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30 June 2011

Ray & Raita Landing In Geneva (1964)

In the 60s Ray Charles' - sometimes almost yearly - arrival at a local national airport regularly made it to TV news broadcasts (in France it would even remain a yearly ritual well until the 90s). Here is a 17-second clip with footage from his landing at Cointrin Airport in Geneva, together with his girlfriend Raita Outinen (aka Johnson), in August 1964, from the French-Swiss news programme Carrefour.
The caption on the website of the Swiss TV archive adds the date 7 August to the clip, but that should probably be the 3d*, the date of the news paper clipping (left). On the 4th Ray performed at La Patinoire in Geneva (a "Triomphe", Le Temps wrote).

* On August 3 Ray was seen at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport; in Geneva he landed with Dutch carrier KLM Airlines. 

27 June 2011

Ray Charles À Paris - One More Concert À La Salle Pleyel (1967)

One of the Ray Charles concerts at La Salle Pleyel in Paris, on 18 April 1967 was broadcast by the French radio station Europe N°1 (in the Musicorama series).
1967 was the only year in history that Paris got the full ('American' version of the) Ray Charles Show, meaning not only the band before the intermission, but also dancer Chelsea Brown, and separate acts - both accompanied by the orchestra - performed by Billy Preston, and The Raelettes. As usual in Paris, the Ray Charles group gave a 'double concert'.
I've listened to low-quality copies of the following tunes that were taped that night (I've put them in a feasible order of a set list):
  • Soft Winds (With Ray Charles Orchestra)
  • Busted
  • You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want To Do It)
  • Georgia On My Mind
  • Going Down Slow (guitar solo by Barry Rillera)
  • I Don't Need No Doctor
  • Crying Time (with Gwen Berry)
  • Baby It's Cold Outside (ft. Clydie King)
  • Here We Go Again
  • Don't Set Me Free 
  • I Can't Stop Loving You
  • You Are My Sunshine (ft. Merry Clayton)
  • What'd I Say
This performance of  Here We Go Again is the only known live version of the song!

Marshall Hunt, Walter Miller, Carl Adams, Bill King - trumpet; Henry Coker, Fred Murrell, Donald Cook, Keg Johnson - trombone; Joe Roccisano, Curits Peagler, Curtis Amy (bandleader), Shellie Thomas, Leroy Cooper - saxophone; Billy Moore - drums; Barry Rillera - guitar; Edgar Willis - bass; Billy Preston - piano, organ. The Raelettes: Merry Clayton, Alexandra Brown, Clydie King, Gwen Berry.


Coll. André Monnot.
The TF 1 news cast of 18 April 1967 had a 1:25 item on Ray Charles, described by the INA archive as: "The landing plane; Ray Charles leaving the plane helped by the stewardess; On the ground with his manager; The journalists in the big hall; Interview Ray Charles: music is my food; A statement about Otis Redding."
Same girl?
Billboard earmarked the 18th as the start of that year's European tour (bringing the group also to Barcelona, Manchester, London, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Malmö, Hamburg, Frankfort, Milan and Berlin).

Possibly that same day, maybe also at the airport, Ray was interviewed for the popular France Inter radio show Pop Club. On a photo shot during this interview Ray took a girl, called Annick Sauvrezy, on his lap (photo right).
Ray and the same girl were also seen together later during Ray's French tour (in May, if we can believe the caption to this photo).

A month after this concert, Jet magazine had an article stating that Billy Preston had been part of the 1967 Europe tour of the Ray Charles band (which was partially true), and that young Billy had outperformed old man Ray during the Paris concerts (which is hard to believe).
Contemporary photos: Edgar Willis, Barry Rillera, Ray Charles (Willis had just switched from acoustic to electric bass).
The photo was made for a Fender ad, also published in a Fender Album Of Stars magazine.

Concert announcement in French magazine.

Billy Preston opened the show - singing, dancing and playing the piano - with the Orchestra, but didn't return after intermission. The source of this photo (either Jazz Hot or Jazz Magazine) mentioned Shotgun as one of the tunes he performed.
Marshall Hunt and Walter Miller.
Barry Rillera.

Photo clippings: collection J.-P. Verger.

For most of this this article I've used information kindly provided by Jean-Paul Verger and Joël Dufour..  

24 June 2011

Ray Charles Live In Charlotte Pops Concert (1998)

On October 1, 1998 Ray Charles performed with his trio and The Charlotte Philharmonic (conductor Albert-George Schram) at Ballroom C of the Charlotte Convention Center. There must be a bootleg out there. (The week before, on September 29, Ray had already performed nearby, at the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center - probably with his own orchestra).

The tracklist of the bootleg (corrections in red):
  1. [audience noise +] Intro
  2. It Hurts To Be In Love
  3. That Lucky Old Sun
  4. Let's Get Away From It All
  5. Georgia On My Mind
  6. Take These Chains From My Heart
  7. Your Cheating Heart
  8. The Good Life
  9. Say No More
  10. Blues For Big Scotia
  11. A Song For You
  12. All I Ever Need Is You
  13. [introduction +] America The Beautiful
 #4 is new (to me) on Ray's 'symphony gig' playlist. It's probably the Tommy Dorsey song.

22 June 2011

Ray Charles Ft. In Téléthon (1988)

Video still from the show.

On December 3, 1988 Ray Charles guested in an Antenne 2 Téléthon in Paris (INA ID CPB88015483), entitled Champs Elysées. The show - presented by Michel Drucker, Claude Serillon and Gérard Holtz - was raising funds for children.
Ray performed a beautiful version of If You Go Away (even inserting a one-time "ne me quitte pas" into his lyrics at the end of the song), and All I Ever Need Is You (with the usual sax solo).

Ray Meets Ahmet In Embarquement Porte N°1 (2000)

Embarquement Porte N°1  was a TF1 series of 26 minute cultural documentaries. In 2000 they aired an episode titled La Nouvelle Orléans, bringing Michael White, Allen Toussaint, Aaron Neville, and Ahmet Ertegun on camera. The latter acted as a guide for the film makers. There's one sequence in a hotel lobby where he briefly introduces (in flawless French) Ray Charles to the camera team - reminiscing about their first meeting in the Big Easy, in 1953, when they recorded with Guitar Slim (cf. this post).
The meeting probably took place on 27 April 2000, when Ray played the Jazz & Heritage Festival.

20 June 2011

A Tune Titled Tina, And More, From A 1963 Review Of A Ray Charles Concert

Concert reviews from the 60s that went beyond the message that Ray Charles had been in town were very rare. An interesting exception is the article below, by Norval Perkins, as it appeared in the Washington Afro-American on 12 November 1963, about a show that had taken place the week before at the University's Gymnasium in Georgetown.
It not only had some appreciative paragraphs about the Ray Charles Orchestra and some of its excellent musicians, but also specified the titles of a few tunes that I don't know from any of Charles' recordings: Ghana, Julia, "Teena", and "Rem[em]ber April".
Teena must be a misspelling of Tina and was no doubt named after, and possibly composed by, Tina (Harold Floyd) Brooks (1932 - 1974), the sensational  tenorist who joined the band for a short period in 1963. (Read this article about Tina's dramatic life and career).
Ghana (also mentioned in this contemporary review of an RC concert, specifying a solo on flute by David Newman) was a tune penned by Ernie Wilkins; it was among the many arrangements that Quincy Jones had written for his own big band that he gave to Ray in 1961*. Remember April is probably the same as the (now) classic tune I'll Remember April.
* Information kindly provided by Joël Dufour. 

The other (Quincy Jones) tune that Perkins mentioned, Birth Of A Band, was also on the orchestra's setlist 6 weeks before, at the O Gênio TV gig on 19 September in São Paulo, with a shared solo part by Tina Brooks and David Fathead Newman. In Georgetown it probably also sounded like this:

18 June 2011

More On O Gênio (1963)

In my earlier post on Ray Charles' magnificent O Gênio* concerts from 1963 I overlooked an article by Edmundo Leite from 2005, Sai em DVD show de Ray Charles no Brasil em 1963, which sheds some more light on the factual and entertaining details of Ray's Brazilian tour.
The Brazilian tour entailed 10 concerts in 7 days, starting with concerts at the Teatro Municipal and Maracanãzinho in Rio de Janeiro. The first gig after that was the filmed double concert on the 19th at Cultura Artística in São Paulo. The 21st and 22nd the band played the Clube Atletico Paulistano in the same city. The taping of the second concert on the 19th was aired by TV Excelsior on the 22nd.
Ad "Ao Publico" by Ray Charles Corporation,
O Estado de São Paolo on Sep. 14.
The first ad (see below) shows how TV Excelsior presented Ray's show as an epic event. In fact, the whole venture was part of a commercial war with the station's biggest competitor, TV Record, who after announcing a broadcast of Ray's "1959" Newport concert [sic! should be 1960, BS] was countered by a newspaper ad, inserted on the 14th and signed by the Ray Charles Corportation, represented by an agent called Henry Golddrand"  [sic!], who declared that the Newport film was aired without the permission of the artist and that a criminal action against those responsible would be undertaken by the company.
On the day of the first concert the Maritime Police - then responsible for the control of foreigners - received an anonymous tip that the Charles group had entered the country with tourist visas, which would make it impossible to take on any contracted work in Brazil. The only official way to work around that would be to return to the United States, ask for new visas at the Brazilian consulate, and for "a medical certificate to prove their physical capacity for work". The case became a diplomatic issue and was only resolved after intervention by the U.S. embassy.
The first concerts at Cultura Artística "shook the center of São Paulo". During the day crowds of autograph  hunters formed in front of the Hotel Jaragua. Ray managed to "enter the theater [...] with the help of elements of the Civil Guard and the Armed Forces," a newspaper reported.
In a post scriptum post Edmundo Leite showed that the ticket prices for Ray's concerts were outrageous:  comparing to $250 - 335 at the first venue in São Paulo, and $85 - 168 at the Clube Atletico.
*  The title of the DVD has Ô Genio; the correct Portuguese spelling is O Gênio.


09 June 2011

Ray Charles Interviewed By The Times Leader (1998)

Tape of telephone interview by Alan Stout of The Times Leader, a few days before his concert at the Scranton Cultural Center (at the Masonic Temple) on 5 August 1998, which was canceled "because the Cultural Center could not authorize a final settlement to pay Mr. Charles".

No pay, no Ray.

07 June 2011

Ray Charles On The Bell Telephone Hour (c 1968)

The Bell Telephone Hour was a long-running (1959 - 1968) NBC music program. Stock footage agency Research Video mentions a performance on this show of Yesterday by Ray Charles, from "1970". Stills from this performance can be seen here: 1, 2, 3. The correct year must be 1967 or 1968 (Ray's original studio recording of the song was first released on his album Listen, in 1967). 

Ray Charles At Dinah's Place (1973)

Ray Charles' and Dinah Shore's TV relationship went back as far as 1956. In 1963 Ray brought his orchestra and the Raelettes to the Dinah Shore Show for an excellent mini concert, and in 1967 they did a duet on The Nashville Sound special.
On 15 August 1973 Ray guested in Dinah's Place, an NBC half-hour talk-show (that ran from 1970 to 1974). Ray Charles played a game of chess with Dinah "on a special board", and discussed how to live with blindness. They did a duet on Bye Bye Love and together went through a medley of Ray Charles hits.
In 1975 Ray possibly performed one last time at the Dinah! show.

The 1973 episode of the show must have been used to train Jamie Foxx in 'getting' Ray's talking voice. Watch the sequence at 4:00 in this clip:
   [clip removed from YouTube]

Visions of Genius: Remembering Ray Charles (2006)

American Routes is a weekly public radio program produced in New Orleans, presenting a broad range of American music, exploring the shared musical and cultural threads of American music. On 28 June 2006 they aired a 2-hour program on Ray Charles, Visions of Genius: Remembering Ray Charles - a montage of Ray's earlier contributions to the program, mixed with his music, and statements from Jerry Wexler, David Fathead Newman,  Mable John, Vernon Troupe (Ray's valet of more than forty years), his ex-wife Della Bea Robinson, and producer-engineer Terry Howard. Listen here: first hour, second hour. The program's playlist is here.

Ray Charles And Slash Teaching Kids Some Soul In The Blues Lab (2002)

American Routes is a weekly public radio program produced in New Orleans, exploring the shared musical and cultural threads of American music.
On 22 August 2002 they broadcast a reportage, titled I Didn't Learn That In School!, taped at Ray Charles' RPM studios in Los Angeles. Ray that year was contributing to the Sir Charles Blues Lab project, where high schoolers learned to put some soul into their playing (also see this earlier article).
Listen here to the kids rehearsing, and interviews with Ray Charles and Slash (who both also play a few chords).

Ray Charles On American Routes (2001)

American Routes is a weekly public radio program produced in New Orleans, presenting a broad range of American music, exploring the shared musical and cultural threads of American music. On 4 July 2001 they aired an interview with Ray Charles. Listen to it here.

05 June 2011

Ray Charles In Paris (1995)

The Ina Media Archive has a copy of a 2m12s France 2 news cast (ID CAB95039768), reported by Jean Jacques Dufour, from 7 July 1995, showing a.o. Ray Charles on the stage of the "Conference hall in Paris", a hotel lobby, Ray and his entourage entering an elevator, and some live footage of Ray, his orchestra and The Raelettes.