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24 December 2013

A Second Version Of Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town (1994)

Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town was part of Ray Charles' The Spirit Of Christmas album, recorded in the Fall of 1984, and officially released in early 1986.

Today, hearing this - radically different - version came as a big surprise:


This rendition was produced for the movie Miracle On 34th Street (1994). Ray almost always produced commercials and his contributions to movie sound tracks at his own RPM studios in Los Angeles. In this case, however, Jeremy Lubbock and Elliot Lurie were credited as producers, so the recording may have happened elsewhere.
The soundtrack of the film was released on CD by Fox Records (on 15 November 1994; 7822-11022-2).

This is the original album version:


For other Genius Christmas records and shows read this earlier post.

25 November 2013

Ray Charles & His Orchestra Live In Zurich (1961)

"Begleitzettel"
(recto) of the tapes.
The Ray Charles Big Band's First Concert In Europe (1961) was recorded by Radio Basel (now part of Radio SRF 2 Kultur). My inquiries at their archives have resulted in the discovery of a set of 2 edited tapes with parts of this  "Jazzkonzert" by the "Ray Charles Big Band" at the "Kongresshaus Zürich" on "Mittwoch [Wednesday] 18. Oktober 1961" at 8.30 p.m. The tapes entail 22 tracks with 18* of the tunes that were performed that day:
  1. Happy Faces / Sonny Stitt (Ray Charles Orchestra) - solo DN - ts (3'00")
  2. Along Came Betty / Benny Golson (Ray Charles Orchestra) - solo MB - tp (3'19")
  3. My Baby (I Love Her, Yes I Do) / Ray Charles (with The Raelettes) - ft. MH (4'26")
  4. Sticks And Stones / Titus Turner (with The Raelettes) (3'33")
  5. Georgia On My Mind / Hoagy Carmichael, Stuart Gorrell - solo DN - fl (6'20")
  6. Blue Stone / Hank Crawford (Ray Charles Orchestra) - solos HC - as; PG - tp; DW - ts; RC? - as (7'06")
  7. Margie / Benny Davis, Con Conrad, J. Russell Robinson (2'51")
  8. Hit The Road Jack / Percy Mayfield (with The Raelettes) (2'32")
  9. Birth Of A Band / Quincy Jones (Ray Charles Orchestra) - solos DN, DW - ts (chase); BC - d (3'54")
  10. I Remember Clifford / Benny Golson (Ray Charles Orchestra) - solo JH - fh (5'26")
  11. Come Rain Or Come Shine / Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen - solo DW - ts (7'06")
  12. Ghana / Ernie Wilkins (Ray Charles Orchestra) - solos DN - fl; LC - bs; SF - g (4'15")
  13. I Believe To My Soul / Ray Charles (with The Raelettes) (4'04")
  14. I've Got News For You / Roy Alfred (4'30")
  15. Misty / Erroll Garner (Ray Charles Orchestra) - solo HC - as (7'54")
  16. My Bonnie / Standard; arr. Ray Charles (with The Raelettes) - solo DN - ts (3'45")
  17. I Wonder / Cecil Gant, Raymond Leveen (with The Raelettes) (3'44")
  18. Ray Minor Ray / Benny Golson (Ray Charles Orchestra) - solos DW, DN - ts; EW - b (4'02")
Status
The archived tapes probably do not represent the order of the original setlist. The band-only instrumentals (#01, 02, 06, 09, 12, 15, 18) were almost always played before the intermission. At the end of #6 (Blue Stone), though, you can clearly hear Ray Charles say "All right!", which makes it probable that for this song The Genius played one or more of the solo parts on alto (just as he did in 1962, in Paris).
After #8 one can hear Ray call for "I Got News", and after #11 for "Hallelujah I Love Her So". From a contemporary review in Le Matin - Tribune de Lausanne, and from handwritten notes in the souvenir brochure of Hans Philippi, one could conclude that Alexander's Ragtime Band, Let The Good Times Roll, Moanin', and What'd I Say (and possibly Whisper Not) were also on the Zürich setlist...
The quality of the (mono) recording is excellent (though, a bit unfortunately, the 'audience noise' was suppressed almost completely).
Assuming that Radio Basel at the time has broadcast the tunes in the order of the tapes, it's impossible to conceive what kind of storyline the program maker was following.

Personnel 
Musicians: Ray Charles - piano, vocals; Marcus Belgrave, Wallace Davenport, Phil Guilbeau, John Hunt (flugelhorn) - trumpets; Henderson Chambers, Leon Comegys, James Lee Harbert, Keg Johnson - trombones; Hank Crawford (alto saxophone, band leader), Rudy Powell - alto saxophone; David Newman - tenor saxophone, flute; Don Wilkerson - tenor saxophone; Leroy Cooper - baritone saxophone; Bruno Carr - drums; Sonny Forriest - guitar; Edgar Willis - bass. Announcer: prob. Hank Crawford. The Raelettes:  Priscilla “Pat” Moseley Lyles, Margie Hendricks, Gwen Berry, Darlene McCrea - vocals.

Historical importance
This, so far, is the first-ever recording of the Ray Charles big band. The troupe appeared in its second known line-up, but sounded very well rehearsed (Ray's old small big band still formed the nucleus of the group)**. The ensemble play was very tight. Since Ray Charles only played piano, not Hammond, at this gig, the sound of the band as a whole is radically different from the concerts that were staged 2 days later, in Paris.
Misty (#15) is the only known live recording of this song by the Ray Charles Orchestra. Crawford's original studio version is known from his 1961 album More Soul (Atlantic SD 1356; the tune was also released as a single on Atlantic 45-5013), but this wonderful rendition is even more soulful. The tune's occurrence on the setlist is unexpected (it was e.g. never mentioned in any contemporary souvenir brochure's repertoire list).***
The extended outro of #4 (Sticks And Stones) sounds a lot like some early live versions of I've Got A Woman. As to be expected, #11 (Come Rain Or Come Shine) got yet another bone chilling rendition with Don Wilkerson on tenor. #10 and #14 are very early live recordings of I Remember Clifford, with an excellent solo on flugelhorn by John Hunt, and I've Got News For You.

Unfortunately My Bonnie was omitted from the 2016 CD release:

Special thanks
To Mario Schneeberger, who put me on the right trail, and to Peter Bürli, Redaktionsleiter Jazz at SRF 2 Kultur, who kindly allowed me to listen to the Radio Basel tapings.

* Announcements to some of the tunes were edited on 4 separate, numbered tracks (left out from the list above). The two tapes (with resp. #10-18 on tape "1" and #01 - 09 on tape "2A"), are archived by SFR under ID number BS_MG_FLU_6554_K01. ** Actually, with the exception of the July concerts in Antibes, Ray played that year with an "augmented" orchestra [i.e. big band] from April to December. *** Brother Ray recorded Misty much later, playing piano, with Steve Turre (album: In The Spur Of The Moment (Telarc B00004TUOZ, 1999). 

04 October 2013

Ray Charles In A Rhythm Group With Preston Epps And Jackie Wilson (1959/60)


Ray Charles playing his Wurlitzer, with (f.l.t.r.) DJ and promoter Art Laboe, bongo player Preston Epps, and singer Jackie Wilson, shaking samba balls - probably posing for a promotional photo for "the season's most cosmopoliton event" at the Hollywood Palladium on July 23d, 1959.

11 September 2013

Ray Charles Live At The Deep Hollow Ranch (1996)

T-shirt (detail; coll. P. Turre).
From Jet magazine, Sep. 1996.
On 19 August 1996 the Ray Charles band played at the Deep Hollow Ranch in Montauk for Paul Simon's 7th annual Back to the Ranch benefit. (Their performance was followed by James Brown's).

You can listen to a low quality audience taped recording of the RC concert here (downloads: WMA, MP3).


  1. BBC (Ray Charles Orchestra)
  2. Unidentified instrumental (Ray Charles Orchestra)
  3. Goodness Gracious (Ray Charles Orchestra)
  4. Intro RC
  5. Riding Thumb
  6. Busted
  7. Georgia On My Mind
  8. Oh, What A Beautiful Morning
  9. How Long Has This Been Going On
  10. Teardrops From My Eyes
  11. Say No More
  12. Stranger In My Own Home Town
  13. Don't Set Me Free
  14. I Can't Stop Loving You
  15. What`d I Say
  16. Outro

02 September 2013

Ray Charles 6 Times Live At Tramps, NYC (1995)

Ray Charles at Tramps. David Hoffman in the background. Photo by Rahav Segev.

In 1995, from September 7 to 9, Ray Charles and his band were booked for Tramps' 20th Anniversary Celebration in New York. I posted before about one - bootlegged - concert in these series (identical to show #5, below). But recently Wolfgang's (Concert) Vault decided to make no less than six of the Tramps shows available for their subscribers.* This may seem a bit too abundant, but the good news is that the sound quality of these recordings is much better than the bootleg's.

1. 7 September 1995, early show 
  1. Introduction show + Just Friends (Ray Charles Orchestra)
  2. Introduction show
  3. Introduction Ray Charles + Riding Thumb
  4. Busted
  5. Georgia On My Mind
  6. Oh, What A Beautiful Morning
  7. How Long Has This Been Going On
  8. Teardrops From My Eyes
  9. If I Could
  10. Blues For Big Scotia
  11. Intro Raelettes (by RC)
  12. You Better Watch Them Dogs
  13. I Can't Stop Loving You
  14. What'd I Say
  15. Outro
2. 7 September 1995, late show
  1. Intro show + Fire Up (Ray Charles Orchestra)
  2. Intro Ray Charles
  3. Intro RC (cont'd) + Then We'll Be Home (Sadies Tune)
  4. Georgia On My Mind
  5. Some Enchanted Evening [Part 1]
  6. Some Enchanted Evening [Part 2]
  7. Just For A Thrill
  8. You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want To Do It)
  9. A Song For You
  10. Stranger In My Own Home Town
  11. Intro Raelettes (by RC)
  12. Knock On Wood
  13. I Can't Stop Loving You
  14. I Believe To My Soul
  15. What'd I Say
  16. Outro
3. 8 September 1995, early show 
  1. Intro show + Viewpoint (Ray Charles Orchestra)
  2. Intro Ray Charles
  3. Marie
  4. Margie
  5. Georgia On My Mind
  6. Oh, What A Beautiful Morning
  7. Yours
  8. Teardrops From My Eyes
  9. A Song For You
  10. Stranger In My Own Home Town
  11. Intro Raelettes (by RC)
  12. Chain Of Fools
  13. I Can't Stop Loving You
  14. I Believe To My Soul
  15. What'd I Say
  16. Outro (Part 1)
  17. Outro (Part 2)

4. 8 September 1995, late show
  1. Intro show + BBC (Ray Charles Orchestra)
  2. Announcer begging audience to be more quiet
  3. The Bright Lights And You Girl
  4. Busted
  5. Georgia On My Mind
  6. Mississippi Mud
  7. Come Rain Or Come Shine
  8. You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want To Do It)
  9. A Song For You
  10. Blues For Big Scotia
  11. Intro Raelettes (by RC) + I Want Your Love
  12. I Can't Stop Loving You
  13. What'd I Say
  14. Outro
5. 9 September 1995, early show 
  1. Intro show + High On The Hogg (The Ray Charles Orchestra)
  2. Intro Ray Charles
  3. Let The Good Times Roll
  4. Margie
  5. Georgia On My Mind
  6. Mississippi Mud
  7. Come Rain Or Come Shine
  8. Teardrops From My Eyes
  9. If I Could
  10. Blues For Big Scotia
  11. Intro Raelettes
  12. You Better Watch Them Dogs
  13. I Can't Stop Loving You
  14. Smack Dab In The Middle
  15. I Believe To My Soul
  16. What'd I Say + Outro
6. 9 September 1995, late show
  1. Intro Ray Charles
  2. Riding Thumb
  3. Busted
  4. Georgia On My Mind
  5. Oh, What A Beautiful Morning
  6. Just For A Thrill
  7. The Good Life
  8. A Song For You
  9. Stranger In My Own Home Town
  10. Intro Raelettes (by RC)
  11. Guess Who I Saw Today
  12. Hit The Road Jack
  13. I Can't Stop Loving You
  14. What'd I Say
  15. Outro (Part 1)
  16. Outro (Part 2)
  17. Outro (Part 3)
    It's remarkable how the tapings each evoked a slightly different club atmosphere - some with great audience interaction, some with the - wining and dining - audience annoyingly murmuring through the more tranquil parts of the songs. The setlists were without any real surprises.
    High On The Hogg (track #1 of concert #5) is also known from a.o. a live recording during the 1975 Madrid concert. The Bob Florence composition Just Friends (track #1, concert 1) was also recorded in Montreux in 1997; Fire Up (track #1, concert 2) was also taped at the Lewiston ArtPark concert in 1990; Florence's BBC (track #1, concert 4) was also recorded at the 1997 Philadelphia concert. Viewpoint (track #1, concert 3) is a unique recording; it was composed and arranged by Steve Turre.
    I Believe To My Soul each time got the funny, but unfortunately all too short, Muddy Waters/Hoochie Coochie intro (also known from the 1995 concert in Marciac).

    * Special thanks to J.P. Verger, Joël Dufour and Steve Sigmund.

    30 August 2013

    An Incomplete Audio Of Ray Charles' 2nd A Fool For You Ballet-Concert Series (1989)

    May 12, 1989
    Wolfgang's Concert Vault can't be praised enough for sharing their huge catalog of American live music with their internet audience. Their only flaw is that they often don't know exactly what they're publishing.
    A recent file of a Ray Charles performance at the "ST Theatre" in New York, taped on 12 May 1989, offers 16 out of 18 untitled tracks. Without any explanation, two of the files (#03 and 04) have been omitted by Wolfgang. One tune (track #13/14) has been split in two (understandably, after an applause break). And 4 of the tracks (#01, 06, 15, 17) are  mere announcements and/or applause tapings.
    What's left, however, is a high quality audio of one of the Fool For You-ballet performances with the New York City Ballet at the State Theatre of the Lincoln Center. The tracks are:
    1. [Track 01] Intro RC (by announcer) + applause
    2. [Track 02] Georgia On My Mind
    3. [Track 03, missing from Concert Vault] Ain't That Love
    4. [Track 04, missing from Concert Vault] Don't You Know
    5. [Track 05] It Should've Been Me
    6. [Track 06] Intro Raelettes (by RC)
    7. [Track 07] Hit The Road Jack
    8. [Track 08] Rockhouse
    9. [Track 09] Mess Around
    10. [Track 10] A Fool For You
    11. [Track 11] I've Got A Woman
    12. [Track 12] Drown In My Own Tears
    13. [Track 13] What'd I Say [version 1]
    14. [Track 14] What'd I Say [version 2]
    15. [Track 15] Applause
    16. [Track 16] Ol' Man River
    17. [Track 17] Applause
    18. [Track 18] America The Beautiful [+ closing announcement]
    This 9 p.m. show on May 12th was also taped for TV by PBS, and broadcast on May 14, 1989. A complete video of this performance has survived also, but with a lesser sound quality.
    Charles was in top condition, performing all tunes with gusto, as if they were still all part of his daily repertoire.
    Choreographer Peter Martins and
    Ray Charles rehearsing (from Esquire, May '88).
    Ray played this partiture of songs (most in reconstructed arrangements that came as close as possible to the original recordings of the 1950's and 1960's) for the first time in 1988, involving the core of his best known small band line-up. In '89 he again brought his old brass players Guilbeau, Crawford, Newman and Cooper, but this time Marcus Belgrave (trumpet) was replaced by Jimmy Owens (an old friend of Crawford), and he also brought the contemporary Ray Charles Orchestra's rhythm section, with Jeff Ballard on drums, Kenny Carr on guitar and Darren Solomon on bass. Understandably, given the ballet's choreography, the band only got little room to fool around. David Newman got a few 'expected' pre-arranged solo parts, and Leroy Cooper solo'ed on Mess Around. The Raelettes in 1989 were Anita Brooks, Trudy Cohran, Kathryn Collier, Angie Workman and Estella Yarbrough. The New York City Ballet Orchestra (including a great little choir that excelled on Ol' Man River) was conducted by Robert Irving.

    May 11, 1989
    The groupe's performance on 11 May 1989 was also made public by Wolfgang's Vault. The sound quality is less, but bearable, and it has the merit of representing the complete partiture.

    1. Georgia On My Mind (partial)
    2. Ain't That Love
    3. Don't You Know
    4. It Should've Been Me
    5. Hit The Road Jack
    6. Rockhouse
    7. Mess Around
    8. A Fool For You
    9. I Got A Woman
    10. Drown In My Own Tears
    11. What'd I Say
    12. Ol' Man River
    13. America The Beautiful

    May 14 or 15, 1988
    Finally, Wolfgang also published a (first known complete) taping of one of the 1988 performances. They say it was recorded on March 13, but that year the series were staged on May 14 and 15 as the closing part of the American Music Festival, also at the Lincoln's New York State Theater. Unfortunately, the recording sounds like an amateur board mix.

    1. Georgia On My Mind 
    2. Ain't That Love
    3. Don't You Know
    4. It Should've Been Me
    5. Hit The Road Jack
    6. Rockhouse
    7. Mess Around
    8. A Fool For You
    9. I Got A Woman
    10. Drown In My Own Tears
    11. What'd I Say
    12. Ol' Man River
    13. America The Beautiful

    *Special thanks to Joël Dufour and André Monnot for helping me correct an earlier, hasty and sloppy, version of this post.

    18 August 2013

    Ray Charles In PSA For Glaucoma Research (1998)

    In 1998 Ray Charles recorded this 30-second public service announcement for the GRF, promoting glaucoma awareness:

    06 July 2013

    Ray Charles Live At The Wolf Trap (1997)

    On June 21, 1997 Ray Charles gave a concert at the Wolf Trap in Vienna (VA). An audience-taped recording, with a very reasonable quality has survived.
    1. Woody 'n' Bu (The Ray Charles Orchestra); solos KS - tp, RJ - ts, EV - p 
    2. Unidentified instrumental* (The Ray Charles Orchestra); solos AW - ts, TM - tp
    3. Easy Living (The Ray Charles Orchestra); solos DH - fh, KS - tp, JF - bs
    4. Intro RC
    5. Then We'll Be Home (Sadies Tune)
    6. Busted
    7. Georgia On My Mind
    8. Mississippi Mud
    9. Still Crazy After All These Years
    10. Hallelujah I Love Her So
    11. Say No More
    12. Blues For Big Scotia
    13. A Song For You
    14. Intro Raelettes (by RC)
    15. Alexander's Ragtime Band
    16. Guess Who I Saw Today (The Raelettes)
    17. Hit The Road Jack
    18. I Can't Stop Loving You
    19. What'd I Say
    20. Outro
    Personnel:
    The line-up was highly similar or identical to the personnel listing during the Europe tour in July 1997.
    Musicians: Ted Murdock, Roger Ingram, David Hoffman (fh), Ken Scharf - trumpets; Mike Guerrier, Steve Sigmund, Clay Lawry, Wayne Coniglio - trombones; Al Waters, Al Jackson, Steve Elliott, Rudy Johnson, James Farnsworth - saxophones; Peter Turre - drums; Kenny Carr - guitar; Tom Fowler - bass; Ernest Vantrease - keyboards. The Raelettes: Estella Yarbrough, Katrina Harper Cooke, Kathy Mackey, Karen Evans, Tonette McKinney.

    Many thanks to David Hoffman. * Help in naming this tune appreciated!

    Ray Charles Live At The ArtPark (1990)

    On 20 June 1990 Ray Charles played at the ArtPark in Lewiston. An audience-taped recording can be found here.

    1. Sister Sadie - partial (The Ray Charles Orchestra); solo Scott Frillman - bs
    2. Fire Up (The Ray Charles Orchestra)
    3. The Shadow Of Your Smile (The Ray Charles Orchestra)
    4. Unidentified instrumental (The Ray Charles Orchestra)
    5. Metamorphosis (The Ray Charles Orchestra)
    6. Orchestra outro Jam
    7. Intro RC
    8. Riding Thumb
    9. Busted
    10. Georgia On My Mind
    11. Mississippi Mud
    12. The Brightest Smile In Town
    13. Feel So Bad
    14. She Knows (Tape Flip Edit At 50:14)
    15. Intro Raelettes (by RC)
    16. Don't Set Me Free (ft Estella Yarbrough)
    17. Guess Who I Saw Today (with The Raelettes)
    18. Hit The Road Jack
    19. I Can't Stop Loving You
    20. Smack Dab In The Middle
    21. Lay Around And Love On You (All I Wanna Do Is --)
    22. What'd I Say
    23. Outro

    Who can help (definitively) identify the title of #4?

    Personnel:
    The line-up was probably (almost?) identical to the one during the European tour in July '90.
    Musicians: Chuck Parrish, Jeff Kaye, Jeff Helgesen, Kenny Rampton - trumpets; Steve Sigmund, Mike Guerrier, Marc Fields, Wayne Coniglio - trombones; Al Waters, Rudy Johnson, Al Jackson, Craig Bailey, Scott Frillman; David Rokeach - drums; Kenny Carr - guitar; Benoît Grey - bass; Ernest Vantrease - piano, organ. Raelettes: Trudy Cohran, Kay Nickerson, ?Lalomie Washburn?, Angie Workman, Estella Yarbrough.

    04 July 2013

    The Ray Charles Big Band's First Concert In Europe (1961)*

    For an update of this article, read this.

    Ad for Ray Charles' first big band concert in Europe, on October 18, 1961 at the Kongresshaus-Bühne in Zurich.
    From the Hans Philippi Collection (curated by Mario Schneeberger).

    Pages from the Zurich concert's souvenir brochure.
    Collection Mario Schneeberger.
    Invitation and ticket for exclusive 'after party' organized by the New Jazz Club Zurich, with band members Rudy Powell, Keg Johnson, Dickie Wells and Henderson Chambers as honorary guests.
    From the Hans Philippi Collection (curated by Mario Schneeberger).
    The concert's review in Le Matin - Tribune de Lausanne.
    From the Hans Philippi Collection (curated by Mario Schneeberger).
    The line-up no doubt was similar to the one in Paris, a few days later: musicians - Marcus Belgrave, Wallace Davenport, Phil Guilbeau, John Hunt - trumpets; Henderson Chambers, Leon Comegys, James Lee Harbert, Keg Johnson - trombones; Hank Crawford (alto saxophone, band leader), Rudy Powell - alto saxophone; David Newman - tenor saxophone, flute; Don Wilkerson - tenor saxophone; Leroy Cooper - baritone saxophone; Bruno Carr - drums; Sonny Forriest - guitar; Edgar Willis - bass;  Raelettes - Priscilla “Pat” Moseley Lyles, Margie Hendricks, Gwen Berry, Darlene McCrea.

    From an annotated page in Hans Philippi's copy of the souvenir program (not reproduced here) and from the review in the Tribune de Lausanne, it's possible to reconstruct (most of) the setlist (I'm quoting the solo attributions from the newspaper review):
    • Whisper Not
    • Happy Faces
    • I Remember Clifford (JH - bg)
    • ?Gone? (DN - fl)
    • Ghana
    • Moanin' (PG - tp)
    • Let The Good Times Roll (HC - tb)
    • Georgia On My Mind
    • Come Rain Or Come Shine (DW - ts)
    • Alexander's Ragtime Band (with The Raelettes) (JH - bg)
    • ?Greenbacks? (with The Raelettes) (DN - ts)
    • I Wonder
    • Margie
    • What'd I Say (RC - ep)
    Gone is a title unknown to me (or did the newspaper critic refer to a performance of When Your Lover Is Gone?). Greenbacks (also mentioned in the review) is a complete surprise in this live context (and, I'd say,  probably incorrect). The specification of Ray playing electric piano on What'd I Say may well indicates that he did not play his Hammond at all in Zurich.
    There is a rumor that the concert was taped and/or broadcast by a Swiss radio station, and that a digital copy of the recording has survived. It would be marvelous if that copy would surface one of these days.

    * Special thanks to Mario Schneeberger, who generously scanned & shared the documents reproduced above.

    14 June 2013

    Ray Charles Live At The Olympia In Paris (1962)

    In June 2013, in one massive effort, the obscure 'record' label Body & Soul released a plethora of digital albums (only distributed as downloads and streaming audio) with concerts recorded Live In Paris in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The list entails Louis Armstrong, Gerry Mulligan, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Ella Fitzgerald, Sidney Bechet, Art Blakey, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Quincy Jones, Cannonball Adderley, Ray Charles, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Brenda Lee, Henri Salvador, Jacques Brel, Yves Montand, Gilbert Bécaud, Juliette Gréco, Johnny Hallyday, Luis Mariano, and The Shadows.
    Looking at how Body & Soul treated the 3 Ray Charles albums in these series, my guess is that the fans of the artists involved will be relatively-to-very-happy (a number of these concerts were not released before), but that the owners of the artists' and composers' copyrights will not be abundantly content with it:  in Europe, most of the music on these albums is now in the public domain.

    Cover 'art' of the downloadable 'albums'; they come without liner notes. The first 12 'organ' tracks of Volume 3 are  from the 1961 Paris concerts.
    1. Ray Charles - Live In Paris; [Volume 1] October 22, 1961
    Released on June 10, 2013 by Body & Soul. Distributed as MP3 downloadable file (iTunes, Amazon UK and others) and as audio streams (Spotify a.o.).
    This album is the so-manieth release of a selection of tunes performed at the Palais des Sports in Paris in October '61. Cf. the release history described here.

    2. Ray Charles - Live In Paris; Volume 2 - May 18, 1962
    Released on June 10, 2013 by Body & Soul. Distributed as MP3 downloadable file (iTunes, Amazon UK and others) and as audio streams (Spotify a.o.). Taped during Brother Ray's concert series at the Olympia Theatre from 17 to 21 May 1962. I doubt if the track list was entirely congruent to the setlist (incl. a few obvious corrections):
    1. Doodlin' (Warm Up) (With Ray Charles Orchestra)
    2. Doodlin' (With Ray Charles Orchestra)
    3. One Mint Julep (With Ray Charles Orchestra)
    4. Let The Good Times Roll
    5. Untitled Blues
    6. Alexander's Ragtime Band
    7. (Night Time Is) The Right Time (ft. Margie Hendricks)
    8. Hit The Road Jack
    9. I Believe To My Soul
    10. My Bonnie
    11. Unchain My Heart
    12. I Can't Stop Loving You
    13. Bye Bye Love
    14. Yes Indeed
    15. What'd I Say
    16. Ray's Thank You speech (in French)
    17. Tell The Truth
    18. Margie
    The marvelous (piano & hum & scat) blues (#5) as far as I know was never recorded elsewhere. #11 is an interesting first known performance of I Can't Stop Loving You - just accompanied by piano and rhythm section, with an important role for The Raelettes' harmony singing.

    Untitled Blues:


    3. Ray Charles - Live In Paris, Volume 3, 'The Organ Concert'; May 20, 1962
    Released on June 10, 2013 by Body & Soul. Distributed as MP3 downloadable file (iTunes, Amazon UK and others) and as audio streams (Spotify a.o.). Tracklist (incl. a few obvious corrections):
    1. Moanin' [1961]
    2. Alexander's Ragtime Band [1961]
    3. I Believe To My Soul [1961]
    4. My Bonnie [1961]
    5. I Wonder [1961]
    6. Sticks And Stones [1961]
    7. My Baby (I Love Her Yes I Do) (ft. Margie Hendricks) [1961]
    8. Just For A Thrill [1961]
    9. I've Got News For You [1961]
    10. Yes Indeed [1961]
    11. Hit The Road Jack [1961]
    12. What'd I Say + Finale with Pop Goes The Weasel [1961]
    13. Georgia On My Mind
    14. Hide Nor Hair
    15. Careless Love
    16. Danger Zone
    17. Marie
    18. Drown In My Own Tears
    It's credible that the tunes #13 to 18 (with Ray Charles on piano) indeed (partially) represent the May 20, 1962 concert in Paris. #15 (Careless Love) and # 17 (Marie) are first known live recordings.
    However, the cluster #1 - # 12, indeed an "organ concert", represents yet another selection of tunes from the October 1961 series at the Palais des Sports.

    Sources
    The Olympia concerts took place on 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23 and 25 May. The 1962 recordings must go back to tapings made by the radio station Europe-1. (The originals of the 1961 tapes and/or digitals copies of same are shelved by INA, the archive of French public radio and TV).

    Personnel '62
    The 2014 release on the Frémeaux label.
    Musicians: Marcus Belgrave, Wallace Davenport, Phil Guilbeau, John Hunt - trumpets; Henderson Chambers, James Lee Harbert, Frederic 'Keg' Johnson, Leon Comegys - trombones; Hank Crawford, Rudy Powell – alto saxophones; David Newman - tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, flute; Don Wilkerson - tenor saxophone; Leroy Cooper - baritone saxophone; Bruno Carr - drums; Sonny Forriest - guitar; Edgar Willis - bass. The Raelettes: Gwen Berry, Margie Hendricks, Pat Lyles, Darlene McRea.

    One more tune
    A separate recording of the Hank Crawford tune Blue Stone, probably also recorded at one of the 1962 Olympia concerts, with Ray solo'ing on alto, is circulating among fans.

    Update: new release on CD
    In 2014 the people behind the Body & Soul label took care of yet another release of the concerts, this time  on CD, on the Frémeaux label (FA5466).  Frémeaux seems to collaborate with INA and Radio France.

    Documentation
    More photos here.

     Poster (1962).

    Theatre's marquee, a photo clipped from  the c. 1964 souvenir brochure "My Early Years 1930 - 1960". 

    Spread from the souvenir program of the Olympia series, Paris 1962.
    Two photos by Gérald Bloncourt.

    At the Olympia dressing room. These 2 photos were shot on or shortly after the 17th - (source says, incorrectly, at La Salle Pleyel). Second picture attributed to Tony Frank. 

    Photos by Tony Frank.

    Backstage with Eartha Kitt; photo by Eddy Wiggins. 

    Still from French TV news on 19 May: Johnny Hallyday and Sylvie Vartan after one of Ray's concerts at the Olympia.

     Leaving the Olympia with Raita Johnson. Photo by Jean-Louis Atlan/Corbis. 
    With Raita Johnson (clipped from Het Vrije Volk, Jun. 13, 1962).
    Many thanks to André Monnot (for alerting me) and Joël Dufour (for sorting things out).

    12 June 2013

    Jim Marshall Catching Ray Charles' Shadow (1961?)

    Photo by Jim Marshall, put up for auction by Christie's. Dated in 1960, but must be of later date since Ray's first big band was established in 1961. The venue could be Longshoreman's Hall in San Francisco on Dec. 29, 1961 - where Marshall shot a series with a.o. this photo backstage (if so, prob. with Bruno Carr - d; Sonny Forriest - g).

    04 June 2013

    Ray Charles Singing Georgia For Designing Women (1991)

    Designing Women was a CBS sitcom about the working and personal lives of four Southern women and one man in an interior design firm in Atlanta, Georgia. It aired from September 29, 1986 until May 24, 1993. The series' theme song was Georgia On My Mind.
    During the first five seasons, the the producers just used  an instrumental version of the tune, but for the sixth season (1991) they filmed a leader in which Brother Ray performed the song - in a special 1-minute arrangement - with the protagonists hanging around his piano. The leader was used for 23 episodes, right until the end of the series in 1992.

    18 May 2013

    Ray Charles Band @ MIT (1961)

    As far as I know, this is the second-ever picture of Ray Charles' big band.
    "After an informal dinner, it was the popular jazz artist, Ray Charles, and his orchestra. An enthusiastic audience
    attended the concert held in the Armory, which was followed by our own private performance - the annual pledge skit
    and a 'jungle theme' party."
    On November 4, 1961, the Ray Charles ("augmented") Big Band performed at the Armory in Boston on the occasion of MIT's yearly Junior Prom weekend. The 'Genius' signs on the music stands were new. The line-up must have been highly similar to the one in Paris, in late October '61, so that could well be John Hunt taking a trumpet solo in the shadows.
    From MIT''s collegial newspaper, The Tech (Nov. 8, 1961).

    25 April 2013

    Ray Charles' Iris By Francis Giacobetti (c 1990?)


    Portrait of Ray Charles by Francis Giacobetti (c 1990?), in the Hymn series: 180 black and white portraits, combined with full color close ups of each person's iris.
    Cf. Francis Giacobetti's website for more.


    23 April 2013

    Rare Picture Of Ray Charles Fans At 1958 Dance Hall Gig In Rochester (NY)

    Kids with (self-made?) Ray Charles hats at dance hall gig in 1958; photo by Paul Hoeffler. Almost certainly taken at Eddie's Roller Palace in Chestnut Street, Rochester (NY). More pictures: here.

    10 April 2013

    Ray Charles Interviewed In Rock, Roll And Remember (1984)

    Copy of the show on elpee,
    offered for sale on Ebay. It could be
    from a rerun of the show.
    In 1984 Columbia Records put serious effort in promoting Ray's country & western album Do I Ever Cross Your Mind. Obviously, canvassing radio shows was part of the package.

    Ray also appeared in the long-running syndicated radio show Rock, Roll and Remember (show #124) produced, presented and syndicated by Dick Clark for his United Stations network.

    08 April 2013

    Ray Charles Live In Saratoga Springs (1988)

    On 20 and 21 August 1988 the Ray Charles aggregation headlined the JVC Jazz Festival at the Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs (NY). Someone in the audience taped the show on the 21st. Here you can listen to it. The setlist* was:
    1. Bacio (Ray Charles Orchestra) (Jeff Kaye - tp; Armin Marmolejo - tb)
    2. The Team (Ray Charles Orchestra) (Jeff Kaye - tp, Rudy Johnson - ts)
    3. Bill (Ray Charles Orchestra) (Mike Karn - ts)
    4. Smokin' at Hungry Joe's (Ray Charles Orchestra)
    5. Sister Sadie (Ray Charles Orchestra) (Al Jackson - bs)
    6. Intro Ray Charles
    7. Then We'll Be Home (Sadies Tune)
    8. Busted
    9. Georgia On My Mind
    10. Mississippi Mud
    11. Come Rain Or Come Shine
    12. Feel So Bad
    13. Come Live With Me
    14. Intro Raelettes
    15. Hold On, I'm Coming
    16. Anyway You Want To
    17. Don't Change On Me 
    18. I Can't Stop Loving You 
    19. Smack Dab In The Middle 
    20. The Pages Of My Mind
    21. Lay Around And Love On You (All I Wanna Do Is --)
    22. What'd I Say
    23. Outro 
    Bacio (#1) was penned by Dan Marcus; Bill (#3) was composed by Onzy Matthews.

    Personnel:*
    Musicians: Chuck Parrish, Jeff Helgesen, Ted Murdock, Jeff Kaye - trumpets; Armin Marmolejo, Steve Sigmund, James Romanek, Charlie Shofner - trombones; Chris Lega, Al Jackson, Mike Karn, Rudy Johnson, Scott Frillman - saxophones; Jeff Ballard - drums; Kenny Carr - guitar; Darren Solomon - bass; Ernest Vantrease - keyboards. The Raelettes: unidentified.
    * This concert shouldn't be confused (as happened to me) with the 1988 concert at the Paul Masson winery in Saratoga (CA), described here. Special thanks to Darren Solomon, Scott Frillman, Steve Sigmund, Jim Rotondi, Dan Marcus, and Jeff Helgesen for helping me to get the details right.

    16 March 2013

    Ray Charles Interviewed By KTLA (2002)

    In 2002 KTLA's Morning News sent actress-reporter-bimbo Mindy Burbano to RPM to interview Brother Ray - who was surprisingly patient with her.
    Here's a 20-minute edit, offering nothing new, except for a few words on the Ray Charles Doll, and on Bally's Ray Charles slot machines, plus Ray's - not necessarily entirely true - claim that America The Beautiful only sold something like 30,000 records when it was first released, but over 2,000,000 copies thirty years later [i.e. after 9/11, BS], and a few Genius piano chords at the end.

    12 March 2013

    Ray Charles 3x At La Salle Pleyel In Paris (1972)

    Photo by Michel Artault/Corbis.
    On 16 and 17 October 1972 the Ray Charles Band once again played a series of - probably four - concerts at the Pleyel Room in Paris. Three of the shows were recorded by Europe-1. It's not clear whether and when any of them was aired by the station. The setlists were:

    Concert A (16 October, 07.30 pm):
    1. Swing A Little Taste (With Ray Charles Orchestra) (quick walk-on version)
    2. Hallelujah I Love Her So
    3. Yesterday
    4. You Made Me Love You
    5. Georgia On My Mind
    6. Feel So Bad (ft Ralph Byrd on guitar, John Henderson on organ) 
    7. The Sun Died
    8. Falling In Love All Over Again (ft Dorothy Berry) 
    9. I Can't Stop Loving You
    10. Look What They Have Done To My Song, Ma
    11. Seems Like I Gotta Do Wrong
    12. Shake (The Raelettes)
    13. What'd I Say (intro So Soon broken off) + Finale
    Concert B (16 October, 10.30 pm):
    1. Introduction Ray Charles
    2. Swing A Little Taste (With Ray Charles Orchestra) (quick walk-on version)
    3. Let The Good Times Roll
    4. Georgia On My Mind
    5. The Bright Lights And You Girl
    6. The Sun Died
    7. Feel So Bad (ft Ralph Byrd on guitar, John Henderson on organ)
    8. Going Down Slow (ft  Ralph Byrd on guitar)
    9. Look What They Have Done To My Song, Ma
    10. I Can't Stop Loving You
    11. Shake (The Raelettes)
    12. So Soon (ft John Henderson)
    13. What'd I Say (ft John Henderson)
    14. Outro/Finale
    Backstage. Photo by Ton den Haan.
    Concert C (17 October, 10.30 p.m); incomplete:
    1. Introduction Ray Charles
    2. Swing A Little Taste (With Ray Charles Orchestra) (quick walk-on version)
    3. Let The Good Times Roll
    4. Georgia On My Mind
    5. You Made Me Love You
    6. The Sun Died
    7. Feel So Bad (ft Ralph Byrd on guitar, John Henderson on organ)
    8. Going Down Slow (ft Ralph Byrd on guitar)
    9. Somebody (ft Ralph Byrd on guitar, John Henderson on organ)
    10. I Can't Stop Loving You
    11. Look What They Have Done To My Song, Ma
    12. Indian Love Call (ft Susaye Greene)
    13. Shake (The Raelettes)
    14. [missing: What'd I Say]

    Cover souvenir brochure.
    This was an inspired series of performances, with a few sumptuous portions of blues. As always during the 1972 tours, John Henderson* had a special role - musically on his organ of course, but also as a (willing) victim of Ray's teasing.
    Falling In Love (#A.8) received a much better (5:40) treatment than the Pleyel-version of 1971. Seems Like I Gotta Do Wrong (#A.11) is the earliest known recorded live version of this tune, and a good one (the tune was originally released with the 1972 album Message From The People). As usual with The Genius, all versions of Feel So Bad are splendid, but the #B.7-version, with a Jimmy Smith-like organ solo by Henderson is really brilliant. Ray gave Somebody (#C.9), originally penned by the man himself, an extra bluesy rendition; until today I only knew the tune from the 1973 Come Live With Me album. So Soon (#B.12) got a super-slow, hilarious, 8:30 version with special (siren) sound effects; Ray urging Henderson (introduced as "Deacon John") several times to "Take It!". The #B.13 version of What'd I Say was a (highly unusual!) duet with Henderson.

    Personnel:
    Musicians: Mike Conlon (ct), Tommy Cortez, Joe Mitchell, Tommy Turrentine, Tony Farrell - trumpets; Glenn Childress, Al Hall Jr., Fred Murrell, Steve Turre - trombones; James Clay, Don Garcia - alto saxophones; Andy Ennis - tenor saxophone, flute; Fred Smith - tenor saxophone; Leroy Cooper - baritone saxophone, band leader; John Perrett - drums; Ralph Byrd - guitar; Edgar Willis - bass; John Henderson - organ. The Raelettes: Dorothy Berry, Susaye Greene, Mable John, Vernita Moss, Estella Yarbrough.

    * The man seems to have disappeared after working with Brother Ray, but I have heard rumors that he has been living  (maybe even still is working) in Texas. Who knows more about John Henderson?