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03 February 2010

Ray's Moods (1966)

During his rehab-year off - without any live gigs to speak of - in 1965, Ray spend a lot of time in his studio. These sessions resulted in an avalanche of singles and three albums, each - seemingly - with a random distribution of songs*: Country & Western Meets Rhythm Blues a.k.a. Together Again (1965), Crying Time (Jan. 1966) and Ray’s Moods (Sep. 1966).
*As observed by Joël Dufour.

  1. What-Cha Doing In There (I Wanna Know)
  2. Please Say You're Fooling
  3. By The Light Of The Silvery Moon
  4. You Don't Understand
  5. Maybe It's Because Of Love
  6. Chitlins With Candied Yams 
  7. Granny Wasn't Grinning That Day
  8. She's Lonesome Again
  9. Sentimental Journey
  10. A Born Loser
  11. It's A Man's World
  12. A Girl I Used To Know
It's a richly varied album, with some ballads, some country, some Raelettes-powered R&B, and an instrumental penned by Ray. Recorded at RPM International in Los Angeles, with members of The Ray Charles Orchestra, session musicians and The Raelettes. 
Song #3 was recorded at United Studios in Hollywood in June 1965, the other tracks at RPM International in Los Angeles (in the first fall session of 1965: #5 and 7; in April 1966: #9; in June 1966: #4 and 10; in August 1966: #2, 6, 8, 11, 12; between August and September: #1). All these tunes probably had Rene Hall on guitar, and Earl Palmer on drums (except for #12, where Hal Blaine played drums). From June 1966 on the sessions had Carol Kaye on electric bass. The instrumental Chitlins With Candied Yams (#6) has a great organ piece by Billy Preston* (he's also on #12, but Ray played the organ on #4).

Sentimental Journey (#9) was recorded in April 1966. With all or most of the following musicians: Preston Love on alto, Leroy Cooper on bari, Rene Hall on guitar, Carol Kaye on bass, Earl Palmer on drums, and The Raelettes (Merry Clayton, Gwen Berry, Clydie King, Lilian Fort or possibly Edna Wright).
A Born Loser (#10) was recorded in June 1966. With uncredited horns, Rene Hall on guitar, Carol Kaye on bass, Earl Palmer on drums, and The Raelettes (as above).

ABC/Paramount/Tangerine 550, [September] 1966**.

* Sounding a lot like Ray, though! ** The official Ray Charles website dates the release in July '66, but this can't be correct. Even more confusingly, Billboard on April 2, 1966 mentions a #13 position (from #13 the week before, after a 4-week run), then lets the album disappear for a few months, to let it return on October 1, 1966 as a newcomer and a fast mover on #25 (peaking on #7 on November 19, 1966). All about that April chart is corrupt; the October score is entirely credible. Conclusion: the album came out in late September.

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