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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).

1 comment :


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