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14 February 2010

A Message From The People (1972)

  1. Lift Every Voice And Sing
  2. Seems Like I Gotta Do Wrong
  3. Heaven Help Us All
  4. There'll Be No Peace Without All Men As One
  5. Hey Mister
  6. Look What They've Done To My Song, Ma
  7. Abraham, Martin And John
  8. Take Me Home, Country Roads
  9. Every Saturday Night
  10. America The Beautiful
Interview in Melody Maker,
Jul. 15, 1972.
In the spirit of early 1970s black music, Ray also had some messages to convey on this album. America The Beautiful, arranged by his good friend Quincy Jones, became Ray's 4th signature song (after What'd I Say, Georgia and I Can't Stop Loving You), in the last 30 years of his life. Ray removed some verses, and emphasized those that spoke about the beauty of the country and the bravery of the soldiers. "Then I put a little country church backbeat on it and turned it my way."
The album took "quite some years of preparation," Ray said at his first guest appearance at the Dick Cavett Show.

Recorded at RPM International in Los Angeles in 1972. Arrangers: Mike Post; Quincy Jones; Sid Feller.

The musicians remained uncredited. But Don Peake remembered playing his 1931 Gibson L5 acoustic on America The Beautiful, and Donnie Eubank played his congas on #6. Other session musicians: Freddie Hubbard, Joe Newman, Ernie Royal - trumpets; Hubert Laws, Jerome Richardson - reeds; Eric Gale, Jim Hall, Toots Thielemans - guitars; Carol Kaye (on #6, #7, #8 and #10), Bob Cranshaw, Chuck Rainey - electric bass; Ray Brown - upright acoustic bass; Grady Tate - drums; uncredited - strings; The Raelettes (almost certainly: Vernita Moss, Susaye Green, Mable John, and Dorothy Berry; maybe also Estella Yarbrough*).

* In April 1972 they performed a few of these songs in the Dick Cavett Show.

ABC/Tangerine 755, April 1972.


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