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28 March 2012

Ray Charles In São Paulo (1970)

In late November or early December 1970 Ray Charles performed at the Teatro Municipal in São Paulo.  

Vega Magazine reported that "he played some snippets of Corcovado, by Antônio Carlos Jobim, on piano - commenting, in a relaxed way: 'It's pleasant music. I like it!'"


TV Tupi was present, and probably aired (parts of?) the show; source here.

Who knows more about any footage surviving from this program?

27 March 2012

Billy Joins Ray & B.B. On Stage In Woodland Hills (1972)

Photo shot at one of the concerts from the series at the Valley Music Theater.
B.B. King's and Ray Charles' paths crossed many times during their long careers. From late November to Mid December 1972 they shared the bill for a few 1-week stints. Between 5 and 10 December they played the Valley Music Theater in Woodland Hills (LA). The article below, from the Northridge Daily Sundial, describes how one of the concerts in these series got a memorable twist when Billy Preston joined B.B. and Ray on stage (it seems as if B.B. didn't have a role in what followed). It's one of these reviews that makes you wish you could travel back in time.

After surviving the usual sound problems,
"Charles was just about to close the show, out of disgust, when he reintroduced King who came on to play with Ray. This seemed to uplift [Charles'] spirits, but the real capper was when Billy Preston was called on stage to play with the band. This gave Charles just the spark he needed and he seemed to acquire new life.
Charles and Preston played a short version of Preston's Outta Space and then George Harrison's My Sweet Lord. The show concluded with a rousing 15-minute version of Let's Go Get Stoned. Again standing ovations and riotous applause."

26 March 2012

Ray Charles With Gladys Knight In Dinah! & Friends (1980)

This photo (right), originally from the Philadelphia Tribune archive, has Ray Charles, Dinah Shore, and Gladys Knight. A copytight sign on the backside reveals the year 1980.

A 20th Century Fox publicity photo caption helps to identify the scene as part of an episode of Dinah! & Friends.

Fernando Lamas co-hosted the show. The other guests were Johnny Mathis and Johnny Yune. The music included Landlord (Gladys + Pips) and I Will Survive (Mathis). But what did Ray sing?
Who knows more?
Collection Joël Dufour.

23 March 2012

Ray Charles Live In Viareggio (1984)

Video still from Eleanor Rigby.
This article in the newspaper Unita suggests that this concert in Viareggio was taped for TV in July 1984. In another source I found that Raidue aired it on August 3, 1985, as a #1 in a series of six live concerts broadcast by that network.
...But I'm not entirely sure about this provenance. Other sources also mention a concert in the Bussola Domani series at the Palcoscenica in Versilia on 1 November 1984 (the Bussola Domani logo is prominently visible in this TV program as well; also see this article).* The TV recording was directed by Goffredo Scagnoli.

I wrote before that I feared that the TV footage got lost, but last week a copy landed in my inbox. The soundtrack of the video that I saw was marred by heavy rumble, but a separate better version of that same soundtrack is also circulating on the Web, as a torrent.

The tracklist was:
  1. Intro
  2. Riding Thumb
  3. Busted
  4. Georgia On My Mind  
  5. Oh, What A Beautiful Morning  
  6. I've Got News For You 
  7. For Mamma
  8. We're Gonna Make It (The Raelettes)  
  9. Shameless (ft Estella Yarbrough)
  10. Eleanor Rigby  
  11. I Can't Stop Loving You 
  12. Knock On Wood (ft Trudy Cohran) 
  13. 3/4 Time 
  14. Born To Love Me 
  15. What'd I Say 
  16. Outro 
Ray gave #12, Knock On Wood, an unusually long, funky intro. Sources: here and here.

The personnel was probably exactly the same as at the Warsaw Jamboree concerts:

Musicians: Robbie Kwock, Mark Curry, Jim Seeley, Jeff Kaye - trumpets; John Boice, Dan Marcus, Dan Weinstein, Dana Hughes - trombones; Brian Mitchell, Clifford Solomon (band leader), Ricky Woodard, Rudy Johnson, Louis Van Taylor - saxophones; Bobby Floyd - organ; Dennis Nelson - guitar; Roger W. Hines - bass; Ricky Kirkland - drums. The Raelettes: Trudy Cohran, Anne Johnson, Janice Mitchell, Elaine Woodard, Estella Yarbrough.

* Is there anybody out there who can explain to me how "Viareggio" and "Versilia" relate to each other?

19 March 2012

Ray Charles Ft. In A Special Kenny Rogers (1979)

Photo taken during this show.
Ray Charles with Kenny Rogers,
Dottie West and The Oak Ridge Boys
.
In early 1979 Kenny Rogers toured in the U.S. One of the tunes on his setlist was Oh Lady Luck. This set was one of the elements in a variety TV show titled A Special Kenny Rogers, where Kenny "returned to his home town of Crockett (TX)", directed by Rocco Urbisci or Stan Harros, and aired on April 12, 1979 by CBS.  The show had been taped in February. Ray's segments were recorded on stage at the Opryland Auditorium in Nashville (see comment to this article); other parts were produced at the Houston Livestock and Rodeo Show (source here).
The guest stars - Ray, Lightnin' Hopkins (with an impromptu appearance), Dottie West and the Oakridge Boys - helped Kenny to "display the sights and sounds of East Texas which left their imprint on young Rogers".

Their duet on Oh Lady Luck wasn't great, but it certainly looked and sounded spontaneous. The song was written by Kenny Rogers and one of his band members, Steve Glassmeyer (cf. comments).
After this, Ray solo'ed with a great version of It Ain't Easy Being Green (using an orchestra tape).

09 March 2012

Ray Charles Live In Paris (1973)

From Billboard, Aug. 11, 1973.
The tour was extended to
more countries.
In the autumn of 1973 the Ray Charles group toured Europe together with the Oscar Peterson Trio and the Count Basie Orchestra. Most of the concerts were booked for Germany, but on October 9 they also played at the Palais des Sports in Paris.
A reader of this blog was so kind to send me a copy of a radio broadcast, by Europe-1, of (a big part of) Ray's concert that night.

The tape entails:
  1. Intro
  2. Let The Good Times Roll
  3. Busted
  4. The Long And Winding Road
  5. Feel So Bad
  6. Come Live With Me
  7. Alexander's Ragtime Band
  8. I Can't Stop Loving You
  9. Look What They've Done To My Song, Ma
  10. I Can Make It Through The Days (But Oh Those Lonely Nights)
  11. Shake (The Raelettes)
  12. What'd I Say (So Soon intro; with John Henderson - voc.) + Outro
I've listened to a copy of a Europe-1 radio show from 2007, in the series Les Enfants d'Europe N°1, with a nice version of Hit The Road Jack, and an It's All Right-outro, apparently performed during a second Paris concert in 1973.
Ad in Cashbox, Oct. '73.
The fact that Georgia is missing from this list may indicate that more tunes were left out of the radio program. During the outro Ray apologizes, also "on behalf of Mister Oscar Peterson" and "Mister Count Basie", for microphone problems which marred earlier parts of their shows (and probably also of the radio taping).
In the set the renditions of #6 (Come Live With Me) and #10 (I Can Make It Thru The Days) - both with great Hammond organ lines by John Henderson -  stood out. The album Come Live With Me was just about to be released that month.
Henderson also contributed, singing, to a great So Soon intro of #12 (What'd I Say). This version is much more extensive than e.g. the one in the finale of the Holy Land tape. Ray turns it into a funny dialog about marital problems, seeking a lyrical and word fight with Henderson, complaining that "last night" his girlfriend called him John, "while she knows my name is Ray".

Personnel:*
Musicians:
Dan Ackerman, Phil Guilbeau, Tony Horowitz, James Thomas - trumpets; Craig Woods, Glenn Childress, Ken Tussing - trombones; Don Switzer - bass trombone; Greg Abate, Claude Johnson - alto saxophones; Wilbur Brown, James Clay - tenor saxophones; Leroy Cooper - baritone saxophone; Scott von Ravensberg** - drums; Harvey Sarch(?)** - guitar; Edgar Willis - bass, bandleader; John Henderson - organ. The Raelettes: Dorothy Berry, Denise Jackson, Mable John, Vernita Moss, Madelyn Quebec.

* Notes kindly provided by Joël Dufour. **Names added by Scott von Ravensberg.

02 March 2012

Ray Charles Live In Rio (1986)

Photo by Sergio Amara.
On 2 and 3 September 1986 Ray Charles performed at the Free Jazz Festival (at the Teatro do Hotel Nacional) in Rio de Janeiro. (The event was not about free jazz, but the jazz was free). One of the shows was taped for TV. Gregorio Robin directed the program.

Before the concert part there's a brief interview (at the end of it, as a thank you, Ray takes and strikes the interviewer's wrist). The songs got a 'fast edit' with flashy fade-overs between the numbers. Ray's voice and piano were not ideally balanced against the orchestra sound.
I do not know the air date of the TV program. A segment with only the 5th and 6th tracks of the taping was televized in Brazil on September 21st, in episode 2 of a series of five 25-minute magazines about the festival.

The full TV show had the following track list:
  1. Intro
  2. You Made Me Love You (solo Clifford Solomon - ts)
  3. Georgia On My Mind
  4. Feel So Bad (solo Jeff Pevar - g)
  5. If You Wouldn't Be My Lady
  6. She Knows (solo Morris Pleasure - b)
  7. The Pages Of My Mind (with The Raelettes)
  8. I Can't Stop Loving You
  9. I Can See Clearly Now
  10. What'd I Say
  11. We Are The World
  12. Outro

(Collection André Monnot).
#5 served more or less as a long intro to a marvelous rendition of She Knows (#6). #7, The Pages Of My Mind, is a rare live version of this title song of the 1986 album.

The "promotional" 2-disk album set, pictured left, titled Free Jazz Festival - Brasil '86 was offered for sale on Ebay a while ago. It simply compiled earlier recordings by the festival's stars.
The choice for Ray was a bit surprising. Disk 1, Side B, track #1 had Rock And Roll Shoes (the duet with B.J. Thomas). For Disk 2, Side A, track #3 they picked Seven Spanish Angels (the duet with Willie Nelson).