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24 April 2010

Ray Charles Ft. In Murray The K - It's What's Happening, Baby! (1965)

Murray the K (Murray Kaufman).
It's What's Happening Baby! is a TV special from 1965, a "swingin' soiree on behalf of the federal Office of Economic Opportunity", hosted by Murray "the K" (also read this) and featuring a who's who of mid-1960s artists.
A product of LBJ's Great Society, this TV special was produced in conjunction with the Office of Economic Opportunity, with a message telling teenage high school dropouts about all the government programs (like Job Corps) that could improve their lives.
Still from the show.
It was aired by CBS on 28 June 1965, directed by Barry Shear. The show featured performances by Jan & Dean, Mary Wells, The Dave Clark Five, Gary Lewis and The Playboys, The Supremes, Tom Jones, Bill Cosby , Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles, The Drifters, The Miracles, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, The Ronettes, Chuck Jackson, The Four Tops, The Temptations, The Righteous Brothers and Little Anthony & The Imperials, occasionally interspersed with Murray the K's public announcements urging the youth of America to pursue education and summer employment. Segments were filmed in New York City, Detroit and Los Angeles. The Fox Theatre in Brooklyn was the setting for the on stage New York segments. Lots of cool performance footage was filmed live on the streets of NYC. The show opens with the famous footage of Nowhere To Run performed by Martha and The Vandellas and filmed at a Mustang assembly line in the Ford River Rouge Plant in Detroit.
Senate Republicans, evidently not fans, denounced the show as "decadent" and "depraved".
Clipping from Jet, 1 July 1965.

"The whole program was tuned to the lowest type of beatnik appeal," senator Gordon Allot claimed. "If I were a communist, I would ask nothing better then to use this film as a tool by showing it to every country in Africa and the Far East," he told the Senate. "Every American who saw the film must be sick [...]."
An bootleg copy was released by 'Lady Goose Productions' in 2007 as a DVD titled: Murray the K & His 1965 Show of Shows. Historic Films has archived a reel (ID MK-1), describing the whole show, and specifying Ray's contribution to the finale with the song titles Cry (33 seconds) and What'd I Say (2m15s). At the Murray the K Archives you can watch a sample, and license the content.

Illegitimate DVD copies of the show are sometimes offered on the web. Also read this.

The complete list of acts was:

01. Intro
02. Martha & The Vandellas, Nowhere To Run
03. Jan & Dean, One-Piece Bathingsuit
04. Dionne Warwick, Walk On By
05. Herman's Hermits, Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter
06. Marvin Gaye, Pride And Joy
07. Cannibal & The Headhunters, Land Of 1000 Dances
08. Patti LaBelle & The Blue Belles, You'll Never Walk Alone
09. Little Anthony & The Imperials, I'm Alright
10. Tom Jones, It's Not Unusual
11. The Ronettes, Be My Baby
12. Johnny Mathis, Wild In The Wind
13. Chuck Jackson, I Don't Want To Cry
14. Mary Wells, My Guy
15. Johnny Rivers, Seventh Son
16. Bill Cosby, Shop Class Routine
17. The Temptations, The Way You Do The Things You Do
18. Gary Lewis & The Playboys, Count Me In
19. The Drifters, Up On The Roof
20. The Supremes, Stop! In The Name Of Love
21. The Miracles, Ooo Baby Baby
22. The Dave Clark Five, I Like It Like That
23. The Righteous Brothers, You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
24. Four Tops, I Can't Help Myself
25. Ray Charles, Medley

Lots of strangeness in this inscripted commercial for New Chance:

The complete show has popped up on YouTube a few times...  Just as with Ray's '65 Shindig appearance, Onzy Matthews acted as Ray's musical director (he possibly also handpicked the members of the band).
Regrettably, Ray's Cry (the only known live version!) has indeed been cut down to a little more than 30 seconds. What'd I Say was turned into a pandemonium.

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