvis memorabilia turns out to be a relevant passtime. The B-side of this acetate is a promotional jingle for Ray Charles' August 20, 1961, concert at the Ellis City Auditorium, the first integrated gig in Memphis.
That may be special, but its A-side is much bigger Music History News: it's a so far unknown recording of Elvis Presley, singing Suspicion – three years before it was released as a single. The disk, made by the Tennessee radio station WHBQ, "is set to spark a bidding war when it goes under the hammer [...] on November 4".

On September 2, 1961, The New Pittsburgh Courier wrote:
"Last week down in Memphis, Ray Charles scratched a niche for himself in the history book of our times, when he became the first to ply his talent before an integrated audience in the heart of the segregated South. It was a dual victory. Even the "for colored only" signs in front of the ladies and men's rest rooms were discarded for his performance at the auditorium. Though blind, the "soul" singing pianist, was well aware that the entire house was well mixed looking like what a human American flag should. Another significant angle of the affair was that it was promoted by William Mitchell, owner of the Club Handy, who's also colored. It might be of interest to those died-in-the-wool segregationists to know that there were no incidents of any kind, as people, whom they said would never do it, sat side by side and exchanged the oohs and aahs of those caught up in the ecstasy of unadulterated good singing."
This photo, by Ernest C. Withers, was probably made at this Memphis concert (my source, though, says the picture is from December 1961). F.l.t.r. David Newman, Hank Crawford, Ray Charles, Leroy Cooper. Photo by Ernest C. Withers.
From Jet magazine, Aug. 14.
From Variety, Aug. 23.

14 October 2015

Ray Charles Live At Jazz In The Rockies (1982)

On September 4, 1982 the Ray Charles band performed at KUVO-FM's Jazz In The Rockies, in Winter Park (CO). The other acts were The Charlie Haden Quartet/Quintet, Art Blakey, Chick Corea/Gary Burton, Pat Metheny/The Charlie Haden Duo, Betty Carter and her Trio, and Jack DeJohnette's Special Edition.

Recently, a reasonably good 'audience taping' of Brother Ray's concert at the festival emerged. The setlist was without surprises:
  1. Intro Ray Charles
  2. Riding Thumb
  3. Busted
  4. Georgia On My Mind
  5. Oh, What A Beautiful Morning
  6. Just Because
  7. Some Enchanted Evening
  8. Intro Raelettes
  9. Guess Who I Saw Today
  10. Hit The Road Jack
  11. Crying Time
  12. Don't Change On Me (intro to #13)
  13. I Can't Stop Loving You
  14. I Want Your Love (EY - vo)
  15. Baby Please Don't Go
  16. What'd I Say
  17. Outro

Probable line-up*: Carmell Jones, Carlos Chavez, Brian Pearcy, Dean Congin - tp; John Boice, Dan Marcus, Mayo Tiana, Steve Davis - tb; Ricky Woodard, Brian Mitchell - as, Clifford Solomon, Rudy Johnson - ts, Leroy Cooper - bs; Ernest Vantrease - kb; Tony Matthews - g; Jeff Takiguchi - el-b; Rick Kirkland - dm. The Raelettes**: Trudy Cohran, Anne Johnson, Janice Mitchell, Elaine Woodard, Estella Yarbrough.

* Inferred from the line-up at the Constitution Hall concert on November 1, 1982. ** Specified in source materials.

28 August 2015

Ray Charles In An Early Seventies Concert

Episode 2 of Tony Palmer's series The Story Of Popular Music, titled God's Children - The Beginnings, has a rare color sequence, where Ray Charles and his keyboardist John Henderson deliver part of a concert's finale.
The footage is most probably from 1972, and may be related, somehow, to Gary Keys, who also claimed directing the failed documentary Soul Of The Holy Land - The Lost Concert.
Charles was also featured in part 5 of the series (Who's That Comin' - Blues), but I haven't been able to check that episode yet.

15 July 2015

Ray Charles Live In Ithaca (1984)

On November 8, 1984, the Ray Charles Group performed at Cornell University's Bailly Hall in Ithaca.* Someone in the audience had his Nakamichi ready to tape the concert.

The line-up of the band probably wasn't much different from the Warsaw concerts in late October:
Robbie Kwock, Mark Curry, Jim Seely, Jeff Kaye - trumpets; John Boice, Dan Marcus, Dan Weinstein, Dana Hughes - trombones;  Brian Mitchell, Clifford Solomon (band leader), Ricky Woodard, Rudy Johnson, Louis Van Taylor - saxophones; Bobby Floyd - organ; Dennis Nelson - guitar; Roger Hines - bass; Ricky Kirkland - drums; The Raelettes: Trudy Cohran, Anne Johnson, Janice Mitchell, Elaine Woodard, Estella Yarbrough.

The setlist was:

  1. Project S (Ray Charles Orchestra)
  2. The Time Is Right (Ray Charles Orchestra)
  3. The Shadow Of Your Smile (Ray Charles Orchestra)
  4. Sister Sadie (Ray Charles Orchestra)
  5. Intro RC
  6. Riding Thumb
  7. Busted
  8. Georgia On My Mind
  9. Oh, What A Beautiful Morning
  10. I've Got News For You
  11. Some Enchanted Evening
  12. She Knows (partial, truncated) 
  13. Alexander's Ragtime Band
  14. Guess Who I Saw Today
  15. Hit the Road Jack
  16. I Can't Stop Loving You
  17. Knock On Wood
  18. 3/4 Time
  19. Born to Love Me
  20. What'd I Say (intro: I'm Gonna Keep On Singin')
  21. Outro
* Special thanks to Nick Hoorweg for notifying me.