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07 April 2010

Jimmy Scott, Falling In Love Is Wonderful (Ray Charles On Piano) (1962)

Front: photo not especially produced for this album; watch the Ray Charles albums on the floor. Was it from the same shoot as used in 1969 for the cover of  I'm All YoursBack: Jimmy Scott with Marty Paich and Ray Charles (L) and Gerald Wilson (R). 
  1. They Say It's Wonderful 
  2. I Wish I Didn't Love You So 
  3. There Is No Greater Love 
  4. If I Should Lose You 
  5. Why Try To Change Me Now 
  6. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You 
  7. Someone To Watch Over Me
  8. How Deep Is The Ocean
  9. I Didn't Know What Time It Was 
  10. Sunday, Monday Or Always
Jimmy Scott - vocals; Ray Charles - piano, a.o.
A-1, 5, B-4 arranged by Marty Paich; A-2-4, B-1-3, 5 arranged by Gerald Wilson.
Produced by Joe Adams; supervised by Ray Charles.
Recorded at United Recordings Studios, Hollywood, California in 1962, released in 1963 (on 22 June).

Vinyl: Tangerine, TRC 1501 (Monaural)/TRCS 1501 (Stereo), 1963.
CD (Limited release): Rhino Handmade, RHM2 7814, 2 September 2002.
CD (Europe): Rhino/Warner Music, 8122-736-43-2, 13 January 2003.

Based on liner notes by David Ritz:
Backside cover, detail.
Falling In Love Is Wonderful. A long-lost classic, this unabashedly romantic long-player was conceived by a Jimmy Scott fan known as Ray Charles.The year was 1962. Ray Charles was America's favorite singer. He'd recently released such career-defining albums as Genius Hits The Road, Genius + Soul = Jazz, and Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music. He'd even started his own record label, Tangerine. With the world at his fingertips, what Brother Ray really wanted to do was produce and play on an album of ballads by one of his favorite singers, Jimmy Scott.
This photo was clearly shot at the same session.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Scott was free as a bird -- or so he thought. Having sung with Lionel Hampton and Charlie Parker in the '50s, he was already a profound influence on artists like Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, and Nancy Wilson (you see, Jimmy had Kallman's Syndrome, which meant that he looked like a somewhat androgynous teenager and sang in a mostly female range). 
So Ray signed Jimmy to his new Tangerine label and assembled a project in the vein of Sinatra's sublime '50s work with Nelson Riddle and Gordon Jenkins. In fact, four of the songs on Falling In Love Is Wonderful were closely identified with The Chairman: Why Try To Change Me Now, Someone To Watch Over Me, How Deep Is The Ocean, and Sunday, Monday, And Always. Gerald Wilson and Marty Paich arranged the tunes, Joe Adams produced, and Ray Charles "supervised". As Wilson tells it in the liner notes to this reissue, "Ray supervised, but he did so from the piano. He played on every track. And he made sure we wrote charts that gave his piano space. If you listen to the record carefully, it's really a long and intimate conversation between Ray's sensitive piano and Jimmy's sensitive voice."
Unfortunately, Falling In Love Is Wonderful disappeared virtually as soon as it was released. A contract dispute arose with Jimmy's previous label, and Tangerine pulled the new record from stores. The collectors' market has valued existing copies in the hundreds of dollars, meaning that most fans have never been able to own this jewel of Jimmy's catalog. I guess we'll all just have to fall in love for the first time.
From the PBS documentary Jimmy Scott: If You Only Knew (2002; directed by Matthew Buzzell; with Dwayne Cook Broadnax, Michael Kanan, David Ritz; more here):
   [Video was removed from YouTube]

Through remarks from Joël Dufour, I learned that for this album two more songs were produced, which were never released: Just Friends and I'll Never Smile Again.
The orchestra tracks of these songs, plus 8 orchestra tracks from Scott's album were recycled in the production of organist Wild Bill Davis' album Wonderful World Of Love (Tangerine 1 509, 1972).

From an article by Ritz (published in The Guardian of David Ritz, in The Guardian of 9 January 2003):
"Charles thought Scott's problem was that he didn't have the right material. That was when he came up with the idea for Falling in Love Is Wonderful. 'My concept was romance,' said Charles. 'Make a romantic record you could listen to late at night with your lady. I wanted the kind of record you could play over and over again, where you wouldn't be bored and the mood stayed steady.'
Even now, Scott has clear memories of recording with Charles. 'We started off by going over to Ray's house every morning. Those were the hallelujah days for Ray, when he was still getting his daily high. Sometimes we'd have to wait for the man to arrive with the goods before Ray would be ready. Once he got fixed up and came downstairs, though, Ray was roaring. Not roaring to party, but roaring to work.
'The record was completed in just a few sessions. I don't think we did more than two takes on any one tune. There wasn't any overdubbing either. It was all-the-way live. The fiddlers were fiddling. Ray was playing, and I was singing, all at the same time. When we were through, everyone was thrilled - me, Ray and the arrangers. We knew we had a hit.' [...]
'When I saw Jimmy after so many years,' Charles told me, 'I remembered what a wonderful guy he is - and what beautiful music we made together. It was time to put out our record - and it sounds better than it did when we cut it 40 years ago.'"

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