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19 August 2010

Ray Charles Is In Town - Chronology 1950

From Roy Porter's autobiography: about meeting Ray in Oakland, in 1950 (his association of Charles with the Ray-o-Vacs is a false memory).
1950
Born: daughter Evelyn Robinson (to Louise Mitchell).
Release [often also dated "1949" or "1950 - 1952"] of the single Sittin' on Top of the World (Now She's Gone) / I've Had My Fun (Going Down Slow)

28 January 1950
PR article on Maxim Trio in New York Amsterdam News, Jan. 28, 1950.
May 1950
First recording with an orchestra line-up, in LA.
Release of the singles All To Myself / I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now.
Ray leaves Seattle, takes train to LA. 

26 May 1950
Recording at Universal Recording studio in LA, backed by eight-piece band.

27 May 1950
The Savoy in Oakland, playing piano with Lowell Fulson band; hear Fulson talk about old days here.
Saophonist Earl (Singers) Brown recounted: “Ray was only 20 years old and was invited to be part of the tour group as the piano player and added attraction to the Lowell Fulson Band. We left LA with an eight piece band and performed in every state of the U.S. for two years in a row, then went back into the studio to record ‘Reconsider Baby’, ‘Guitar Shuffle’ and ‘Lonesome Christmas’ [Charles wasn't part of this recording. BS]. Ray was two years older than I was. We were the youngest in the group, so we became good friends. We always roomed together and sat with each other on the bus,” said Earl. It was during these years while on tour that they used to let Ray drive late at night when there were no cars on the road,” Earl recalls. “I would direct Ray’s driving by rubbing his neck and shoulders. The last time we let Ray drive was in LA after he almost hit a fire hydrant.”

Late June 1950
A string of one-nighters across Southwest, with Fulson.
           
1 – 2 July 1950
Joe's Skyline, Oklahoma City.
Then moving East, touring.

August 1950
Release of the single The Ego Song / Late In The Evening Blues.
Shaw Artists take over Waller contracts, including Ray's:
From Billboard, September 2, 1950.
18 August 1950
Handy Theatre, Memphis.
Memphis World: "Ray Charles, Blind Pianist With Lowell Fulson, Opens st Handy Theatre.
One of the outstanding features of the Lowell Fulson show opening tonight at the Handy Theatre, is
the sensational Ray Charles, vocalist and pianist.
Charles, who has been blind since infancy has overcome his physical handicap and mastered the keyboard in a way to make normal people ashamed of themselves. He plays for singers and dancers without difficulty and it is truly amazing at the ease with which he performs.
In addition to Ray Charles, Fulson will feature the comedy team of Leonard and Leonard, Kitty Stevenson and the personable M.C. Willie Smith, [Rambles] tonight and Saturday.

September 1950
Weekend gig in New Orleans.

October 1950
Touring in Texas (T-Bone Walker and Joe Turner sometimes added to the bill).

29 October 1950
Elks Ballroom, Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Sentinel calls Ray "another George Shearing".

30 October 1950
Battle of the bands with Lowell Fulson and Bull Moose Jackson's Bearcats at Oakland Auditorium (also see sub November 9), "before 7,300 howqling fans".

November 1950
Release of the single Lonely Boy / Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand
and I'll Do Anything But Work / Someday.

9 November 1950
"Lowell Fulson and Bull Moose Jackson's Bearcats tangle in a battle of the bands" at Avodon Ballroom in Los Angeles.

24 November 1950
Recording at Universal Recording studio in LA; trio setting with Oscar Moore on guitar and Johnny Miller on bass, to be released as a Maxim Trio record. Fulson's "is a double-barrel attraction with Ray Charles, the gifted blind pianist, doubling on the vocals and tickling the ivories".

December 1950
Touring with Fulson again.
Swing Time Xmas ad in Billboard. 
5 December 1950
Battle of the bands with Lowell Fulson and Bull Moose Jackson's Bearcats at Pacific Square Ballroom in San Diego.

Publicity photo portrait, often dated with 'circa 1950'; first known application in poster is from 1951.

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