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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?

Ray Charles 2x At La Salle Pleyel In Paris (1971)

So far, I had 1971 only covered by one professionally recorded live concert - the one at the Turin Jazz Festival on August 8, known from the oddly titled bootleg CD Blues Connotation. But I've just listened to two concerts (i.e. the after-intermission parts) from Ray Charles' yearly visit (during the late 1960s and the 1970s) to La Salle Pleyel in Paris, on 1, 2 and 3 October. The band probably performed six times. These two shows were recorded by Europe-1, but it's unclear on exactly what day they were taped, and if and/or when they were broadcast. The setlists were:

Concert A:
  1. Tears Inside (With Ray Charles Orchestra)
  2. The Bright Lights And You Girl
  3. Georgia On My Mind
  4. Hallelujah I Love Her So
  5. Yesterday
  6. Feel So Bad
  7. The Long And Winding Road
  8. Introduction Raelettes
  9. Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers
  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. Falling In Love All Over Again (ft Dorothy Berry)
  14. What'd I Say
Concert B:
  1. Introduction Ray Charles
  2. Tears Inside (With Ray Charles Orchestra)
  3. Hallelujah I Love Her So
  4. The Sun Died
  5. The Bright Lights And You Girl
  6. Georgia On My Mind
  7. Feel So Bad
  8. The Long And Winding Road
  9. Leave My Man Alone (ft Vernita Moss)
  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. Falling In Love All Over Again (ft Dorothy Berry)
  14. What'd I Say
  15. Outro
Coll. André Monnot.
Listening to the audience response, everybody in Paris once again was happy with the concerts, but they didn't entail anything exciting. Tears Inside is also know from the 1971 Torino bootleg. Even Falling In Love All Over Again (#13 on both setlists), the only known live recordings of this tune, sounded flat.*

Personnel:
Musicians: Marcus Belgrave, Tommy Cortez, Frank Szabo, Jack Walrath - trumpets; Glenn Childress, Jules Rowell, Mayo Tiana - trombones; Dana Hughes - bass trombone; James Clay, Jay Cloyd Miller - alto saxophones; Andy Ennis - tenor saxophone, flute; David Newman - tenor saxophone; Leroy Cooper - baritone saxophone, band leader; John Perrett - drums; Ralph Byrd - guitar; Edgar Willis - bass; Charles Costello - organ. The Raelettes: Dorothy Berry, Susaye Greene, Mable John, Vernita Moss.

*This Dorothy Berry song was penned by Jimmy Holiday and Jackie DeShannon, and originally released by Tangerine Records (#1020) in 1971:

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).

Personnel:
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.

03 March 2013

Ray Charles Singing America For Black & Decker (1984)

In 1984 Roy Eaton created the musical track for America The Beautiful that accompanied "[...] Ray Charles' emotional rendition of the classic in a new 30-second spot for Black & Decker".
"Eaton said it was a challenge reducing a 2 1/2-minute song to a 29-second musical track without losing the spirit of the composition. He praised Ray Charles' artistry, Bert DeCoteaux' arrangement and the use of a metronome that helped capture the essence of the patriotic message."
"Eaton produced the music by instructing media sound engineer Fred Christie to record the rhythm section (Charles on piano included), then Charles' voice and a six-member back-up vocal section. Strings added later were the icing on the cake."
Lewis, Gilman & Kynett in Philadelphia conceived and produced the spot, "which featured shots of the restoration work on the Statue of Liberty from dawn to dusk". The LG&K team included Carl Casselman (creative director), Dino Sistilli (art), John Mohr (copy), and Ed Bates (producer).

(All quotes from an article in AdWeek, November 12, 1984).

Update:
[Reader's comment]: "In the mid-eighties, Black & Decker power tools through its agency Lewis Gilman & Kynett in Philadelphia signed on to be the official power tool supplier to the Statue of Liberty restoration. As part of the agreement, B&D could do promotions to publicize their involvement. One promotion they did was to contribute a portion of power tool sales to the restoration fund. To communicate this, LG&K did a TV commercial with helicopter shots of the Statue at sunset with workers handling B&D tools. They commissioned Ray Charles to do a rendition of "America" to accompany. This photo was taken at the recording session in NYC."

Ray Charles 'Rapping' In 'Electronic Video Recording' (1970)

Kay Bourne, in an article titled Black TV Programming As Art - published in the Boston based newspaper the Bay State Banner on 3 September 1970 - described a video production by Steve Hussein (a.k.a. Hemingway) in which Ray Charles was interviewed (and that bit of information is about the only thing I understand from his rant):
"Black programming for television is its own art form, suggests Steve Hussein in a six-part definition and analysis. Hussein is an independent producer whose 'One More Time' has broadcast 35 half-hour programs over WNAC-TV ([Channel] 7).
A recent video tape recording (EVR-electronic video recording) gives the viewer a practical means of grasping Hussein's philosophy.
Ray Charles in casual attire is sitting on a couch rapping about young blacks in show business. That's who it is - Ray Charles. With sync screening a host's silhouette is imposed on the screen. 'What do you think of the war on poverty - poverty cutbacks?' Ray Charles tells us.
And his music continues to tell us 'Them That Got' as the camera moves down a Roxbury street: Washington street, 'wine alley', moving behind Louie's Lounge and Shantie's Bar down the rural citystreet, a fence, a dog, a car comes by, people, other people, shapes, details. Ray. Charles knows. 'Tears.'
Hussein breaks a black show down into sensory and communicative parts, each having three aspects.
The sensory is comprised of visual, tactile and auditory. Black people seek concrete images, rich textures and familiar jargon. They are less intrigued with abstractions, simple designs and over-institutionalized dialogue.
The communicative is comprised of idea, translation and language. Black people seek subjective understandings, immediacy of information and environmental sounds. They are less intrigued with intellectual nitpicking, romantic sensibility or standard English.
Hussein puts the black priority in viewing this way: 'If a black person has a plumbing problem in his home, he would rather 1) figure out a way to stop rent payments, 2) punch the landlord in the nose, or 3) learn how to fix the plumbing himself, than he would initiate legislation that aims at solving plumbing problems in the home.
The implications of Hussein's experiment fall into three immediate categories.
1) That Hussein is working in EVR video tapes - a process akin to video cassettes - is a practical insurance that black programming as an art form will be developed [...].
Network and public television, firmly in the hands of big business and its charities, has shown no interest in television other than to sell and lull. Black art is not a reaction to a TV 'white art'. Television has had no art form at all. (Possible exceptions are football games and some journalism).
Television faces a media revolution and its response has been to attempt to rid itself of any other interest, namely blacks, with a real voice in determining programming and policy. Hussein, and any other artist, is wise to look to video tapes, cassettes and CATV.
2) Where grants for 'specialized' programming can be got, it's best to have a viable theory as to what black programming really is rather than the money going to a 'white' experience in a black face or to the person who can talk the fastest, but may be saying the least.
3) Having stated a priority for people's viewing habits, we are saved the stench of yet another study."
Who knows more?

02 March 2013

Ray Charles Interviewed For Martin Luther King Tribute Show (1977)

The Sun Reporter of 13 January 1977 announced that the following day Channel 9 in San Francisco was to broadcast I Have a Dream: Martin Luther King Jr., 1929-1968.
The 'show' seems to have had an odd format: "an hour-long television tribute to the memory of the civil rights leader", including "interviews with Ray Charles, a poetry reading by Maya Angelou, gospel music from the Duffey Singers, and a dance performance choreographed by Raymond Sawyer. Maya Angelou will portray the role of grandmother".

Who knows more about this production?

01 March 2013

Ray Charles Performing We Didn't See A Thing With George Jones At 18th CMA (1984)


The source if this photo attributed
it to the same CMA show, 
probably erroneously.
George Jones and Ray Charles performed their country hit record We Didn't See A Thing on the 18th* Academy of Country Music Awards show, held at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville
The program was produced by Dick Clark, directed by Gene Weed,  and was first aired by NBC on 8 October 1984*.

Kenny Rogers hosted (also cf. this). YouTube shows more footage from the program.

* Some sources erroneously counted edition #19. Producer Dick Clark's media database mentions 14 May 1984 as the premiere date.