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11 March 2013

Ray Charles At La Salle Pleyel In Paris (1975)

In 1975 the Ray Charles big band had one of the strongest line-ups in history, and Ray's voice was possibly better than ever (even The Raelettes, despite quite a few personnel changes, maintained a consistently high level). On April 21 the Ray Charles troupe played a double concert at La Salle Pleyel in Paris. An incomplete tape of one of the shows, just with the part of the concert that The Raelettes were on stage, has recently surfaced - coming from a broadcast by Europe-1. The tunes that survived were:
  1. Love Train (The Raelettes)
  2. Shadows Of My Mind (ft. Madelyn Quebec)
  3. Take Me Home, Country Roads
  4. The Entertainer (fragment)
  5. In The Evening
  6. What'd I Say (intro: I'm Gonna Keep On Singin')
  7. Outro
Coll. J.P. Verger
Shadows Of My Mind (#2) got a technically magnificent (be it slightly over-soulful) treatment from the wonderful Madelyn Quebec. The fragment of  Scott Joplin's The Entertainer (#4; a.k.a. theme from The Sting) was in fact a brief prelude to give Ernest Vantrease ("the Deacon") a minute to take his place behind Ray's piano, so that The Genius himself could spend the next 13+ minutes at his electric piano, for In The Evening (#5; a splendid version, including some beautiful interactions with The Raelettes, but not as wildly improvised, haunted and slooooow as the infamous Madrid version from the same tour).

Musicians: Jeff Conrad, Bob Coassin, Jack Evans, Phil Guilbeau - trumpets; Glenn Childress, Steve Davis, Wally Huff, Ken Tussing - trombones; Ed Pratt, Clifford Solomon - alto saxophones; James Clay, Andy Ennis - tenor saxophones; Leroy Cooper (baritone saxophone, band leader); Tony Matthews - guitar; Ernest Vantrease - piano, organ; Edgar Willis - bass; John Bryant - drums. The Raelettes: Dorothy Berry, Mable John, Vernita Moss, Madelyn Quebec, Estella Yarbrough.

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