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21 December 2011

Christmas With Ray Charles (5x*)

Businesswise, after scoring hit records, the best thing a musician can do to increase the value of his (back) catalog, is to tape Christmas songs. Ray Charles did so on five occasions - sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes odd, sometimes brilliant - and always soulful.

In 1976 (or 1979?) he celebrated Christmas In Ettal, with Sarah Jordan Powell. Watch clips here.
In 1985 the brilliant album The Spirit Of Christmas came out. You can listen to a few 'sound clips' on Youtube, but jukebox services like Spotify, LastFM and Pandora let you listen to the whole album.
In or around 1988 Ray featured in a few promotional clips, on TBN. You can watch one of the surviving clips here.
In 1994 Brother Ray contributed to the soundtrack of the film Love Affair, with a new version of The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire). I'm afraid that there's currently no online resource where you can listen to it.
In 2002 Ray Charles, Jr. produced the concert DVD Ray Charles Celebrates A Gospel Christmas. You can watch the majority of the songs here, but I guess that the remainder of the footage will pop up again on Youtube during the coming weeks.

Merry Christmas!
* Joël Dufour reminded me that there was actually a sixth Xmas-related occasion: a Christmas DJ-only promotion single from 1978.


  1. Il semble ,d'apres une matrice de l'INA (CPB 90014647)que le 24 decembre 1980 France 2 ait diffuse une emission intitulee "Christmas with Ray Charles" dont je ne connais pas le contenu. JPVerger

  2. Il s'agit d'un concert à Ettal (Allemagne).