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20 August 2010

Ray Charles Is In Town - Chronology 1959

Ray Charles' small band at an unidentified venue (late '58 or early '59). Standing L-R: Edgar Willis, Milt Turner, Ray Charles, David Fathead Newman: Sitting: Marcus Belgrave, Hank Crawford. From the 2-CD House of David, The David Fathead Newman Anthology (1994).

A gig at the Crescendo Club, West Hollywood CA (1959). F.l.t.r. Edgar Willis, Ray Charles, Teagle Flemming, David Newman. Photo by Gary Lewis.
Corbis dates this publicity photo in 1959 (but probably a few years older).

Who knows the source of this undated ad?
Cover photo from this French Atlantic EP obviously taken around this time.

Maceo's, Nashville, c. 1959.
A 'dance' gig at Washington University in St. Louis, in '59. Georgia Binnington was there. “It was wonderful,” Binnington recalls. “Ray Charles sat at a piano and just played and played, and we all got to stand really close to him and kind of hang and watch him.” 
Photo by Lacey Crawford, c. 1959.

Night Time Is The Right Time peaks at #95 on Pop chart and #5 on R&B chart, What'd I Say at #6 on Pop and #1 on R&B, I’m Movin' On at #40 on Pop and #11 on R&B, The Genius Of Ray Charles peaks at #17 on Pop Album Chart, That's Enough at #19 on R&B chart.
Born: Charles Wayne Hendricks (to Margie Hendricks).

Photos by Lee Friedlander (originally shot in color; may be 1 or 2 years older).
From a series also used for the cover of the In Person album (released in 1960).

French postcard from '60s, possibly also a Friedlander photo.

1 January 1959
Labor Union Hall, New Orleans LA.

2 January 1959
Holie Hill's Sugar Bowl Club, Thibodeaux, Los Angeles CA

3 January 1959
Branch Inn, Slidell, Los Angeles CA.

4 January 1959
Harlem Gymnasium, Metairie, Los Angeles CA.

10 January 1959
Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood CA.

14 January 1959
Magnolia Ballroom, Atlanta GA (Mary Ann Fisher leaves the band).

2 February 1959
Publication of telephone interview (done from Atlanta, where Ray was doing a one-nighter) by Ben Grevatt in Billboard. See this.

6 February 1959
"A Touch of the Blues": Jazz Concert at Symphony Hall in Boston MA; with Dinah Washington and James Moody.

7 February 1959
Midnight concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City NY; with Dinah Washington, Eddie Jefferson, James Moodie, emceed by Redd Foxx. 
The Cookies were billed as 'Raelets' for the first (documented) time; oddly, the poster also mentioned the Ray Charles Singers..

Margie Hendricks explained the name change in an October 1961 interview (Jazz Hot. No 17, Nov. 1961): "Since we became an integrated part of Ray Charles' orchestra, it would have been perfectly stupid to continue using the 'Cookies' name. On a nice morning Ray tackled the problem, and came to the conclusion that only two names were possible: the 'Silver Bells' or the 'Raelets'. I immediate rejected the 'Silver Bells' - that name appeared ridiculous to me. And that's how we called ourselves the Raelets. We've never been [called] the 'Raylettes' [sic!]: that name would be an error. In American [English] Ray is [a name] for men, and Rae is for the ladies."

From the program brochure "Jazz In '59".
Ad in New York Amsterdam News, Feb. 7, 1959.
"The program came to real life only briefly, when Miss Washington joined Mr. Charles in a vocal jam session", the New York Times wrote on Feb. 9:

Review in New York Times.
Billboard Review Spotlight: That's Enough / Tell Me How You Feel.

From Cashbox, Apr. 4, 1959.
From Cashbox, Apr. 11, 1959.

18 February 1959
Recording session (of What'd I Say) for Atlantic in New York.

1 March 1959
Annual Jazz Festival at Town Hall in Philadelphia PA.

3 March 1959
Naval Station Club in Newport RI; (3d engagement, "a testimonial to his popularity"; with Mary Ann Fisher; Charles features the blues with a touch of progressive jazz").

12 March 1959
Off-Shore Club, Blythedale PA.

19 March 1959
Alonzo Herndon Stadium, Atlanta GA.

20 March 1959
Coliseum Ballroom, Davenport IA.

29 March 1959
Big easter Dance at Midway Roller Rink, Chicago IL, announced - with orchestra - as "America's favorite music-maker", with the new hits Rockhouse 1 & 2 and The Right Time, and "featuring The Raelets".

30 March 1959
Public spring dance at Skatarena, Indianapolis IN (with Roy Hamilton).

6 - 12 April 1959
Key Club, Minneapolis MN.

25 April 1959
Roberts Show Club, Chicago IL.
Ad from Chicago Defender, Apr. 25, as collected by Franz Hoffmann, in: Jazz Advertised.
1 - 3 May 1959
Stint at The Flame Show Bar, Detroit MI.

4 May 1959
Skatarena, Indianapolis IN.

6 May 1959
Recording session for Atlantic in New York.

9 May 1959
Mambo Club, Wichita KS.

24 May 1959
Labor Union Hall, New Orleans LA.

28 and 29 May 1959
WAOK's 5th Anniversary Show in Atlanta GA at Morris Brown College's Alonzo Herndon Stadium; live recording later  released as album Ray Charles In Person; with Roy Hamilton, B.B. King, Ruth Brown, The Drifters, Johnny Adams, The Fiesta;s, Huey Smith and his Clowns, Buddy Johnson, Ella Johnson, Floyd Ryland, ; mc'ed by Baron Wilson. One of the first outdoor R&B festivals); possibly broadcast by WAOK; show promoted by DJ Zenas Sears. Read this and this.

From Atlanta Daily World, May 17.

30 May 1959
Hosie Hill's Sugar Bowl Club in Thibodaux LA.

June 1959
Uline Arena, Washington.

Early June 1959
Gigs in New Orleans and in Baton Rouge.

6 June 1959
Uline Arena, Washington DC.

15 June 1959
"Opus in Jazz" Delaware Riverboat Jazz Cruise on SS Pennsylvania, Delaware River.


From Philadelphia Tribune, Jun 16.

From Philadelphia Tribune, Jul 18.

Billboard review of What'd I Say ("fine rhumba-blues effort by Charles”, “shouts it out in persuasive style").

From Cashbox, Jun. 20, 1959.
Ad in Billboard, June 29, 1959.
16 June 1959
Naval Station Enlisted Men's Club, in or near Newport RI, with Mary Ann Fisher.

23 and 26 June 1959
Recording session with Quincy Jones Orchestra for Atlantic in New York, probably both at Phil Ramone's A&R Studio at 112 West 48th St. in NYC.  

28 June 1959
Midnight-to-dawn dance at Palace Ballroom in Louisville KY.

10 July 1959
Eagle's Auditorium, Portland (or Seattle WA?.

17 - 19 July 1959
5-4 Ballroom, Los Angeles CA.

20 July 1959
Civic Auditorium, Oakland CA; co-billed with Jackie Wilson, James Brown.

23 July 1959
Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood CA; with Jackie Wilson.

25 July 1959
Memorial Auditorium, Sacramento CA.

Note the extremely rare c. 1954 portrait photo of Ray.

30 July 1959
Bob's Ballroom, Tucson AZ.
From Tucson Citizen, 30 July.
31 July 1959
Calderon Ballroom, Phoenix.

August 1959
Music Barn in Lenox, Massachusetts.

9 August 1959
Labor Union Hall, New Orleans LA.

10 August 1959
Temple Roof Garden Club, Baton Rouge LA.

11 August 1959
Municipal Auditorium, New Orleans LA.

13 August 1958
Gig in Atlanta GA.

15 August 1959
Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood CA.

From Cashbox, Aug. 15, 1959.

17 August 1959
Graystone Ballroom, Detroit MI.

20 August 1959
Roger Smith Hotel, Holyoke MA.

21 August 1959
Ad (from unidentified source).
Ad from Boston Globe, 26 Jul.
Fenway Baseball Park for Boston's first jazz festival at Fenway Park in Boston, MA; with Jimmy Rushing, Buck Clayton, Bud Freeman, Pee Wee Russell, The Dukes Of Dixieland, Dakota Staton. Ray represented "a link between the old blues that was heard on the streets and in the churches of the South and the present clamor of the latest teen-age idol," wrote Fr. Norman O'Connor, jazz columnist for The Boston Globe and chaplain at Boston University. O'Connor, also an MC at the festival,  was known as the jazz priest. Also read this.

23 August 1959 (previously announced for 16th)
Berkshire Mountain Music Festival, Music Barn, Great Barrington MA.

September 1959
Release of album What'd I Say.

7 September 1959
Sunset Lake Park, Deep Creek, Chesapeake VA.
Ad from Norfolk Journal and Guide, Sep. 5.

20 September - 1 October 1959
Howard Theatre, Washington DC; first with Hank Ballard & The Midnighters, Sammy Turner, Valerie Carr, Sammy Hawkins, John Lester, Clay Tyson, The Hank Moore Orchestra; then last days with Art Blakey Jazz Messengers, Sonny Stitt, and Lorez Alexandria.
Gloria Thomas Gantt [...] was a cashier at the Howard from 1959 to 1970: "People loved Ray Charles because he was a blues man. He gave you your money’s worth. When the people wanted him to sing more, he would say, 'Mr. Allen [the theater’s manager], are you paying any more money?' Mr. Allen would be standing in the back, and he would laugh. He’d say, 'Oh, well. Okay. I’ll do it.'"

October 1959
Release of album The Genius of Ray Charles.
Ad in Billboard, Nov. 9, 1959.
Release of the single I'm Movin' / I Believe To My Soul.

2 – 8 October 1959
"Ray Charles and his band and revue" with "The Raylettes" at the Apollo, New York City NY; with Dee Clark, The 5 Royales, The Miracles, Valerie Carr, The 3 Leggers, Tyson Clay.
(There's a story that The 5 Royales once substituted for The Raelettes, at a concert in Durham, NC. Schiffman index card: "Percentage".
(Who knows exactly when? BS).
After that the band heads to gigs in the Midwest."
Billboard, Oct. 19, 1959.
Photo by Alex Harsley.

Mid October 1959
First meeting with ABC, discussing record contract.
18 October 1959
Masonic Temple Theatre, Detroit MI.

19 October 1959
Pla-Mor Ballroom in Cleveland OH.

21 October 1959
Knights of Columbus Hall, Indianapolis IN.

30 October - 5 November 1959
Regal Theater, Chicago IL (on 1 November house record $9,300 gross).
From Cashbox, Nov. 28, 1959.

Ad from Chicago Defender, Oct. 30, as collected by Franz Hoffmann, in: Jazz Advertised.
Ad in Chicago Tribune, Nov. 2.
1 November 1959
Signs a new recording contract with ABC, in New York.
Ray Charles and Sam Clarke signing the contract (may well be of later date).
15 November 1959
Dance engagement at Muncie Armory, Muncie IN.

25 November 1959
City Auditorium, Macon GA.

26 November 1969
Tennessee State University's Kean Hall, Nashville.
Memphis World: "Group versatility personified by the Ray Charles Orchestra will 'set the feet to dancing' in Tennessee State University's Kean Hall, Thanksgiving night, as the 'Ayenites' celebrate the 1959 Homecoming activities. Two of the Ray Charles aggre- gation, J.H. Hunt, trumpeter and Milton Turner, drummer, both Nashvillians, will also be celebrating homecoming when they reach the 'Athens of the South'."

28 November 1959
Thanksgiving Night homecoming concert at Kean Hall, State University in Nashville.
"In Person" at Magnolia Ballroom in Atlanta GA.
Ad in Atlanta Daily World, Nov 27.
29 November 1959
Coliseum Arena, New Orleans LA.

December 1959
Release of the single Let The Good Times Roll / Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying.

Early December 1959
Celebrating new record contract with ABC, in New York.
News, but not big news (Billboard, Dec. 7, 1959).
4 December 1959
WDIA Goodwill Revue at Ellis Memorial Auditorium, Memphis, TN.

18 December 1959
Yearly WDIA Goodwill Revue at Ellis Auditorium in Memphis ("The first half was the Gospel part and in many people's choice was the best part. The Staple Singers from Chicago almost stole the show, but competition from the Spirit of Memphis Singers, Dixie Nightingales, and the Christian Travelers was strong. [...] The Blues half of the show starred the invincible Ray Charles and was built around the Detective Convention at a coffee house. The place was filled with beatniks played by the Teen-Towners and the Radio stars of WDIA. Wade Flemmings rocked the house with his new recording of What's Happening',"= and it seemed Miss LaVel, jazzy in her black gown trimmed in gold high-lighted by flaming red hair, and Joe Hinton just added more to the excitement of the evening," the Tri-State Defender wrote).

25 - 27 December 1959
A "weekend of dancing-listening shows" at 5-4 Ballroom, Los Angeles CA.

Late December 1959
Home in LA, and working with Sid Feller.

28 December 1959
Billboarfd reviews Let The Good Times Roll ("great blues") / Don't Let The Sun Catch You Cryin' ("sings to string accompaniment").

29 December 1959
Recording session at Capitol Studios in Hollywood.

In a studio (not necessarily on this day) with ABC boss Sam Clark.

Ray Charles and Sid Feller (other sorces say: Sam Clark) - not necessarily from this date.

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