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

28 February 2010

Ray Charles' Death & Memorial Service

The program of the memorial service was published here. I found some announcements of a live stream of the memorial service, on the website of KKJZ, but I don't know if it was audio or video. A 2-hour DVD with the integral memorial service, as it was broadcast live by ABC, is sometimes offered on Ebay.

Legendary Singer Dies (NBC Look back, 2004): here.
A Look Back At The Life Of Ray Charles (MSNBC 2004 Bio): here.

Charles Crossed Generations (MSNBC 2004 Bio):

Legendary career (MSNBC, 2004):

Death Of Ray Charles (CBS news):

Death Of Ray Charles (Entertainment Tonight):

Death Of Ray Charles (news):

Ray Charles Memorial Service:

Ray Charles Memorial Service:

Ray Charles Memorial Service:

David Fathead Newman:
Joe Adams before court (2005):

Documentary - Ray Charles, Genius

  1. Meet The Experts
  2. There Is Only One Ray Charles
  3. Modern Sounds in Country And Western Music
  4. Don't Give Up On Detroit (ft. Marcus Belgrave)
  5. A Message From The People
  6. The Real Ray Charles, According to Mike Post
  7. Have Piano Will Travel
  8. On The Road With Ray Charles
  9. Playing With Ray Charles
  10. A Window To His Soul
  11. Digital Ray
  12. Ballads
  13. Takin' Care Of Business 
  14. Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters 
Concord 2009-06-02 - 2009-10-06.
Produced and edited by Bret Primack.

Meet The Experts

There Is Only One Ray Charles

Modern Sounds in Country And Western Music

Don't Give Up On Detroit (ft. Marcus Belgrave)

A Message From The People

The Real Ray Charles, According to Mike Post

Have Piano Will Travel

On The Road With Ray Charles

Playing With Ray Charles

A Window To His Soul

Digital Ray


Takin' Care Of Business

Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters

10 PR Rare:

The Making of Rare Genius:

Rare Genius - Goin' Country:

Ray Charles and Johnny Cash:

Fathead (Ray Charles Presents David Fathead Newman)

  1. Hard Times
  2. Weird Beard
  3. Willow Weep for Me
  4. Bill for Bennie
  5. Sweet Eyes
  6. Fathead
  7. Mean to Me
  8. Tin Tin Deo
By 1958 the "Ray Charles Sextet" (as it was sometimes announced) sounded at least as good as any of the other well known bands of the era - the Horace Silver group, the Art Blakey group, Cannonball's groups, or the Blue Note groups with Kenny Dorham and Joe Henderson. Ray Charles concluded that his 'small big band' was ready for a jazz album. David Newman's soloing took it to an even higher level.

The title Weird Beard was a reference to Marcus Belgrave's goatee.

David Newman - tenor saxophone (tracks 2, 4, 5, 6, 8), alto saxophone (tracks 1, 3, 7); Ray Charles - piano; Marcus Belgrave - trumpet; Bennie (Hank) Crawford - baritone saxophone; Edgar Willis - bass; Milt Turner - drums. Arranged by by Hank Crawford.
Recording Engineer: Tom Dowd. Recording Date: November 5, 1958 at Atlantic Recording Studios, New York.
Album: Atlantic 1304, January 1960.

Hard Times (from a Fathead gig at Fort Worth, in 2007):

Tin Tin Deo: audio here.

Ray Charles À Paris - Les Concerts À La Salle Pleyel 1968 Et 1969

DVD bootleg, cover art.
Through the years Ray Charles frequently performed in Paris. From the mid  '60s to the mid '70s La Salle Pleyel was the favorite concert venue. On 8 & 9  October 1968 and in early October 1969 (for a full week) he gave his concerts at La Salle Pleyel.

Ina has databased several ORTF programs related to the 1968 and 1969 concerts:
  • On 11 October 1968 TF 1 aired Midi Magazine, with a Ray Charles item (Ina ID CAF97520253).
  • On 12 October 1968 TF 1 broadcast  Samedi Et Compagnie, where Ray Charles was "present" and was probably interviewed (Ina ID CPF86637153).
  • Also on 12 October they aired a 40 minute concert, Ray Charles, His Orchestra And The Raelettes (Ina ID CPF86650520; parts of this program were also databased under the ID numbers I00005148, I00005151, I00005153, I00005154, I00005155, I05271421, I05271422).
  • It looks as if this same show was broadcast again by TF 1 on 26 October 1968 (Ina ID CPF86644394).
  • On 7 October 1969 TF 1 again made Ray Charles subject of an item in Midi Magazine (Ina ID CAF90011598). On the same day they broadcast an interview recorded in Salon de Provence. They also showed a performance, filmed somewhere in France, of Hit The Road Jack (also see the bonus track coming with the video of the 1969 concert, below). Also read this.
  • A 40 minute recording of the concert was aired by TF 1 on 1 November 1969 (Ina ID CPF86644399; rushes and backstage materials are filed in Ina under the numbers I00005219, I00005220, I00005222, I00005223, I00005224, I00005225).
  • TF 1 aired a 39 minute selection of the 1969 concert on 19 September 1970, entitled Ray Charles. Source: Ina, ID CPF86644396. Ina also stored a series of rushes and rest materials, with the following IDs: I00005198, I00005199, I00005200, I00005201, I00005202, I00005203, I00005206, I05050516.
A double DVD bootleg of the 1968 concert recording and one of the 1969 performances was sold via Ebay a while ago. Currently the files are circulating as torrents. Many of the tunes frequently appear on YouTube, but this is diligently policed (explaining any missing or defunct clips below).
Except for the shared location, the similar provenance, and the combined distribution of the bootlegged footage, there's no objective reason to review them together. The sets were quite different, and between the concerts there were also many changes in the orchestra's personnel and the Raelettes' line-ups.

Personnel 1968:*
Musicians: Wallace Davenport (bandleader), Phil Guilbeau, Virgil Jones, David Philips - trumpet; Fred Johnson, Jay Clyde Miller - alto saxophone; Nathan Davis, Daniel Jackson - tenor saxophone; Leroy Cooper - bariton saxophone; Henry Coker, Glenn Childress (and Fred Murrell?)** - trombone; Billy Preston - organ, Fred Robinson - guitar, Edgar Willis - bass, Roger Humphries - drums. The Raelettes: Verlyn Flenaugh, Susaye Greene, Barbara Ann Lesure, Barbara Nell Terrault.

Personnel 1969:*
Johnny Coles, Bill King, Marshall Hunt, Blue Mitchell - trumpet; Edward Lee Comegys, Henry Coker, Glenn Childress, Joe Randazzo - trombone; Curtis Peagler - alto saxophone, Jay Cloyd Miller - alto saxophone; Andy Ennis, Albert McQueen - tenor saxophone, Leroy Cooper - bariton saxophone; Ben Martin - guitar, Edgar Willis - bass, Ernest Elly - drums. The Raelettes: Mable John, Susaye Greene, Vernita Moss, Estella Yarbrough.
*Kindly provided by J.P. Vergier - see comments; (more) corrections welcome! **Bones: conjecture by Ken Tussing.

8 October 1968:
The set list of this televised concert was quite unusual - with a series of tunes that Ray rarely (or not) played live elsewhere, an instrumental 'ín the middle' of the concert (#8), and Susaye's operette-like solo on My Funny Valentine. For My Soul (track #6) read this.
  1. Intro
  2. Swing A Little Taste (with Ray Charles Orchestra) 
  3. The Bright Lights And You Girl (with aborted sax solo)
  4. Georgia On My Mind
  5. The Sun Died
  6. My Soul
  7. Yesterday
  8. Soft Winds (with Ray Charles Orchestra; solo Virgil Jones) 
  9. Going Down Slow (with Billy Preston) 
  10. Sweet Young Thing Like You (with The Raelettes)
  11. My Funny Valentine (ft. Susaye Greene) 
  12. Tell All The World About You 
  13. A Tear Fell (with Billy Preston)
  14. Eleanor Rigby
  15. (Baby Please Don't Go intro +) What'd I Say
  16. Outro + extensive good bye in French*
* Ray's closing statement: "Bonne nuit - oh LORD!"

9 October 1968
The (or a?) concert on this day was broadcast by radio station Europe-1. From their vaults comes a partial selection with the following tunes:
  1. Swing A Little Taste
  2. The Bright Lights And You Girl 
  3. Georgia On My Mind 
  4. Margie
  5. The Sun Died
  6. My Soul
  7. I Don't Need No Doctor
  8. My Funny Valentine
  9. Eleanor Rigby
  10. What'd I Say
  11. Outro
What's listed here as What'd I Say (#10) was in fact an extremely cool and funny, highly improvised extravaganza, evolving as an 8-minute battle between Ray and the orchestra, full of wild style quotes, only eventually culminating in an inspired but regular version of What'd I Say.

One more tune from 1968
One more tune, probably from one of the La Pleyel concerts in '68, has survived from the Europe-1 vaults: an attractive up tempo version of You Are My Sunshine. Here you can listen to it.

Photos dated October 10: Gamma/Getty.
Early October 1969:
On Monday 6 October, Tuesday 7, Friday 10 and Saturday 11 October 1969 Ray Charles gave 4 double concerts* at La Salle Pleyel. The TV taping by ORTF had two superimposed titles: Ray Charles Show, and Ray Charles À Paris. The concert is cross-cut with some nice documentary footage: Ray stepping into a car, and Ray backstage, nervously smoking his usual last pre-concert cigarette, just before he joins in on stage with Doot Doot Dow. Production credits: Frank Ténot, Daniel Filipacchi and Jean J. Celerier; directed by Guido Frasca. Additionally, Frank Ténot interviewed Ray before the concert, in his hotel room.
In an announcement in Jazz Hot magazine from October 1969 (#171) Norman Granz was credited with a production role as well (as the tour impresario). Europe 1 was credited with "le patronage" (to be translated as "auspicies") of the concerts - which may mean that one or more parts of the concert series were also aired on radio.*
The structure and contents of the concert are a-typical, with lots of room for instrumentals where you normally wouldn't expect them (#4, #12), and with plenty exposure for reed and brass soloists.
Ray finished with some falsetto scatting in the outro - I've rarely heard him doing that before. The 'bonus track' mentioned below (#17 on the track list of the DVD bootleg) comes from a broadcast on 7 October 1969 by TF 1 (Midi Magazine, INA ID CAF90011598, also mentioned above).
*Information kindly provided by J.P. Verger.
  1. I Remember Clifford (Ray Charles Orchestra, solo Johnny Coles on trumpet)
  2. La Bruja Negra (Ray Charles Orchestra, solo Andy Ennis on tenor sax and Blue Mitchell on trumpet)
  3. The Shadow Of Your Smile (Ray Charles Orchestra, solo Curtis Peagler on alto saxophone) 
  4. Doot Doot Dow (with Ray Charles Orchestra, Ray Charles solo on alto saxophone)
  5. The Bright Lights And You Girl 
  6. I Didn´t Know What Time It Was (solo Blue Mitchell on trumpet)
  7. Georgia On My Mind 
  8. Hallelujah I Love Her So
  9. Am I Blue (solo Johnny Coles on trumpet)
  10. I´ve Got A Woman 
  11. Yesterday
  12. This Here (with Ray Charles Orchestra, solo Andy Ennis on tenor saxophone and Leroy Cooper on baritone saxophone)
  13. Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers (with The Raelettes) 
  14. Baby Please (with The Raelettes)
  15. What'd I Say
  16. Outro
  17. Straight No Chaser (The Ray Charles Orchestra) 
  • Hit The Road Jack [Bonus track]
The first clip below is an interview from November 1969, before one of Ray's concerts at the Pleyel Room, probably in his hotel room. The interviewer is Frank Ténot, the voice over translation is done by Jacques Hess. (The footage is also on the bootleg DVD).

1968 [not 1969!!!] - edit in 6 parts (the 5th part with tunes #12 - 14 is missing):

1968 - The Sun Died:

1968 - Yesterday:
Watch here.
1968 - Going Down Slow:

1968 - Tell All The World About You, A Tear Fell:

1968 - What'd I Say:

1969 - edit with I Remember Clifford, La Bruja Negra, Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers, Baby Please, I´ve Got A Woman, Yesterday, This Here, What'd I Say:

1969 - Georgia On My Mind:

27 February 2010

Ray Charles Celebrates A Gospel Christmas (2002)

Original caption to this Reuters photo: "Singer Ray 
Charles poses at the piano at his Los Angeles 
recording studio August 21, 2002 to promote his 
upcoming Gospel music concert titled The Gospel
According to Ray Charles featuring the Voices of
Jubilation. Charles returns to his roots with this 
first ever Gospel music concert set for September 5 
and 6 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood 
accompanied by the 70 member Voices of Jubilation 
choir from Newark, New Jersey."
An audio version of this show located the concert at the Resch Center in Green Bay (WI), and dated the taping on 8 December 2002. The original plans were different (see caption, right). For this concert Ray Charles was joined by the 70-member* Voices of Jubilation Gospel Choir of Newark.

Ray's voice was frail those years, but in most tunes he wins the listener over by the force of his interpretations - and with some cool keyboard playing.

The footage has been re-released a few times, also abridged, and/or under different titles. The Deluxe Edition CD/DVD released in the winter of 2004 climbed to #2 on the Billboard Gospel Charts. Ray Charles, Jr. was a co-producer, Stuart Benjamin directed and was executive producer with Mike Parris and Jennifer Smith.

VHS: Urban Works, 7 October 2003, ASIN: B0000A2ZT8.

DVD: Urban Works, 23 November 2004, ASIN: B0002VEQKM.

Audio CD: EMI Records, 27 November 2006.

Read press release here. Also read this.

Ray appeared twice on stage, and performed:
  1. What Kind Of Man Is This
  2. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)
  3. All Night, All Day
  4. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (with Harold Dudley)
  5. Oh, Happy Day
  6. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
  7. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Stefanie Minatee; RC - kb)
  8. Silent Night
  9. Little Drummer Boy
  10. America The Beautiful
* Other sources say 100 or 120. 

Full DVD:

The following 1h4m version of the concert presents the materials as if Ray was guesting, but further below, I'm embedding audio files of the tunes (check YouTube for more video footage!):

Ray Charles In Concert (Miami, 1999)

  1. Baby Please Don't Go 02:07
  2. I've Got A Woman 03:20
  3. A Song For You 07:36
  4. It Hurts To Be In Love 13:24
  5. Georgia On My Mind 17:52
  6. The Good Life 23:20
  7. Your Cheating Heart 25:57
  8. They Can't Take That Away From Me 30:29
  9. It Had To Be You (with Diane Schuur) 38:24
  10. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To (with Diane Schuur) 43:05
  11. Till There Was You 48:16
  12. Say No More 52:06
  13. Blues For Big Scotia 57:04
  14. If You Go Away 61:07
  15. All I Ever Need Is You 67:35
  16. Love In Three Quarter Time 72:01
  17. America The Beautiful 75:05
  18. Outro 81:15 
Ray Charles - In Concert was a benefit for the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind at the James L. Knight Center. Diane Schuur's  contributions to songs # 9 and #10 were brilliant.
Ray was accompanied by a large symphony orchestra, his own rhythm section (Brad Rabuchin - guitar; Tom Fowler - bass; Peter Turre - drums) plus lead trumpet Roger Ingram, Steve Sigmund (tb) and Dante Luciani (tb); and Victor Vanacore (musical director). Sigmund was responsible for providing Ray with the PC88 because his own keyboard did not arrive from LA.
Brazilian CD (s.a.).

Produced, recorded and aired by WPBT Channel 2. The first air date (by PBS/WNET/Ch. 13) I found was 8 August 1999 (cf. this review). With some nice documentary footage of arrival, stage preparations, repetitions, etc.

DVD: Image Entertainment B000059H8R, 2001 (1999).
The track of It Had To Be You was also released on Diane's album Friends For Schuur (Concord, 2000).
In Brazil the concert was released as a CD by USA Records (300.045); tracks #1 and #18 were left out.

Integral concert:

It Had To Be You (with Diane Schuur):
You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To (with Diane Schuur):

Ray Charles Live At The Olympia (2000)

  1. Intro
  2. Untitled instrumental*
  3. Just The Way You Look Tonight (instrumental)
  4. Route 66
  5. A Song For You 
  6. Hallelujah I Just Love Her So
  7. Georgia On My Mind
  8. Stranger In My Own Home Town
  9. Angelina
  10. I've Got A Woman
  11. Hey Girl
  12. Almost Like Being In Love**
  13. Just For A Thrill 
  14. It Had To Be You 
  15. What'd I Say 
* Erroneously named Blues For Big Scotia on the DVD's tracklist. ** Erroneously titled Almost Like Being In Love Again.
    From Billboard, 15 Oct. 1966.
    On November 22, 2000 Ray Charles was supposed to play with his big band and The Raelettes, but due to an air traffic controllers lightning strike in Lisbon, his personnel was stuck at the airport. The day of the concert Ray arrived in Paris with only his rhythm section. They worked out a new show at their hotel, and came on stage late. The recording was directed by Gérard Pullicino.

    It resulted in a unique unplugged concert film. Tom Fowler stated, "Trouées! J'avais perdu mes chaussures dans les coulisses, mais j'avais retrouvé la joie de jouer avec Ray" (I've lost my shoes backstage, but I've found back the joy of playing with Ray).
    Jean-Pierre Grosz, Ray's agent in France and the producer of some of his last albums, insisted that this concert took place 40 years after his first triumph at the Olympia theater (where, in reality, Ray made his Olympia debut in 1962).  Read full story here (in French).

    Ray Charles, keyboards, vocal; Brad Rabuchin, guitar; Tom Fowler, acoustic double bass; Peter Turre, drums.

    DVD (including bonus interviews): Music Video Distributors, 2006 (2000). Audio CD: XIII Bis Records, 11 January 2005, 640543 2; ASIN: B0006B7IH6.

    (I've also found an (A+ quality) recording - possibly an audio bootleg - of this concert, where the first three songs (Blues For Big Scotia, The Way You Look Tonight and Route 66) are missing. This cut has kept the (brief) concert's intro (which hasn't been specified in the track list of the video release).

    Complete concert:

    Live In Montreux (1997)

    1. Forty Pound Limit (aka I Don't Know) (Ray Charles Orchestra) 00:12
    2. Intro 4:50
    3. Then We'll Be Home (Sadies Tune) 5:25
    4. Busted 09:40
    5. Georgia On My Mind 11:15
    6. Mississippi Mud 17:10
    7. Just For A Thrill 20:05
    8. You Made Me Love You 26:55
    9. Angelina 29:50
    10. Blues For Big Scotia 35:25
    11. A Song For You 39:25
    12. Do It To Me Slow [Raelettes intro] 45:25 
    13. Watch Them Dogs 46:05
    14. Shadows Of My Mind (ft Karen Evans) 50:30
    15. Smack Dab In The Middle 56:20
    16. I Can't Stop Loving You 59:00
    17. People Will Say We're In Love 63: 40
    18. What'd I Say 66:35
    19. Outro 70:20
    This concert was filmed at the Montreux Jazz Festival (Stravinski Auditorium) on July 19, 1997. DVD bonus features include a text bio and timeline. The highlight is the voice over track by the man himself, in which he offers anecdotes from the past, insight into specific songs, and a healthy dose of humor and soul. The Blu-Ray version of the DVD has 3 instrumental bonus tracks featuring the Ray Charles Orchestra:

    Get Adobe Flash player
     1. Just Friends (solos by Steve Elliott, Ken Scharf) 2. Beatrice (solos by Wayne Coniglio [arr.], David Hoffman) 3. Passeone Blues (solos by Rudy Johnson, David Hoffman, Ken Scharf).

    The Concert Database of the Montreux Jazz Festival gives the whole setlist with the original duration of all  (obviously un-edited) songs, and specifies the line-up.
    Joël Dufour and Steve Sigmund helped me to correct some omissions and misspellings.

    Personnel: Musicians: Ted Murdock, Roger Ingram, David Hoffman, Ken Scharf - trumpet; Mike Guerrier, Steve Sigmund, Clay Lawrey, Wayne Coniglio - trombone; Al Waters, Al Jackson, Steve Elliott, Rudy Johnson, James Farnsworth - saxophone; Kenny Carr - guitar; Tom Fowler - bass; Ernest Vantrease - keyboards; Peter Turre - drums. The Raelettes (f.l.t.r.): Estella Yarbrough, Katrina Harper Cooke, Kathy Mackey, Karen Evans, Tonette McKinney.

     Read this for the identification of the tune Forty Pound Limit.

    2004-11 DVD/CD, Geneon [Pioneer] B000667GDM.
    2006-06 DVD, SHE B0000648YH. 2007-10 DVD, Eagle Rock B000VZBCVU.
    2008-12 Blu Ray, Eagle Rock B001JL2V2E.

    And below is the basic concert as it was issued on DVD. The connectivity of this website isn't too good. If the stream loads too slow, it sometimes helps to go directly to the source.  

    Interview Comments On Montreux 1997:                
    [Currently not available on the web, BS].

    Ray Charles In A Romantic Evening At The McCallum Theatre (1991)

    This was a concert recorded on 21, 22 a/o 23 February 1991 in the McCallum Theater in Palm Desert, directed by Gary Legon.
    1. It Hurts To Be In Love
    2. They Can't Take That Away From Me
    3. If You Go Away
    4. Georgia On My Mind
    5. Eleanor Rigby
    6. It Ain't Easy Being Green
    7. The Good Life
    8. For Mamma
    9. Take These Chains From My Heart
    10. Your Cheating Heart
    11. All I Ever Need Is You
    12. America The Beautiful 
    13. Lay Around And Love On You (All I Want To Do Is --)  
    Ray Charles - vocal, piano, alto sax, electric piano; accompanied by Tommy Sheppard and his Orchestra; H.B. Barnum - conductor; David Rokeach - drums; Kenny Carr - guitar; Benoît Grey - bass.

    VHS: Atlantic/WEA, 11 June 1991, ASIN: 6302372097. Bravo had the U.S. cable TV premiere on 7 August 1993. Also released as Laser Disc.
    America The Beautiful was released as a VHS video 'single' on May 28, 1991 (UPC: 085365023338).

    The Good Life:

    All I Ever Need Is You:

    America The Beautiful (and more):

    Ray Charles Live In Paris (1989)

    Television registration directed by André Delacroix for FR3 of Ray Charles - The Man And His Soul (as his concerts in these years were announced) during the 15th Paris Jazz Festival (also titled Festival De Jazz or Jazz au Zénith "Ray Charles") at Le Zénith in Paris, on 5 November 1989, first broadcast on 11 July 1990.
    The footage comes from a 1h9m12s program, databased by Ina under the title Jazz At The Top: Ray Charles, presented by Julien Dellifiori, under ID CPC90006623 (there's also a clip with just Georgia On My Mind, ID I05056649). The setlist was*:
    1. Intro
    2. Then We'll Be Home (Sadies Tune)
    3. Busted 
    4. Georgia On My Mind
    5. Mississippi Mud
    6. Just For A Thrill (solo Jeff Kaye - fl)
    7. Feel So Bad (solos Kenny Carr - g; Ernest Vantrease - o)
    8. For Mamma 
    9. Don't Set Me Free (ft Estella Yarbough) (solo Mike Karn - ts)
    10. Any Way You Want To (with The Raelettes) (solo Kenny Carr - g)
    11. Smack Dab In The Middle (with The Raelettes) (solo Rudy Johnson - ts)
    12. I Can't Stop Loving You
    13. Knock On Wood (ft Trudy Cohran) 
    14. (All I Wanna Do Is) Lay Around And Love On You (solo Kenny Carr - g)
    15. What'd I Say
    16. Outro
    Musicians: Chuck Parrish, Jeff Helgesen, Ted Murdock, Jeff Kaye - trumpets; Steve Sigmund, Mike Guerrier, Marc Fields, Wayne Coniglio - trombones;  Craig Baily, Al Jackson (bandleader), Mike Karn, Rudy Johnson, Scott Frillman - saxophones; Ernest Vantrease - Hammond B3; Kenny Carr - guitar; Darren Solomon - bass; Jeff Ballard - drums. The Raelettes: Anita Brooks, Trudy Cohran, Kathryn Collier, Angie Workman, Estella Yarbrough.

    *Solos attributed by Jeff Ballard. **Line-up information kindly provided by Chuck Parrish and other members of the Ray Charles Orchestra.

    The show on November 4th was broadcast on radio, and archived by INA (ID PHY14002047):
    1. Fire Up (Ray Charles Orchestra)
    2. Pas-Se-O-Ne Blues (Ray Charles Orchestra)
    3. High On The Hogg (Ray Charles Orchestra)
    4. Intro RC
    5. Then We'll Be Home (Sadies Tune) [truncated after few seconds]
    6. Busted
    7. Georgia On My Mind
    8. Mississippi Mud
    9. Just For A Thrill  (solo Jeff Kaye - fl)
    10. Feel So Bad  (solos Kenny Carr - g; Ernest Vantrease - o)
    11. For Mamma
    12. Intro Raelettes
    13. Don't Set Me Free (ft Estella Yarbough) (solo Mike Karn - ts)
    14. Any Way You Want To (with The Raelettes) (solo Kenny Carr - g)
    15. Smack Dab In The Middle (with The Raelettes) (solo Rudy Johnson - ts)
    16. I Can't Stop Loving You
    17. Knock On Wood (ft Trudy Cohran) 
    18. (All I Wanna Do Is) Lay Around And Love On You (solo Kenny Carr - g)
    19. What'd I Say
    20. Outro
    Feel So Bad (Nov. 5):
    (All I Wanna Do Is) Lay Around And Love On You (Nov. 5):

    Ray Charles Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony (1981)

    This concert was recorded on 27 January 1981 at The Jubilee Auditorium, in Edmonton, Canada. The video was directed by John Blanchard and produced by Nicolas Wry. The first Canadian broadcast was on or around 6 August 1981.

    Ray Charles was accompanied by 'The ITV Concert Orchestra' (i.e. actually The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sid Feller, and enhanced with Ray's own rhythm section - Peter Turre, James Polk, Joe Harris, and Tony Matthews - while  "Dan Marcus, Mitch Manker, and Clifford [Solomon] were brought in as ringers for the horns (and Cliff rehearsed the non-string stuff, which Ray counted off anyway)."*
    The Raelettes were Stella Yarbrough, Madelyn Quebec, Trudy Cohran, Pat Peterson, and Avis Harrell.

    The playlist was:
    1. Intro
    2. Riding Thumb
    3. Busted
    4. Georgia On My Mind
    5. Oh, What A Beautiful Morning
    6. Some Enchanted Evening 
    7. Intro Raelettes
    8. Hit The Road Jack
    9. I Can't Stop Loving You
    10. Take These Chains From My Heart
    11. I Can See Clearly Now
    12. Lonesome Blue Yodel + I'm Gonna Keep On Singin' + Feel Good**
    13. America The Beautiful
    Magazine ad from 1985.
    First released on optical disc in 1982 as An Evening With Ray Charles by Optical Programming Associates (74-612 LV); and as such was featured in the Pioneer campaign in '84. In 1985 the concert was released by MCA on VHS (MCA also syndicated the show for TV; see ad). The latest release was on DVD (Eagle Rock, 21 September 2004, B0002WZTHA).

    * Information kindly provided by Peter Turre, who recalls that They Can't Take That Away From Me was also on the setlist. ** Improv with the Hank Williams tune, part of Keep On Singin' as we know it from Rare Genius, and a call & response-variation on What'd I Say (without even singing that line).

    Full concert:

    Ray Charles Meets Dizzy Gillespie (1978)

    Photos by Gérald Bosshard.
    Photo by Christian Eggenberger.
    Billboard of 8 July 1978 announced the event as the "[...] appearance of Ray Charles with an all-star band featuring Dizzy Gillespie [...] as a world exclusive". The Montreux Jazz Festival's database gives an exact date and location for Ray Charles' performance: 13 July 1978, at the Casino.

    Ray Charles played two sets. In one he took the stage alone, delivering a lengthy medley, accompanying humself on electric piano. In the other Dizzy Gillespie (tp), oldtime regulars Hank Crawford (as) and David Newman (fl, ts), a rhythm section with Mickey Roker (ds), Kenny Burrel (g), and George Duvivier (b), and (only partly, thank God) Esther Phillips joined Ray on stage. The gig is best known from a bootleggish CD, titled Ray Charles Meets Dizzy Gillespie (CD: Disk ID 1685304; Jazz File JF1005), with the following track list:
    1. Stormy Monday
    2. Georgia On My Mind 
    3. How Can You Get In (When You Get Out)
    4. God Bless The Child (ft Esther Philips)
    5. Hallelujah I Love Her So
    6. Blues Jam In F*
    7. Medley
    8. Salt Peanuts
    * Titled Ray Charles Blues in the Montreux Festival concert database.
    On video, the set with Dizzy sometimes looks like a desperate undertaking, first because of microphone problems, then because Roker and Duvivier have some serious troubles with keeping (Ray's!) time. I've never seen Brother Ray work this hard.

    The database of the Montreux Festival gives the  video footage in their vaults a total duration of 01:45:33.
    From the "Dizzy set" I saw a copy of a (probably not entirely legit) 71-minute DVD (see picture) with a good video quality, titled Ray Charles à Montreux 1978*. The credits at the end specify that the footage was taken from a broadcast by Télévision Suise Romande (TSR). The sound mix of the CD gave much more space to the response of the audience, but didn't balance the sound of the combo as well as the sound score of the DVD.

    The DVD has the following tracklist:

    1. Ray Charles Blues (also titled: Blues Jam in F)  (solos DN - ts; HC; KB; RC - p;  GD; MR, DG)
    2. How Can You Get Out* (solos DG; DN - ts, HC, KB)
    3. Georgia On My Mind (solo DN - fl)
    4. Autumn Leaves (solo DG)
    5. Willow Weep For Me (solo HC; RC - scat)
    6. Hallelujah I Love Her So
    7. Stormy Monday (solos KB; DG)
    8. God Bless The Child (Esther Phillips)
    9. What'd I Say (with EP)
    10. Medley
    11. Salt Peanuts (partial, 'under' credits)

    * This tune is at least 90% similar to Sonny Rollins' Doxie - did Ray improvise the lyrics?

    A good copy of the CD:

    Willow Weep For Me:

    * A while ago I also watched a copy of a 41-minute edit of this DVD, of a much lower quality.

    Ray's solo medley entailed fragments of:

    . I've Got A Woman
    . Hallelujah I Love Her So
    . Yesterday
    . Unchain My Heart
    . Don't Set Me Free
    . I Can't Stop Loving You
    - Hit The Road Jack
    . Crying Time
    . I Can See Clearly Now
    . Ruby
    . Interlude: "Feeling In My Bones"
    . The Sun Died
    . For Mamma
    . What'd I Say (Everything's All Right/Shake That Thing intro)

    Ad in New York
    Times, Dec. 7.
    Photo by Gérald Bosshard.
    The video footage has been recycled several times. This source announced a 2-hour video edit of the whole show, titled Ray Charles At Montreux, produced by Jack Sameth and John Adams, that was aired on 7 December 1978 by PBS.
    On 17 July 1978 the Swiss TV station Suisse Romande aired a 40-minute program titled Festival de Jazz de Montreux 1978: Reflets de la soirée Ray Charles. Source here.
    On 6 November 1978 the same station broadcast a 45-minute program titled Anatole: The Genius, with Ray Charles "et ses compagnons d'un soir au Festival international de Montreux". Source here.
    Source materials in Ina (ID CPB80054177; rushes and rest materials: I05062393, I05132653, I05244584) are filed under that same year.
    Another Ina file (ID CPB88014786) refers to a "second" Montreux programme that aired on 31 July 1980, also on TF 2.
    Footage from the concert was also broadcast in the U.S. The earliest air date I've found was 7 December 1978 (see ad).

    Missing tunes
    L-R: Dizzy Gillespie, Mickey Roker,
    George Duvivier, Ray Charles.
    The festival's Concerts Database mentions two tunes that didn't make it to any of the known (bootleg) releases: In A Mellow Tone and Thirteen Floor. It's uncertain if any audio or video of these numbers has survived.

    Off topic note:
    In 1964 Gillespie put himself forward as a presidential candidate. If he were elected, the White House would be renamed The Blues House, and a cabinet composed of Duke Ellington (Secretary of State); Miles Davis (Director of the CIA); Max Roach (Secretary of Defense); Charles Mingus (Secretary of Peace); Ray Charles (Librarian of Congress); Louis Armstrong (Secretary of Agriculture); Mary Lou Williams  (Ambassador to the Vatican); Thelonious Monk (Travelling Ambassador), and Malcolm X (Attorney General). His running mate would be Phyllis Diller.

    26 February 2010

    Soul Of The Holy Land - The Lost Concert (1972)

    The concert film Ray Charles: Soul of the Holy Land - August 1973 documents five concerts in Tel Aviv (and possibly also at other locations in Israel), and includes footage of the Genius visiting David Ben Gurion in his kibbutz, and touristic and religious sites in Jerusalem.
    Looking at the footage, it is obvious that this film was shot in the middle of the Israeli Winter, and not in "August"..., as the DVD title says. The two photos from this tour that were reproduced in Brother Ray, were both dated in (December) 1972. (This year is also  confirmed in the contemporary publications quoted below). So why-o-why was "August 1973" added to the title of the DVD?

    The December time frame is also confirmed by 3 articles and 3 letters to the editor in The Jerusalem Post. The first one announced Ray's arrival on December 8, "to film a television program Ray Charles in the Holy Land", appearing in concerts in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa.

    Photo prob. by Joe Adams.

    In his autobiography Brother Ray (1978) the Genius revealed that "Like my earlier film, Ballad In Blue, this movie was also under financed and never distributed. But I still had a ball making it [...]."

    The Tel Aviv auditorium looks so overcrowded in some of the scenes because the audience of an early concert wouldn't leave after their show was over. According to his own story, Ray suggested to the promoter to let them stay, but to ask them to give up their seats for the second audience shift.

    The Ray Charles Orchestra in Tel Aviv.
    The Jerusalem Post of 13 December reported that the "first audience refused to leave because the performance [at Jerusalem's Binyeni Ha'ooma ...] had begun an hour late, was cut to 45 minutes and was perpetually interrupted by television crews on and off the stage [...]. Several of these 45 minutes were taken up by a blind children's choir singing Jerusalem Of Gold for the benefit of the television show."

    In a follow-up story the next day, the same journal published an interview with Ray (conducted at the Hilton Hotel on the 13th), who stated that he kept to his contract and performed 11 numbers at his concert. "I returned to the stage at the end of my performance to thank the Israelis for their enthusiasm and apologize for the fact I could not sing any more. I was very tired after having flown to Israel directly after two performances and a recording in Los Angeles on Sunday night. However, when an obviously over-enthusiastic fan jumped on the stage, put his arms around me and kissed me, I had a feeling that real trouble might develop. The best thing was to get out at once." He also told the reporter that "the root of the trouble was the two-hour delay at Lod [Airport] going through customs and other formalities. Their El Al flight also arrived two hours late [... and as] a result, the first performance started well behind schedule and without adequate preparation."
    The journalist then quoted someone who had witnessed the evening: the "choir of blind schoolchildren were led onto the stage and with great difficulty grouped off to one side. [...] It was a painfully unrehearsed performance. [...] The feeling [of the audience] was that they had been gypped, that the show was more for the benefit of the four motion picture crews [...]."
    This story is confirmed by press agency JTA: "A riot was narrowly averted at the [Binyeni Ha'ooma] concert hall last night where the black American singer Ray Charles was giving a concert. The audience at the first show refused to leave the hall when it was over because an American television crew filming the performance had repeatedly disrupted the concert. The audience for the second show surged into the auditorium despite efforts by the ushers to keep them out. Fist fights broke out in front of the stage but more serious trouble was averted when the management decided to allow the first audience to remain for the second show. Members of the first audience who had paid high prices for admission were angered because the show was 45 minutes late in starting. They said that during the performance they were disturbed by lights held up by the TV crew and that prop men and technicians repeatedly traversed the stage. Charles refused to give an encore when the first show ended. The blind singer arrived here yesterday to make a film, Ray Charles in the Holy Land."

    In an interview from July 2004 The Raelettes' lead singer, Mable John, had slightly contrasting memories of the event: "It wasn't just the show but how they treated us and that gave me such a love for Israel. Our flight going into Tel Aviv was five hours late so it looked like we would have to perform in the same clothes we wore on the plane. There were people all around the building and we were supposed to do two shows. We went into a dressing room to freshen up and there were all these people on their knees outside the windows looking at us! Now it wasn't that they were trying to spy or see us without our clothes on – it was adoration! We finally got on the stage so late that we didn't do our usual part of the show and we were supposed to do a second show but the people from the first one wouldn't leave. We thought there was going to be a riot! Well, they let the people from outside in and they sat on and all around the stage - we did one show for two shows' worth of people in that room!"

    The film, as presented on the DVD, is an ever bigger mess than I already feared. Original rushes must have been mashed-up, probably more than 30 years after the date, by a cutter who had little or no insight in the chronology and who worked obviously without any script. The musical parts of the film do not come from 2 (as the DVD liner notes state) but from 5 different concerts. The climax is in the edit of What'd I Say, where we see a cross-compilation of scenes from the 4th, the 5th, again the 4th and the 3d concerts.

    Charles & Ben Gurion. Photos by Joe Adams.
    What Ray stated about the poorly financed status of the production is confirmed by the fact that the cited local production company, Israel Motion Picture Studios in Herzliya, does not seem to have survived the year 1974 (for their IMdB records see this). The credits mention Marco Sadde [sic, this should be Sade, BS] (producer), Zivi Ravit (script) and Amson Salamon (director of photography), none of whom seem to ever have made it to any other memorable credited role.
    In a few sources Gary Keys is credited for being the director of the documentary.

    Billboard, in its "Soul Sauce" column of 16 December 1972, had the following bits of information: "Joe Adams, who recently formed his own production firm, is filming a TV special, Ray Charles In The Holy Land, in Israel next week. Charles and his entourage are working three gigs."

    Variety magazine of December 20, 1972 announced that "Ray Charles in the Holy Land will be the title of a one-hour-plus 16m color documentary depicting the visit of the famous blues singer in Israel. He is giving five concerts in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa before the end of the year. The agreement [...] was signed between [Ruth Bowen's] Queen Booking Co. of New York on behalf of the singer and his Israeli impresario, Marco Sade, owner of Orot Habama productions in Tel Aviv. Rivka Moscowitz and Shimon Harama [...] will produce the documentary. The idea is to sell the film as a TV special to U.S. and other networks, possibly in connection with the 25th anniversary celebrations of Israel [...]."

    Back Stage magazine of June 29, 1973 had an article about Kolinor sound studios in Tel Aviv. "The producer of "Ray Charles in the Holy Land", a TV special produced in Israel by Ray Charles Enterprises, was similarly impressed with the quality of Kolinor's on-location recording. 'Unbelievable,' Joe Adams said when he heard the results. ([The program] will also be distributed commercially in color and for LP release under ABCs label." All this, obviously, never happened.

    If this all is true, then it may have been Adams' production company that ran out of money. My conjecture is that Brother Ray refused to allow the release of the film, and that Adams personally was involved in the sudden publishing of the video in 2004, after Ray died.

    The Genius was right. This film should have stayed canned.
    Remarkable: recent Japanese DVD 
    with correct year of concert.

    The correct order of the songs & scenes is:
      The 2004 DVD.
    1. EXT.: Landing of plane
    2. Interview at airport
    3. Nothing Wrong (trombone solo by Steve Turre) [concert #1]
    4. Intro [concert #1]  
    5. Marie [concert #1]
    6. The Long And Winding Road [concert #2]  
    7. [Intro The Raelettes] [concert #2]  
    8. Hold On, I'm Coming (Raelettes) [concert #2]  
    9. The Bright Lights & You  [concert #2]  
    10. EXT.: Plane & car trip to Negev, Ben-Gurion's kibbutz
    11. Conversation Ray and Ben-Gurion
    12. Let The Good Times Roll  [concert #3]    
    13. Ben-Guriun's Kibutz, Ray at piano, playing Hava Naguila and Heaven Help Us All
    14. Blues For Big Scotia (piano) + untitled instrumental (keyboards) from Genius + Soul? [concert #2] 
    15. Yesterday [concert #3]    
    16. Feel So Bad [concert #2]  
    17. Look What They've Done To My Song [concert #4]    
    18. EXT.: Street scenes Jerusalem, Ray sightseeing-by-touch in Church of the Holy Sepulchre, at mosque, and at Wailing Wall
    19. Shake (Raelettes) [concert #5]      
    20. I Can't Stop Loving You [concert #3]      
    21. So Soon (Henderson also singing) [concert #2]      
    22. What'd I Say [concert #4/5/4/3]    
    23. Outro (police on stage!) [concert #3]
    Musicians: Mike Conlon - cornet; Tommy Cortez, Joe Mitchell, (Brother) Day Kelly - trumpets; Glenn Childress; Al (Sanifu) Hall Jr., Fred Murrell, Steve Turre - trombones; James Clay, Don Garcia, Andy Ennis, Fred Smith, Leroy Cooper - saxophones; John Perrett - drums; Ralph Byrd - guitar; Edgar Willis - bass; John Henderson - piano, organ. The Raelettes: Vernita Moss, Mable John, Susaye Greene, Dorothy Berry, Estella Yarbrough.

    DVD: Xenon VXEN4312, 2004.

    1st Trailer:

    2nd Trailer (with small part of Nothing Wrong):

    The Long And Winding Road:
    Hold On, I'm Coming (Raelettes):
    Let The Good Times Roll:
    Chat with David Ben-Gurion:
    Hava Naguila:
    Heaven Help Us All:
    Feel So Bad:
    Look What They've Done To My Song:
    I Can't Stop Loving You:
    Blues For Big Scotia:
    So Soon; John Henderson sings and plays piano with Ray: