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27 June 2010

Remembering Ray Charles, A Four Part Documentary (1985, 2004/5)

Remembering Ray Charles, a.k.a. The Ray Charles Special is a 4-part radio documentary in the collection of the Museum Of Television & Radio, in their Listening Series (source: Paley Center, ID: R:26977G, 27677, R:27701, R:27679). Each episode is 1 hour long.
This four-part 1985 radio program produced by KCRW-FM celebrates the music and the life of Ray Charles. Host Roger Steffens speaks to Brother Ray candidly about his views on music, the business of show business, politics, racism, and much more.
Looking at the description of this other KCEW programme, I asume that this Remembering Ray Charles-series was a re-broadcast (maybe of a slightly re-edited version) of that 1985 documentary, and that it was actually broadcast after Ray's death, sometime in 2004 or 2005.

Part One: Music always seemed to take priority over whatever I was doing. Host Roger Steffens talks to Ray Charles about his first encounter with the piano, his family relationships, and his recollections of sight as a young child. In this segment, Charles also discusses his major musical influences, his struggles to succeed as an up-and-coming artist, and the reasons why he refused to ever record gospel music. Musical selections include What'd I Say (Part 1), Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand, Lonely Avenue, I've Got A Woman, and It Should've Been Me.
Part Two: There is nobody on this earth that knows what is going to hit - what we do is we have feelings. This segment focuses on the early years of Ray Charles's recording successes in the 1950s. Brother Ray also reflects on his collaborations with Atlantic Records founder and legendary producer Ahmet Ertegun, the cultivation of his unique style, his relationship with his back-up singers, and his reaction to meeting jazz pianist Art Tatum for the first time. Musical selections include Hallelujah I Love Her So, This Little Girl Of Mine, a live recording of Drown In My Own Tears, I Just Don't Want You No More, and Georgia On My Mind. 
Part Three: I try to be an entertainer. I try to play music and sing songs. I do not try to tell nobody what their political influence ought to be... I just play music. During this segment, Ray Charles talks bout his political views and particularly how he feels about criticism leveled at him after he played a concert in South Africa in the late 1970s. Ray Charles also considers the turn his career might have taken if he had not lost his vision. Musical selections include Hit The Road Jack, Unchain My Heart, You Don't Know Me, Born To Lose, Busted, I Can't Stop Loving You, Baby It's Cold Outside, and a live recording of Let's Go Get Stoned.
Part Four: If you can bring out the emotions in me from what you are doing -- that's soul. This final installment focuses on Brother Ray's encounters with the world of advertising; his feelings about having his dreams come true; his surprise upon meeting Presidents Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan; and his definition of soul. Musical selections include Oh, What a Beautiful Morning, Seven Spanish Angels, [A Bit Of Soul], and America The Beautiful.

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