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20 August 2010

Ray Charles Is In Town - Chronology 1952

12 January 1952
Billboard The Year's Top Rhythm & Blues Records, Retail Sales puts Baby, Let Me Hold Your Hand on # 29.

13 to/and/or 20 January 1952
At Sunset Terrace, Indianapolis (IN) ("The addition of Ray Charles, sensational blind vocalist and pianist, as an added attraction to the Lowell Fulson band, is a thing about which the whole country is talking. Now on a dance and theater tour which will take them through most of the 48 states"; cf. this).

February 1952
Northeast circuit with the Howard in Washington, the Royal in Baltimore, the Earle in Philadelphia, the Apollo in New York (billed with The Orioles; see below), and then with The Dominoes in the Circle Theater in Cleveland and the Regal in Chicago.
Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic buys Ray's recording contract from Lauderdale.

16 February 1952
Billboard lists and reviews "Ray Charles Ork", Kissa Me Baby ("the ork and the chanters' spirit are formidable, but the material is just average") / I'm Glad For Your Sake ("pleasant wax").

Review in Cashbox, Feb. 23, 1952.
29 February to 6 March 1952
Billboard announcement: "Lowell Fulson Ork and Ray Charles band are set for a battle of music at the Apollo Theater […]"; bill headed by The Orioles.
  Ad in New York Amsterdam News: "Ray Charles, Blind Pianist", featured in Lowel Fulson Band; also with Hal Singer and his band, Jackie Mabley, Anita Echols, John Cirillino.
15 March 1952
Billboard news - "Swing Time recording artists Ray Charles and Lowell Fulson [...] will headline an all-disk artist package that will make a swing of the Eastern r&b theater route including the Apollo in New York and the Howard in Washington D.C.

April 1952 
String of one-nighters with Joe Turner, a.o. Dallas, Oklahoma City.

11 to 16 or 17 April 1952
Regal Theater, Chicago (IL) as Lowell Fulson band's pianist; co-billed with Sugar Chile Robinson, Hal Cornbread Singer and his band, featuring Carleton Coleman, Lili Green, The 3 Buddies, Emil & Evelyn, Howell & Browser.
Ad from Chicago Defender, Apr. 12, as collected by Franz Hoffmann, in: Jazz Advertised.
 4 May 1952
Sunset Terrace, Indianapolis (IN), with Joe Morris and his Apple Jackers ("that sensational pianist and vocalist"). Also read this.

 31 May 1952
Start of tour of one-nighters in Austin (TX), with Big Joe Turner.

Early June 1952
Plays piano with Joe Morris band.

23 June 1952
End of tour of  onenighters with Big Joe Turner in Little Rock.

July and August 1952
Signed on by Joe Morris as a pianist and second act for a tour in Utah.

19 July 1952
Billboard review - Baby, Let Me Hear You Call My Name ("The warbler tells about his baby in St. Pete, Florida, and backs himself on the guitar thruout. A pleasant item, for the southern market")  / Guitar Blues ("Charles gives this exciting instrumental waxing a lot of spark with a solid performance on his guitar while the ork comes thru with a strong beat. A good disk, especially for the South"). But see this.

Review in Cashbox, Jul. 26, 1952.
20 July 1952
Socializing with journalist Marion E. Jackson, orchestra leader Joe Morris, Laura Tate and owner Gus Hayes ay Lincoln Inn in Atlanta.

16 August 1952
Billboard news - "Joe Morris ork, singer Ray Charles and thrush Laurie Tate concluded a successful engagement at the Royal Peacock in Atlanta last week. The Morris crew will one-night thru the New York area during the month of August".

23 August 1952
Billboard Records to Watch lists: Hey Now / Baby Won't You Please.

Review in Cashbox, Aug. 30, 1952.

30 August 1952
Gig at Saturday Night riverboat cruise on the Chesapeake (VA) (with Paul Williams, Danny Cobb, Joe Morris, Laurie Tate).
Review of the single I Can't Do No More, backed by Rufus Beacharm Ork with Roly Poly, on Sittin’ In label (#651).

Review in Cashbox, Aug. 30, 1952.
From Cashbox, Sep. 27, 1952.

3 September 1952
Contract with Atlantic signed. See this.

6 to 7 or 8 September 1952
Royal Peacock, Atlanta (GA); with Little Ella, Jimmy Lot Band, Tiny Bradshaw, Mable Scott.
From Atlanta Daily World, Sep. 6.
11 September 1952
Recording session at Atlantic in New York. Soon after this:  Release by Atlantic of the single Roll With My Baby / The Midnight Hour.  

12 - 25 September 1952
Flame Show Bar, Detroit.

20 September 1952:
Billboard reviews Hey Now ("rocker in the Vein of the Rubber Legs Williams of a few years back") / Baby Won't You Please ("sounds so very much like Nat Cole. Trouble is, Nat Cole is still around and kicking up a storm on his own”).

4 October 1952
First Atlantic ad for Ray Charles in Cashbox promoting Roll With My Baby and The Midnight Hour. A week later Billboard reports that Ray Charles has cut his first waxings for Atlantic Records.
On Otober 18 Billboard reviews the single: Roll Wit My Baby is "a spirited effort. Platter should do right fine on the coin boxes" / The Midnight Hour: "Charles projects his mournful blues effectively for a side that should win some attention".

From Cashbox, Oct. 4, 1952.
From Cashbox, Nov. 1, 1952.
From Baltimore Afro-American.
25 October 1952
Billboard ad - "Atlantic Has The Hits" - The Midnight Hour listed.

15 November 1952
Billboard The Dealers Pick Rhythm & Blues: #4: Let's Talk It Over [= Come Back Baby].

12 - 14 and 19 - 21 December 1952
Headlines two weekends at Pelican Club, New Orleans. (Louisiana Weekly: "Tears streaked down the eyes of the famous blues shouter", "the crowds whistled and cheered").
After this: a gig as an unbilled add-on to a Clovers/Lowell Fulson show in Houston.
(Around this time he may have witnessed a recording session of Zuzu Bollin, who played with David Fathead Newman and Leroy Cooper).

First time I know that this portrait photo (from late '50 or early '51) of Ray Charles was applied in an ad.

27 December 1952
Billboard review - Walkin' And Talkin' To Myself ("Charles puts his heart into this slow blues. Good rhythmic backing helps out") / I'm  Wonderin' And Wonderin' (“Another good effort by Charles, but performance outruns material").

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