Mediagraphy - Discography - Trackography - Videography - Gigography - Biography - Chronology

30 November 2014

Ray Charles Speaking At Great American Talk Festival

The Great American Talk Festival was a lecture series - held between 1977 and 1984 - featuring writers, actors, musicians, journalists and politicians such as Alex Haley, Cicely Tyson, Pearl Bailey, Ray Charles, David Letterman, Mike Wallace and Dan Rather. Profits from ticket sales went to Grand Rapids Junior College scholarships.

Ray Charles spoke in the late '70s (audio & photos):

25 November 2014

Who You Gonna Love

Promo for radio stations.
Single (B): ABC 10081, January 1960, b/w My Baby (I Love Her Yes I Do).
Compilation album: Singular Genius, Concord Records, 15 November 2011.

From the first recording session for ABC Paramount, in late 1959. With the band and The Raelettes.

(Poor audio):

Sunday, Monday Or Always (By Jimmy Scott, Ray Charles On Piano)

The Rhino/WEA re-issue of 2003, with - oddly - the 1968 Portrait Of
Ray album, from 1968.

Album3: Jimmy Scott: Falling In Love Is Wonderful, Tangerine, TRC 1501, 1963.

Taped at the United Recordings Studios in Hollywood, in 1962.

Arranged by Gerald Wilson.

Kentucky Waltz

Album: Pure Genius, Atlantic/WEA, 20 September 2005.

Captured during the rehearsal session with Ahmet Ertegun in 1953, in New York City.

Ray Charles loved to reminisce about his earliest endeavors in country music. Shortly after his 17th birthday, in 1947, he landed a gig with The Florida Playboys. In Michael Lydon's biography, Ray Charles - Man And Music, the story is that "[o]ne audition convinced the Playboys that RC could play country music with a genuine flavor, and they hired him, no questions asked about race. For several months he gigged with the band, playing current country hits like Kentucky Waltz in white honky-tonks in and around Tampa, learning to yodel, and singing Waiting For You as his featured number. [...]." Read more here.

21 November 2014

All For You

Album: Ray Charles Invites You To Listen, ABC/Tangerine 595, June 1967.

Recorded at RPM International in 1966/1967.

With The Ray Charles Orchestra, a strings section, and singers (all uncredited).
Arranged by Sid Feller.

Child Support, Alimony

German single.
Album: Would You Believe? Warner Bros 26343, October 1990.
Also released as a 3" CD single (b/w I'll Take Care Of You) by Warner Japan (WPDP-6248).

Recorded at RPM International in Los Angeles.

Musicians remained uncredited; Rich Cason produced the synthesizer parts.

I Surrender Dear (With The Ray Charles Sextet)

Album: The Great Ray Charles, Atlantic 1259, August 1957.

Recorded on 20 November 1956 at the Capitol Recording Studios in New York with Joe Bridgewater, John Hunt - tp; David Newman - as, ts; Emmett Dennis - bs; William Peebles - ds; Roosevelt Sheffield - b. Arranged by Quincy Jones. Bob Arnold and Johnny Cue were the engineers.

Ray played piano and celeste on this one.

I Wish I'd Never Loved You At All (With Gladys Knight)

Album: Just Between Us, Columbia 40703, September 1988. 

Recorded at RPM International with uncredited members of the Ray Charles Orchestra (i.e. Mark Curry, Bobby Medina, Ted Murdock, Jeff Kaye - trumpets; Mike Christianson, Armin Marmolejo, Steve Sigmund, Charlie Schofner - trombones; Al Jackson, Ricky Woodard, Rudy Johnson, Leroy Cooper [and Chris Lega?] - saxophones; Ernest Vantrease - keyboards; Kenny Carr - guitar; Anders Swanson - bass; Paul Kreibich - drums).

'91 TV 50Years - Released

Roll With My Baby

Ray Charles - Roll With My Baby / The Midnight Hour
From Cashbox, Oct. 4, 1952.
Single (B): Atlantic 976, September 1952, b/w The Midnight Hour.
Compilation album: What'd I Say, Atlantic 8029, September 1959.

Recorded on 11 September 1952 in New York, with "His Orchestra": trumpet, saxes, drums, bass by unidentified musicians.

You Don't Exist No More (By Percy Mayfield, Ray Charles On Organ)

Single (A): Tangerine TRC 935, 1964 , b/w Memory Pain.
Album3: Percy Mayfield - His Tangerine and Atlantic Sides, Rhino RHM 27828, 2003.

One of Percy's darkest songs ever, recorded in Los Angeles on February 21, 1963.

With Percy Mayfield - vocals; Marcus Belgrave - trumpet; Hank Crawford - alto saxophone; Ray Charles - piano; Howard Roberts - guitar; Edgar Willis - bass; Al McKibbon - bass; Milt Turner - drums.

Your Love Is So Doggone Good

Album: Love Country Style, ABC/Tangerine 707, June 1970.
Single (B): ABC 11308, July 1971, b/w Feel So Bad.

Recorded at RPM International in Los Angeles in May 1970.

A remarkable, strings dominated arrangement by Sid Feller. Recorded at RPM International in Los Angeles. The choir, and the rhythm section remained uncredited (Carol Kaye possibly on bass).

Ray added a few seduction routine phrases, in his lowest speaking voice.

20 November 2014

3/4 Of The Time (Ray Charles Orchestra)

Album: My Kind Of Jazz Part 3, Crossover 9007, October 1975.

Recorded on a new 16-track console in late 1974 and early 1975 at the RPM International Studio in Los Angeles.

With Johnny Coles, Jack Evans, Phil Guilbeau, Bob Coassin - trumpets; Ken Tussing, Glenn Childress, Steve Davis, Wally Huff - trombones; Eddie Pratt, Clifford Solomon - alto saxophones; James Clay, Andy Ennis - tenor saxophones; Leroy Cooper - baritone saxophone; Ernest Vantrease - piano, electric piano; Edgar Willis - bass; John Bryant - drums.  Ray didn't play.

Solos: James Clay - ts; Johnny Coles - tp.

Written by Roger Neumann.

The tune was part of the band's live repertoire, in an arrangement penned by Wayne Coniglio.

3/4 Time

Album: Wish You Were Here Tonight, Columbia 38293, March 1983.
Single (A): Columbia 3810, March 1983, b/w You Feel Good All Over.

Recorded with uncredited Nashville session musicians between 1981 and 1983, finished at RPM International in Los Angeles.

Arranged by James Polk.

Columbia produced a clip of the song, directed by Marc Ball, edited by Captain Video, and produced by Scene Three Video (Nashville). Historic Films (file ID MV-13) is licensing the music clip.

Music video:

Florida Senate, at the state's legislature in Tallahassee, 1986:

Lighthouse for the Blind benefit, Miami, 1999:

'83 Clip Time
'83 TV Blitz
'83 CL Antibes
'84 LC Austin
'84 LC Viareggio
'84 LC Warsaw - 2x - Released
'84 LC Ithaca
'85 LC Antibes
'86 DM Florida
'88 LC Masson
'99 LC Miami - Released
'99 LC Milan
01 LC Waterloo
02 LC Travis
02 LC NewJersey
03 LC Whitehouse

A Bit of Soul (aka Blues Hangover)

Single (A): Atlantic 2094, February 1961, b/w Early In The Morning.
Compilation album: Pure Genius: The Complete Atlantic Recordings ["Remastered LP version"], Atlantic, 2005 (1952-1959).

Recorded in Miami on 23 April 1955 with Joe Bridgewater, Riley Webb - tp; David Newman - as, bs; Don Wilkerson - ts; William Peebles - ds; Roosevelt Sheffield - b.

The erroneous title A Bit Of Soul and Ray's authorship were probably, ignorantly, attributed to this Lloyd Glenn tune by the people at Atlantic.

In a 1968 concert souvenir booklet this tune was longlisted as being part of the band's live repertoire. 

A Born Loser

Album: Ray's Moods, ABC/Paramount/Tangerine 550, 1966.

Recorded in June 1966 at RPM International, in Los Angeles.

With uncredited horns, Rene Hall on guitar, Carol Kaye on bass, Earl Palmer on drums, The Raelettes (Merry Clayton, Gwen Berry, Clydie King, Lilian Fort or possibly Edna Wright), and Ray contributing to the backing vocals. Arranged by Rene Hall.

A Brand New Day (With Stevie Wonder, Patti Austin, James Ingram; Ray Charles On Piano)


On December 2, 2001 Ray participated (a bit) in the performance of this song, the grand finale of the 24th Kennedy Center Celebration, honoring Quincy Jones.

(Starts at 17:06):

A Childhood

Album3: Silences On Crie, Fondation Pour L'Enfance, 18371-1, 1989 (distributed by CBS; CB 321); also on cassette (18371-4, 1989).

A Childhood was part of an album titled Silences On Crie, a fundraising vehicle for and released by the Fondation Pour L'Enfance, a French charity fighting against child abuse, in November 1989. Among the other artists contributing were Richard Bohringer, Francis Cabrel, Julien Clerc, Diane Dufresne, Goldman, Jonasz, Nougaro, Souchon, and Les P'tits Loups.
The 4:00 song was written by Anngregory, A[rlette]  Kotchounian, and M. Marciak (Ann Gregory is an alias used by Kotchounian, Ray's French girl friend for many years), arranged by Sid Feller, and recorded at the RPM Studios in LA. (Audiotapes of a working session where Feller and Charles discussed and worked on the arrangement of the song has survived).
In some sources Kotchounian was also credited for being the conceptor and producer of the album. The "seen on tv" badge in the top left corner of the cover illustration suggests that the songs were either performed in a TV show, or that the album was promoted on TV through a PSA-ish campaign.

A Fool For You

Single (A): Atlantic 1063, June 1955, b/w This Little Girl Of Mine.
Compilation: Ray Charles, Atlantic 8006, June 1957.

Recorded in Miami on 23 April 1955 with Joe Bridgewater, Riley Webb - tp; David Newman - as, bs; Don Wilkerson - ts; William Peebles - ds; Roosevelt Sheffield - b.

One could call Sweet Sixteen Bars an instrumental interpretation of the same theme.

Newport Jazz Festival, 1958:

Legends, 1988:

58 LC Newport - Released
'80 LC Northsea
'81 LC Barcelona
'82 LC Japan
'88 LC Ballet - 2x
'88 TV Legends - Released
'89 LC Ballet - 2x

A Girl I Used To Know

Album: Ray's Moods, ABC/Paramount/Tangerine 550, 1966.

Recorded in August 1966 at RPM International, in Los Angeles.

With strings; a choir; Ray Charles - organ and piano; Rene Hall - guitar; Carol Kaye - bass; Hal Blaine - drums.

The live version, with The Raelettes and Billy Preston's pedal work on organ - was considerably better.

'68 LC Bluesthing:

Album 1968 Bluesthing - Released

A Legend In My Time (I'd Be --) (With Ronnie Milsap)


Part of a Don Gibson medley at the 25th Anniversary Concert of the CMA, recorded in March 1983.

1. Oh Lonesome Me, 2. this tune, 3. I Can't Stop Loving You:

A Little Bit Of Heaven

Album: From The Pages Of My Mind, Columbia 40388, September 1986.
Single (B): Columbia 6370, October 1986, b/w Dixie Moon.

Recorded in Nashville, and mixed in Los Angeles, at RPM International.

With Bobby Odgin, Timmy Tappan - piano; William Puett - horns; Hargus Pig Robbins, Bobby Wood - keyboards; Pete Bordonali, Pete Drake, Jerry Kennedy, Weldon Myrick, Dale Sellers - guitar; Billy Sanford, Henry Strzelecki, Bob Wray II - bass; Terry McMillan - harmonica, percussion; Kenny Malone - drums; The A Strings - strings. Backing vocals: Louis Nunley, Judy Rodman, Diane Tidwell, Hurshel Wiginton. Bill McElhiney - arranger and conductor.

A Little Bitty Tear

Compilation album: Rare Genius – The Undiscovered Masters, Concord Records, 25 October 2010.

A tune from the Ray Charles Vaults at the RPM International studio in Los Angeles. The basic tracks were laid down by Ray himself, sometime in the '70s or  '80s.
You can almost touch how little energy he put into his voice.  I don't think this recording was ever meant to come out in any form.

A Lover’s Blues (aka Lover's Blues) (By Margie Hendrix, Backed By The Vocals, Ray Charles On Piano)

Single3 (B): Tangerine TRC 940, April 1964, b/w Let No One Hold You.
Compilation album: The Raelettes, Hits And Rarities, Titanic Records TR-CD 4422, 1993.

Written and produced by Ray Charles (also on piano). The Vocals: Lamonte McLemore, Marilyn McCoo, Harry Elston, and Floyd Butler. David Fathead Newman on tenor sax.

Two years later The Raelettes - with Merry Clayton singing lead - released their version of the song on Tangerine TRC 976.

A Pair Of Threes (With The Ray Charles Orchestra)

Album: Jazz Number II, Tangerine 1512, January 1973.

Recorded at RPM International, in December 1971. Arranged by Alf Clausen.

Ray Charles - piano; Frank Szabo (lead), Tomas Cortez, Jack Walrath, Marcus Belgrave - trumpets; Mayo Tiana (lead), Jules Rowell, Glenn Childress, Dana Hughes (bass) - trombones; J. Lloyd Miller (alto, lead), James Clay (alto), David Newman (tenor), Don ??? or Andy Ennis (tenor), Leroy Cooper (baritone) - saxophones; Charles (Bags) Costello - organ, piano; Ralph Byrd - guitar;  Edgar Willis - electric bass; Ernie Elly - drums.

'75 LC Japan - Released

A Peace That We Never Before Could Enjoy

Album: Love And Peace, Crossover/Atlantic 19199, September 1978.
Single (B): Crossover/Atlantic 3473, March 1978, b/w Game Number Nine.

Written by Mable John and (her son) Joel Webster. Recorded at RPM International in Los Angeles.

(Track #7):

A Perfect Love

Album: Through The Eyes Of Love, ABC/Tangerine 765, August 1972.

Recorded at RPM International in Los Angeles. With strings and singers. The musicians remained uncredited.

Arranged by Sid Feller.

A Poor Man's Song

Album: Brother Ray Is At It Again, Crossover/Atlantic SH 8546, March 1980.

Recorded at RPM International in Los Angeles. Arranged by Mike Post.

A Sentimental Blues

Swing Records 179-A.
Single (A): Swing [Time] Records 179, 1949, b/w You'll Never Miss the Water (Until the Well Runs Dry).
Compilation album: The Way I Feel, Proper, 22 Oct 2007.

Recorded in Los Angeles in 1949.

Maxim Trio: Ray Charles - voc, p; Gosady McKee and Mitchell 'Tiny' Webb - g; Ralph Hamilton - b.

A Song For You

Album: My World, Warner Bros 26735 (CD), WE 833 (vinyl), March 1993.
Single (A): Warner Bros. 18611, March 1993, b/w I Can't Get Enough.

Recorded at Rat Cherokee, House of Soul, Capitol, Summa, Studio Ultimo, Clinton Recording Studio B, and Peter Rafelson Studio. Arranged by Jeremy Lubbock. For the names of the session musicians, follow the link to the album description, above.

Music clip:

Many of the filmed renditions are on YouTube, but the performance from 2003, with Leon Russell (who wrote the song) and Willie Nelson, beats them all:

'93 TV Willie - Released
'93 TV Arsenio
'93 TV Griffin
'96 LC Atlantic City
94 LC ValleyForge
94 LC Moscow
'95 TV Parade
'95 LC Greenville
'95 LC Deauville
'95 LC Tramps - 4x
'95 LC Marciac
'96 LC Warsaw
'96 LC London
'96 LC Maribor
'96 LC Lugano
'97 LC WolfTrap
'97 LC Saratoga
'97 LC Northsea
'97 LC Montreux - Released
'98 TV Quincy
'98 TV Polar
'98 LC Charlotte NM
'99 LC Tulsa NM
'99 LC NewOrleans NM
'99 LC Glasgow
'99 LC Rheingau
'99 LC Miami - Released
'99 LC Marciac
'99 LC Milan
00 LC Moscow
00 LC Warsaw
00 LC Basel
00 LC Paris - Released
01 LC Waterloo
01 DM Newport
02 LC Pasadena
02 LC NewJersey
03 LC Melbourne
03 TV Willie
03 LC Whitehouse
03 LC Achievement

A Stranger In Town

Album: Ingredients In A Recipe For Soul, ABC/Paramount 465, August 1963.

Recorded on 10 and 13 July 1963 in New York.

Oliver Beener, Wallace Davenport, Phil Guilbeau, John Hunt, Roy Burrows, Floyd Jones, Curtis Miller - trumpets; Henderson Chambers, James Lee Harbert, Keg Johnson, Julian Priester, Fred Morden - trombones; Hank Crawford, Bill Pearson, Harold Minerve, Dan Turner - alto saxophones; James Clay, David Fathead Newman - tenor saxophones; Leroy Cooper - baritone saxophone; Al Hendrickson, Sonny Forriest - guitar; Joe Comfort, Edgar Willis - bass; Irving Cottler, Wilbert Hogan, Bob Thompson - drums; uncredited strings; The Jack Halloran Singers - backing vocals.

Arranged by Sid Feller.

The album was "mixed twice", Steve Hoffman revealed. "The 'official' mix is actually a pointless remix done at Bell Sound about a month after the album was recorded. That is what was used for the [DCC] silver version. The DCC gold version used the original Capitol, NY mixes. Much better sound, dynamics and overall bitchin-ness." Elsewhere, Hoffman remarked: "In this case, both the United original stereo mixes and the Capitol stereo original mixes existed in the 1980's and for the DCC versions I got to pick which versions I wanted to use on the various albums I did. The original mixes were later ash-canned by Ray, sad to say so I think the DCC Gold CD is the only place to hear the actual Capitol and United mixes. The 'album master', far inferior (IMO) has been used for everything since. It sounds like someone threw a distorted blanket over everything. Bummer. Why Bell Sound thought that was a good sound, dunno but I believe they were acting under orders from ABC-Paramount to make stuff sound less aggressive and more tame and that's why Bell did what they did."

A Tear Fell

Single (B): ABC 10571*, June 1964, b/w No One To Cry To.
Album: Sweet And Sour Tears, ABC/Paramount 480, August 1964.

Recorded at the Bell Sound Studios in New York, around May 8, 1964.
With The Ray Charles Orchestra and The Gene Lowell Singers.

Arranged by Sid Feller.

Within Ray Charles' oeuvre, the differences between a studio recording and a live rendition probably have never been this big: the concert version with Billy Preston and The Raelettes is superior in all respects.

* I've been informed about another single with this track (ABC 10557), with My Baby Don't Dig Me, at the A-side (but that may have been a local - French - release).

Pleyel Room, Paris, 1968 (with Billy Preston):

'68 LC Paris

A Woman Is A Sometime Thing

Album: Porgy & Bess, RCA 1831, November 1976.

Recorded between 20 and 23 April 1976 at the RCA Recording Studio in Hollywood.

For the session personnel, click on the album's link, above.

(Track #3):

Abraham, Martin And John

Album: A Message From The People, ABC/Tangerine 755, April 1972.

Recorded at RPM International in Los Angeles in 1972.

The musicians remained uncredited (but Carol Kaye was on bass; follow the link to the album to see a list of other identified session musicians).

'84 TV King

After Loving You (The Raelettes, Ft. Susaye Greene, Ray Charles On Keyboards)

Album3: (Ray Charles Presents The) Raeletts, Yesterday... Today... Tomorrow, Tangerine 1515, 1972.

The Raelettes (probable line-up): Vernita Moss, Susaye Green, Mable John, Dorothy Berry and Estella Yarbrough.

Recorded at RPM International in Los Angeles, with uncredited members of the Ray Charles Orchestra (and maybe some session musicians).

After Loving You by The Raelettes on Grooveshark

After My Laughter Came Tears

Album: Sweet And Sour Tears, ABC/Paramount 480, August 1964.

Recorded at the Bell Sound Studios in New York, around May 8, 1964.

With rhythm section, strings and the Gene Lowell Singers. Arranged by Sid Feller.

Audio sample here.

Agent Double-O-Soul (By Billy Preston, Ray Charles On Piano)

On August 4, 1968 Ed Sullivan offered Charles a 15-minute slot, the second he ever gave (after the one for The Beatles). Ray appeared with his whole entourage - Raelettes, Orchestra and Preston. Billy (Ray on piano) performed his incredible Agent Double-O-Soul* act.

Preston performed the song numerous times during his tours with the Ray Charles band.

* I'm following the orthography of Edwin Starr's original single release. 

Ed Sullivan Show, 1968:

Ain't But The One (With Aretha Franklin)

Album3 (VHS): Duke Ellington - We Love You Madly, VRV 1124, S.l.s.a. (France).
Album3: Rare & Unreleased Recordings From The Golden Reign Of The Queen Of SoulAtlantic/Rhino B00122MKI0, 16 October 2007.

The churchy duet from the We Love You Madly tribute to Duke Ellington (1973) was also released on Aretha's Unreleased Recordings album, in an edited, remastered version.

The album version is 6:01, where the video version - including Ray's rather extensive spoken intro - is only 4:46. During the first minutes the album producers also added Hammond organ and keyboard sounds (and I think some percussion) to the track, numbing Ray's original piano playing to almost unhearable levels for the main part of the tune.
The result, however, is pleasing; the only odd thing is that the album producers didn't make explicit that they a) went back to the original, longer, taping, and b) didn't specify what they changed and added.

The details listed by Michel Ruppli's Atlantic Discography (sub Master #26222) are: "vo RC, AF, JC" (i.e. that Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, and James Cleveland's gospel singers took care of the vocals).
David Ritz' liner notes to the album explain nothing, and erroneously state that Aretha played piano and Ray played electric piano, quite different from what can be seen in the video. The other musicians credited by Ritz are Dave Grusin (keyboards), Kenny Burrell (guitar), Chuck Rainey (bass) and Paul Humphrey (drums). They no doubt contributed to the original show, but I very much doubt if Gruisin played keyboards in the original, videotaped version of Ain't But The One.*

I suspect that in an interview (cf. 12) Jerry Wexler, who (executive) produced the album, may have been about to tell something about 'post producing' this particular track when the interviewer diverted him into replicating a well known, similar, anecdote about the 1971 release of Aretha & Ray's famous duet on Spirit In The Dark. My conjecture, therefore, is that it was Wexler who may be 'blamed' for also 'improving' this release of Ain't But The One.

From Unreleased Recordings:

Ain't Misbehavin'

Album: The Genius After Hours, Atlantic 1369, June 1961 (1956, 1957).

Recorded on 20 November 1956 in New York with Joe Bridgewater, John Hunt - tp; David Newman - as, ts; Emmett Dennis - bs; William Peebles - ds; Roosevelt Sheffield - b.

68 TV Bishop - With George Burns (skit)

Ain't That Fine

Swing Time 216-A.
From Billboard, June 3, 1950.
Single (A): Swing Time 216, 1950, b/w Don't Put All Your Dreams In One Basket.
Compilation album: The Way I Feel, Proper, 22 Oct 2007.

Recorded in Los Angeles, 1949.
The Maxim Trio: Ray Charles - voc, p; Gosady McKee, Mitchell 'Tiny' Webb - g; Ralph Hamilton - b.

Ain't That Love

Single (B): Atlantic 1124, January 1957, b/w I Want To Know.
Compilation album: Ray Charles,  Atlantic 8006, June 1957.

Recorded on November 27, 1956 in New York with Joe Bridgewater, John Hunt - tp; David Newman - as, ts; Emmett Dennis - bs; William Peebles - ds; Roosevelt Sheffield - b.

Jerry Wexler played the tambourine.

'88 LC Ballet - 2x
'89 LC Ballet

Ain’t That Love (By Lula Reed, Ray Charles On Piano)

Single (B): Tangerine TRC 932, 1963, b/w Trouble In Mind.
Album3: Lula Reed, The Soulful Side Of Lula Reed, Titanic Records CD-6501, 2011.

In 1962 Ray Charles produced several singles with Lula Reed (born Lula Marietta McClelland, 1921 - 2008), and played keyboards on 4 tracks. This is one of these.

Lula Reed (vocals); Marcus Belgrave, Wallace Davenport (trumpet); Henderson Chambers (trombone); Donald Wilkerson (tenor saxophone); Leroy Cooper (baritone saxophone); Ray Charles (piano); Sonny Forriest (guitar); Edgar Willis (bass); Wilbert Hogan (drums). Arranged by Gerald Wilson. Recorded in Los Angeles, August 15, 1962. Produced by Ray Charles.

The records came at the end of Reed's secular recording career, that started in 1951.

Ain't Your Memory Got No Pride At All

Album: Wish You Were Here Tonight, Columbia 38293, March 1983.

Recorded between 1981 and 1983 with uncredited session musicians in Nashville, and finished at RPM International in Los Angeles.

Alabamy Bound

Album: Album: Genius Hits the Road, ABC/Paramount 335, July 1960.

Recorded at the Capitol Studios in New York on 29 March 1960.

John Hunt, Marcus Belgrave, Martin Banks - trumpet; David Newman - tenor saxophone, Hank Crawford - alto saxophone, Leroy Cooper - baritone saxophone; Milt Turner - drums; Edgar Willis - bass.

The liner notes stated that the song was arranged by Ralph Burns. In reality, the tune was probably charted by Al Cohn.

(First track):

From 1961 to 1963 the tune was longlisted in concert souvenir programs as one of the tunes that potentially could be at played every gig. Unfortunately, no live recordings from this period have surfaced.

Alexander's Ragtime Band

Album: The Genius Of Ray Charles, Atlantic 1312, October 1959.

Recorded in New York on 23 June 1959 with Clark Terry, Ernie Royal, Joe Newman, Snookie Young, Marcus Belgrave, John Hunt - trumpets; Melba Liston, Quentin Jackson, Thomas Mitchell, Al Gray - trombones; Frank Wess - flute, alto and tenor sax; Marshall Royal - alto sax; Paul Gonsalves; Zoot Sims, Billy Mitchell, David Fathead Newman - tenor saxophones; Jose Mangual - bongo drums. Arranged by Ralph Burns. Trumpet solo by Marcus Belgrave.

Palais des Sports, Paris, 1961 (track # 6):

'61 LC Paris - 3x - Released
'62 LC Berlin - Released
'62 LC Paris - Released
'66 TV Palace
'73 LC Paris
'75 LC Madrid
'84 LC Ithaca
'88 LC Masson
'91 LC Montreux
'97 LC WolfTrap

All I Ever Need Is You

Album: Volcanic Action Of My Soul, ABC/Tangerine 726, April 1971.

Recorded at RPM International in Los Angeles.

The musicians remained uncredited. Glen Campbell on mandolin, Jerry Reed on guitar.
Ray may have played that alto solo (as he always did during live performances of the song).

The demo that Ray used to brief Sid Feller on the chart still exists.

A Man And His Soul, 1983 (with Glen Campbell):

Royal Festival Hall, London, 1986:

McCallum Theatre, Palm Desert, 1991:

Lighthouse For The Blind, Miami, 1999:

Capital 4th, Washington, 2000:

'83 TV Man
'86 LC London
'87 LC Bourges
'88 TV Téléthon
'88 LC Leeuwin
'90 LC Armenonville
'91 LC McCallum - Released
'92 LC Japan
'96 LC Atlantic City
'96 LC Warsaw
'98 LC Charlotte NM
'99 LC Tulsa NM
'99 LC Miami - Released
'99 LC Milan
00 TV Washington
'00 LC Warsaw
00 LC Moscow
01 LC Waterloo
02 LC Wyndham

All I Need (With The Raelettes)

Album (2-CD): Ray Charles In Concert [in Warsaw], S.l., 2006.

Who knows more about the origin of this song (who wrote it/who first performed it)?

Jazz à Juan/Antibes, 1987 (ft. Elaine Woodard):

'82 LC Beacon
'84 LC Warsaw - Released
'87 LC Antibes
'88 LC Oklahoma
'89 LC Osaka
'95 LC Greenville

19 November 2014

All I Need Is His Love (The Raelettes, Ray Charles On Piano)

Single (A): Tangerine 984, 1968, b/w I'm Gettin' 'Long All Right.
Album3: The Raelettes, Souled Out, Tangerine 1511, 1971.

Ray Charles on piano. The Raelettes (probable line-up): Merry Clayton (lead), Clydie King (contralto), Gwen Berry (alto) and Alex Brown (tenor). Recorded at RPM International, Los Angeles, with uncredited musicians (all or most from the Ray Charles orchestra).

All I Want For Christmas

Album: The Spirit Of Christmas, Columbia 39415, January 1986.

Recorded at RPM International in Los Angeles, with members of the Ray Charles Orchestra, The Raelettes  and session musicians in the fall of 1984 (maybe into early 1985).

With Mark Curry, Jim Seeley, Robbie Kwock, Jeff Kaye, Johnny Coles - trumpets; Mayo Tiana, John Boice, Dan Weinstein, Dana Hughes - trombones; Clifford Solomon, Brian Mitchell, Rudy Johnson, Ricky Woodard, Louis Van Taylor - saxophones; James Polk - piano, keyboards; Roger Hines - bass; Jeff Pevar, Kevin Turner, Calvin Keys - guitars; Rick Kirkland, James Gadson - drums.

Arranged by Ray Charles and James Polk.

All I Want To Do (Virtually With Angie Stone)

Album: Genius And Friends, Rhino/WEA, 20 September 2005.

Ray Charles laid down most of the songs at his own studio, RPM International in Los Angeles, in 1997 and 1998. Post mortem, this duet was dubbed in by Angie Stone.

For more production details, follow the album link, above.

All Night Long

Album: Country And Western Meets Rhythm And Blues (aka Together Again), ABC/Paramount 520, August 1965.

Recorded at the United Studios in Hollywood in February 1965.

With a rhythm section (including Rene Hall on guitar, and Earl Palmer on drums), strings and The Jack Halloran Singers. Arranged by Sid Feller.

Angels Keep Watching Over Me (aka All Night, All Day) (With Choir)

Ettal 1976: Album (VHS, France): Ray Charles Live, Cinéthèque VCV 402, S.a.
Gospel 2002: Ray Charles Celebrates A Gospel Christmas, VHS: Urban Works, 7 October 2003; DVD: Urban Works, 23 November 2004; Audio CD: EMI Records, 27 November 2006.

Brother Ray's first documented performance of this gospel song was at Sam Cooke's funeral service, on December 18th, 1964. From Ebony:
"At the Mount Sinaï Baptist Church in Los Angeles, a crowd of 5,000 persons, some of whom arrived five hours before the scheduled last rites, overran facilities designed to accommodate 1,500. In an emotion packed atmosphere, super charged by the singing of Lou Rawls, Bobby Blue Bland and Arthur Lee Simpkins, women fainted, tears fan down men's cheeks and onlookers shouted. Gospel singer Bessy Griffin, who was to appear on the funeral program, became so grief stricken she had to be carried off. Ray Charles stepped in from the audience to sing and play Angels Keep Watching Over Me."
In this documentary Billy Preston remembered the impact of Ray's rendition (the soundscore has mixed in the version from A Gospel Christmas, in 2002):
   [see this page]

Monastery of Ettal, 1976 (with Sarah Jordan Powell):

'82 TV Gospel:

A Man And His Soul, 1983 (with The Andrae Crouch Singers):
Watch here.

Gospel Christmas, 2002 (with the Voices of Jubilation):

'76 LC Ettal - Released
'82 TV Gospel - Released
'83 TV Man
02 LC Gospel - Released

All She Wants To Do Is Love Me

Album: Strong Love Affair, Qwest Records  9362-46107-2, January 1996.

Recorded in Paris (instruments) and at RPM International in Los Angeles (voice). Produced by Jean-Pierre Grosz. For the personnel, follow the album link, above.

All To Myself (aka All To Myself Alone)

Re-issue, Swing Time 249A+.

Ad from Billboard,
June 16, 1951.
Single (B): Swing Time 249, 1951, b/w I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now.
Compilation album: The Way I Feel, Proper, 22 Oct 2007.

Recorded in  Los Angeles, November 24, 1950.

Ray Charles Trio: Ray Charles - voc, p (= "88"),  cel; Oscar Moore - g; Johnny Miller - b.

Almost Like Being In Love

Album: Ray Charles à L'Olympia, (DVD): Music Video Distributors, 2006 (2000); (Audio CD): XIII Bis Records, 11 January 2005, 640543 2.

Another Nat Cole song.

Ray Charles, keyboards, vocal; Brad Rabuchin, guitar; Tom Fowler, acoustic double bass; Peter Turre, drums.

Olympia, Paris, 2000 (starts at 50.54):

00 LC Moscow
00 LC Basel
'00 LC Warsaw
00 LC Paris - Released
01 LC Waterloo
02 LC Pasadena

Alone In This City

Down Beat 211-A.
Single (A): Down Beat 211. B/w Can Anyone Ask For More.
Compilation album: The Way I Feel, Proper, 22 Oct 2007.

Recorded in Seattle, in February 1949.

Maxin Trio: Ray Charles - voc, p; Gosady McKee - g; Milton S. Garred - b.

Alone Together (With Betty Carter)

Album: Ray Charles And Betty Carter, ABC/Paramount 385, July 1961.

Recorded at United Studios, Hollywood on June 13 or 14, 1961.

Ray Charles - piano, voc; Betty Carter - voc;Edgar Willis - bass, with strings and The Jack Halloran Singers. Marty Paich - arranger; conductor.

Along Came Betty (The Ray Charles Orchestra)

Album: Ray Charles Orchestra - Zurich 1961. TCB (Swiss Radio Days Jazz Series #41), [2016].

Written by Benny Golson. Arranged by Quincy Jones.
Solo: Marcus Belgrave on trumpet.

Personnel during the October 1961 Europe tour: Marcus Belgrave, Wallace Davenport, Phil Guilbeau, John Hunt - trumpets; Henderson Chambers, Leon Comegys, James Lee Harbert, Keg Johnson - trombones; Hank Crawford (band leader), Rudy Powell - alto saxophones; David Newman - tenor saxophone, flute; Don Wilkerson - tenor saxophone; Leroy Cooper - baritone saxophone; Bruno Carr - drums; Sonny Forriest - guitar; Edgar Willis - bass.

Benny Golson's great story on the genesis of the tune:

'61 LC Zurich
'61 LC Paris - 3x

Always A Friend


In episode 16 of season 3 of the sitcom Who's The Boss, titled Hit the Road, Chad (first aired on Tuesday February 3, 1987), "Samantha's boyfriend Chad writes a song just for her. [T]he tune is heard by legend Ray Charles whom Angela coerces into recording it for her ad agency." The song was "written exclusively for this episode by Dennis Scott".

Am I Blue (1, 2)

Am I Blue (1)
Album: The Genius Of Ray Charles, Atlantic 1312, October 1959.
Single (A): May 1961, Atlantic 2106 b/w It Should Have Been Me.

Recorded on May 6, 1959 in New York with Bob Brookmeyer - tb; Ted Sommer - d; Allen Hanlon - g; Wendell Marshall - b; unidentified woodwinds, strings and singers. Ralph Burns - arranger, director.

Genius album:

Am I Blue (2)
Album: A Portrait Of Ray, ABC/Tangerine 625, March 1968.

For this album Ray recorded a new interpretation of the song - in itself a unique fact; it's the only song he studio-recorded for both Atlantic and Tangerine. This is also the arrangement that Ray from then on would perform live - many times in incredibly bluesy voice/trumpet dialogues with Johnny Coles.

Recorded at RPM International in Los Angeles in February 1968. With studio musicians (possibly including Carol Kaye on bass), woodwinds and a string section (all uncredited).

Portrait album (Track #3):

Japan 1975 - with Johnny Coles:

'69 LC Paris
'70 LC Prato
'70 TV Tom
'72 TV Cavett - 2x - With Dick Cavett
'75 LC Japan - Released
'76 LC Antibes
'76 LC Stuttgart
'78 LC Boston
'81 DM 20
'90 RS Piano - Just the basic song (p, voc)

Amazing Grace (With The London Symphony Orchestra)

Album3: Music Of Hope, Tim Janis Ensemble TJE-CD-1901, 13 February 2001.

Music Of Hope was an album to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. An all-star lineup (with a.o. the New York Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra, Paul McCartney, Kurt Masur, Andre Previn, Ray Charles, and Emanuel Ax) contributed to it.

Tim Janis orchestrated the tune. Ray added his voice to the London Symphony (conducted by David Snell) at his own RPM International Studio in LA, and did the end mix.

Amen (With Sara Jordan Powell A.O.)

Album (VHS, France): Ray Charles Live, Cinéthèque VCV 402, S.a.

From the TV show Christmas In Ettal - A Black Ceremony at a Monastery in Germany, taped (most probably) in 1976, on Christmas Eve.

With Donna Lynton, Rick Abao, Joe Bourne, John Waddel, Charles Williams - vo.

Partial(starts at 4'15):

America The Beautiful

Album: A Message From The People, ABC/Tangerine 755, April 1972.
Single (B): ABC 11329, June 1972, b/w Look What They've Done To My Song, Ma.
Single (A): Crossover/Atlantic 985, February 1976 (the year of the Bicentennial): re-release with a newly taped voice track, re-using the old (ABC 11329) instruments mix.
DCC DZS45-002, CD single, 1987.
In 1987, to further promote the already rapidly increasing popularity of the CD format, DCC (Dunhill Compact Classics) began producing 3" CD singles to mimic classic 45s. One of these was Ray's America The Beautiful.
There may have been one or two video releases (possibly in 1991 and 2002), but I haven't been able yet to verify this.
In 2005 the posthumous album Genius And Friends also contained an ugly duet with Alicia Keys.

And then, of course, there's Little Ray (2002), 18 inches tall, using 4 AA batteries (included), and playing What'd I Say and America The Beautiful.

However, when Ray decided to record the tune, he removed some verses, and emphasized those that spoke about the beauty of the country and the bravery of the soldiers. "Then I put a little country church backbeat on it and turned it my way".

The Message album was recorded at RPM International in Los Angeles in 1972. This song was arranged by Quincy Jones.

With uncredited strings, choir, organ and woodwinds. Don Peake remembers playing his 1931 Gibson L5 acoustic, but Carol Kaye*, who played bass, doesn't recall ever playing together with Peake; for a listing of the other identified session musicians follow the link to the album.
In one of the versions that he performed at the Dick Cavett Show (i.c. the second clip from that program, below), he calls out for "John" to be ready - i.e. probably John Henderson, who played in the Orchestra at that time.

On the first single release it was just a B-side, but from the 1980s onwards America The Beautiful became one Ray's signature songs. And in the wake of 9/11 it even seemed to become an alternative national anthem.

Read this excellent article.

* Carol Kaye said: “There’s certain dates you play and you know they're important. With America The Beautiful, it was iconic. First of all, there’s the song itself. But the marriage of the song with the singer is what counts, and Ray Charles singing America The Beautiful, well, you can’t improve on that.
When we cut this, I kept thinking of Ray’s own struggles with the country. He'd been through so much, from being a blind black kid and all that that entails, to playing the clubs in the South and being booed and having to stay in black-only hotels, to fighting for integration and human rights…I felt like we were telling his own story, not just that of the country.
As a bass player, I knew I had to keep it simple. This wasn’t a song where I was supposed to call attention to the part or move the music. It was all about Ray. All I had to do was find the right spaces and let him shine. There were a couple of fills I did. I think of them as background singers going, 'Amen!' That’s the only embellishment you need.”

The Dick Cavett Show, 1972 (2x):

Republican Party Convention, with Ronald Reagan, 1984:

Wrestlemania, 1986:

50 Years show, 1991:

Miami Lighthouse, 1999:

World Series, 2001:

'70 TV Glen
'72 TV Frost
'72 TV Cosby
'72 TV Cavett - 2x  Released
'75 TV Midnight NM
'76 TV MusicHall NM
'76 TV Spirit
'76 TV Douglas
'77 LC Gladys - Released
'80 TV SugarRay
'81 LC Edmonton - Released
'83 TV CMA
'83 TV Man
'84 TV King
'80 TV LakePlacid
'84 DM Reagan
'85 TV Statue
'85c FI MyCountry
'85 LC NewHaven
'86 TV Wrestlemania
'86 TV Disney
'88 LC Ballet - 2x - Stream available
'89 LC Ballet - 2x
'90 TV MDA
'91 LC McCallum - Released
'91 LC 50 Years
'92 TV Mall
'93 TV Clinton
'96 LC Atlantic City
'97 LC Philly
'98 DM Stamp
'98 LC Charlotte NM
'99 LC Tulsa NM
'99 LC Miami - Released
00 TV Washington
01 TV Bowl
01 LC Waterloo
01 DM Prayer NM
01 TV Worldseries
02 TV Macy NM
02 TV Ice
02 LC Gospel - Released
03 TV Constitution