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Ray Charles & The Raelettes

lyThe group was promoted with their name spelled in different ways: The Raelettes, The Raeletts, The Raelets. Misspellings like "Raylettes" also frequently occur. On this blog, I have consistently chosen to go for the Raelettes spelling. For documented Raelettes line-ups through the years, see below and the Band Page.
In the listings below I have 'normalized' the spelling of a few titles.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s Ray put a lot of effort in establishing the girls as an individual act - in the studio, and later also as a performing act. In 1967 and 1968 the featured line-up was: Merry Clayton (lead), Clydie King (contralto), Gwen Berry (alto) and Alex Brown (tenor). After that, the most productive line up was: Mable John, Susaye Greene, Vernita Moss, and Estella Yarbrough.*

* In the summer of 1968 the line-up was Rita Graham, Beverly LeShure and Susaye Green; on 8 October 1968 Verlyn Flenaugh, Susaye Greene, Beverly Ann Lesure, Barbara Nell Terrault were on stage. Mable John joined Susaye Greene, Vernita Moss, Estella Yarbrough in March '69. In October 1971 the line-up was: Dorothy Berry, Susaye Greene, Mable John, Vernita Moss. In April 1972: Dorothy Berry, Susaye Greene, Mable John, Vernita Moss, Estella Yarbrough. I don't think any of the later line-ups were involved in recording The Raelettes as a separate act.

Singles:
Ad in Cashbox.
  • One Hurt Deserves Another (Single (A): Tangerine 972 - 1966)*
  • One Room Paradise (Single (B): Tangerine 972 - 1966)
  • Into Something Fine (Single (A): Tangerine 976 - 1967)
  • Lover's Blues (Single (B): Tangerine 976 - 1967)
  • All I Need Is His Love (Single (A): Tangerine 984 - 1968)
  • I'm Gettin' 'Long All Right (Single (B): Tangerine 984 - 1968)
  • I Want To Thank You (Single (A): Tangerine 986 - 1968)
  • It's Almost Here (Single (B): Tangerine 986 - 1968)
  • I Want To (Do Everything For You) (Single (A): Tangerine 1006 - 1970)
  • Keep It To Yourself (Single (B): Tangerine 1006 - 1970)
  • Bad Water (Single (A): Tangerine 1014 - 1970)
  • That Goes To Show You (Single (B): Tangerine 1014 - 1970)**
  • Here I Go Again (Single (A): Tangerine 1017 - 1971)
  • Leave My Man Alone (Single (B): Tangerine 1017 - 1971)
  • Come Get It, I Got It (Single (A): Tangerine 1024 - 197?)
  • Try A Little Kindness (Single (B): Tangerine 1024 - 197?)**
  • You Must Be Doing Alright (Single (A): Tangerine 1029 - 197?)
  • You Have A Way With Me (Single (B): Tangerine 1029 - 197?)
  • If You Wanna Keep Him (Single (A): Tangerine 1031 - 1973)
  • Many Rivers To Cross (Single (B): ABC 1015 - 1971-03 [flipside is Booty Butt by the Ray Charles Orchestra
*Ray Charles - organ. **Ray Charles - keyboards.

Billboard scores
  • One Hurt Deserves Another (#76 Pop; #24 R&B)) 
  • I Want To (Do Everything For You) (#96 Pop; #39 R&B) 
  • Bad Water (#58 Pop; #40 R&B) 
  • I'm Gettin' 'Long Alright (#23 R&B) 
  • I Want To Thank You (#47 R&B)
1971* - Album: Souled Out; Ike & Turner With The Raelettes 

The Raelettes also toured with the Ike & Tina Turner Revue in 1970 and 1971. Tangerine released an odd album featuring both acts, both doing their own things: Souled Out, in 1971 (TRCS-1511). Ray played keyboards on all the Raelettes' tunes.
  1. I Want To Thank You
  2. It's Almost Here
  3. All I Need Is Love
  4. I'm Gettin 'Long Allright
  5. One Room Paradise
  6. Into Something Fine
  7. A Lover's Blues
  8. One Hurt Deserves Another 
Ike & Tina contributed Anything You Wasn’t Born With, I’m Hooked. Beauty Is Just Skin Deep and Dust My Broom.

1972 - Album: (Ray Charles Presents The) Raelett[e]s, Yesterday... Today... Tomorrow

The individual Raelettes recording this album ( Tangerine TRCS 1515, 1972) weren't even named in the liner notes (which do claim that "The name of the Raeletts is an exclusive property of Ray Charles Enterprises, Inc."), but I'm quite sure that it's the quintet consisting of Vernita Moss, Susaye Green, Mable John, Dorothy Berry and Estella Yarbrough.
The songs were arranged by Ray Charles, Ray Jackson, Roger Neumann and Sid Feller. The engineering was done by Ray and David Braithwaite.
Ray Charles is present on every track, on keyboards, and sometimes singing or humming.
In an interview from July 2004 Mable John remembered: "At the end of 1970, we went to Mexico City and we were booked by ourselves. It was supposed to be for two weeks but they kept us for eleven. We packed the room every night and Ray flew down to see us. He caught our show, he wanted to see how we were doing. The following year, he booked us in Japan during our off season and he had every girl in the group learn at least two songs they could lead. When we came back, he said, 'I want to do an album on you', and that's when we did the one Raelet[te]s' album, Yesterday, Today and Forever [sic!]. We all sang and Ray always pushed everyone on. If you hit a wrong note, he would play it on stage so you got it right. I loved talking back to him on stage on songs because that helped make the show spicy. And Ray was great with me: he never contradicted anything I said to the group and his attitude was, 'I gave you the position of leader, I won’t go behind you' and he lived by that standard, even after I left the group..."
  1. You Must Be Doing Alright**
  2. Bad Water*
  3. Come Get It I Got It*
  4. You Have A Way With Me*
  5. Love Train
  6. I Want To (Do Everything For You)*
  7. Leave My Man Alone*
  8. After Loving You (ft. Susaye Greene)
  9. Keep It To Yourself*
  10. Backside sleeve
    of Leave My Man Alone.
  11. Here I Go Again*
* Keyboards - Ray Charles. **Lead singer Mable John, Ray sings a brief solo.

1993 - Compilation album: The Raelettes; Hits And Rarities
This compilation missed the songs I Want To Thank You and It’s Almost Here. They added a few tracks that were indepedently recorded by Margie Hendricks. Compilation: Titanic Records TR-CD 4422, 1993.
  1. You Must Be Doing Alright
  2. Bad Water
  3. Come Get It I Got It
  4. You Have a Way With Me
  5. Love Train
  6. I Want To (Do Everything For You)
  7. Leave My Man Alone
  8. After Loving You
  9. Keep It To Yourself
  10. Here I Go Again
  11. That Goes To Show You (ft. Susaye Greene)
  12. Let No One Hold You**
  13. A Lover's Blues**
  14. I'm Gettin' 'Long Alright
  15. All I Need Is Love
  16. One Hurt Deserves Another
  17. One Room Paradise
  18. Into Something Fine
  19. It's Alright A Lover's Blues****
  20. Try a Little Kindness
  21. Many Rivers To Cross
  22. If You Wanna Keep Him (ft. Vernita Moss)
  23. I Found My Love***
  24. Now the Hurt's On You***
  25. My Baby*
  26. Restless***
*Ray Charles sings; cf. this. **From Margie Hendricks' Tangerine singles. ***From Margie Hendricks' Mercury singles (TRC 940). ****Mis-titled on the album.

Soundclips:
One Hurt Deserves Another:

One Room Paradise:

All I Need Is His Love:

I'm Gettin' 'Long All Right:

It's Almost Here:

I Want To (Do Everything For You) (ft. Mable John):

Keep It To Yourself (ft. Mable John):

Bad Water:

Here I Go Again (ft. Estelle Yarbrough):

Let No One Hold You (Margie Hendricks with The Vocals):

Leave My Man Alone (Vernita Moss):

That Goes To Show You (ft. Susaye Greene):

Come Get It, I Got it (ft. Mable John):

You Must Be Doing Alright (ft. Mable John):

You Have A Way With Me (ft. Susaye Greene):

It's Almost Here:

A Lover's Blues (Margie Hendricks with The Vocals):

Love Train:

After Loving You:

I Want To (Do Everything For You):

Keep It To Yourself:

Try A Little Kindness (ft. Vernita Moss):

Many Rivers To Cross:

The Raelettes, A Lover's Blues:


Songs performed live

The following Raelette solo songs were on the repertoire of the Ray Charles Group. Titles marked with an asterisk (*) were taped more than once. Between brackets I have indicated which songs were attributed to individual singers (one per performance, of course). I have prioritized links to articles about shows where live versions of these songs were first taped.


This list is a first draft, and is not exhaustive:

Line-ups (recap, earliest documented dates only)
  • 30 November 1955 as The Cookies: Margie Hendricks, Dorothy Jones, Darlene McCrea.
  • 27 November 1956: Mary Ann Fisher (ft), Margie Hendricks, Dorothy Jones, Darlene McCrea.
  • February 1958: Cookies renamed into Raelettes.
  • 5 July 1958: Mary Ann Fisher (ft), Margie Hendricks, Pat Lyles, Gwen Berry,
  • Early 1959: Margie Hendricks, Pat Lyles, Gwen Berry, Darlene McCrea.
  • 29 May 1959: Margie Hendricks, Pat Lyles, Darlene McCrea.
  • Around October 1959: Margie temporarily replaced by Mae Mosely-Lyles.
  • Not later than November 1959: Margie Hendricks, Mae Mosely-Saunders, Gwen Berry, Bettye Smith.
  • 17 July 1961: Gwen Berry, Margie Hendricks, Pat Lyles, Darlene McCrea.
  • 21 September 1963: Gwen Berry, Margie Hendricks, Darlene McCrea, Patricia Richards.
  • Late June, early July 1964: Pat Lyles, Margie Hendricks, Gwen Berry, Darlene McCrea.
  • 20 September 1964: Gwen Berry, Helen Bryant, Lillie Fort, Bobbie Pierce.
  • 29 November 1964: Lillie Fort, Gwen Berry, Fritz Basket, Marilyn McCoo.
  • 15 October 1966: Gwen Berry, Merry Clayton, Clydie King, Alex Brown.
  • Summer 1968: Rita Graham, Beverly LeShure and Susaye Green.
  • 8 October 1968: Verlyn Flenaugh, Susaye Greene, Beverly Ann Lesure, Barbara Nell Terrault.
  • October 1969: Mable John (joined in March '69), Susaye Greene, Vernita Moss, Estella Yarbrough.
  • October 1971: Dorothy Berry, Susaye Greene, Mable John, Vernita Moss.
  • April 1972: Dorothy Berry, Susaye Greene, Mable John, Vernita Moss, Estella Yarbrough.
  • 8 September 1973: Denise Jackson, Mable John, Vernita Moss, Madelyn Quebec.
  • 9 October 1973: Dorothy Berry, Denise Jackson, Mable John, Vernita Moss, Madelyn Quebec.
  • 10 May 1975: Dorothy Berry, Bernice Hullaby, Madelyn Quebec, Linda Sims, Estella Yarbrough.
  • 13 May 1975: Linda Sims, Dorothy Berry, Bernice Hullaby, Estella Yarbrough.
  • November 1975: Susaye Greene, Mable John, Vernita Moss, Estella Yarbrough.
  • 12 November 1977: Trudy Cohran, Dorothy Berry, Deborah Gleese, Linda Sims, Estella Yarbrough.
  • 16 July 1978: Chrylynn Cobb, Trudy Cohran, Dorothy Berry, Linda Sims, Estella Yarbrough.
  • 22 July 1979: Trudy Cohran, Pat Peterson, Madelyn Quebec, Estella Yarbrough.
  • 23 October 1979: Madelyn Quebec, Estella Yarbrough, Trudy Cohran, Pat Peterson, Avis Harrell.
  • 17 December 1982: Trudy Cohran, Elaine Woodard, Estella Yarbrough, Janice Mitchell, Ann Johnson.
  • 1 July 1986: Sharon Creighton, Estella Yarbrough, Gladys [Unknown], Elaine Woodard, Angie Workman.
  • 19 July 1987: Trudy Cohran, Sharon Creighton, Elaine Woodard, Angie Workman, Estella Yarbrough.
  • Fall 1989: Anita Brooks, Estella Yarbrough, Trudy Cohran, Kathryn Collier, Angie Workman.
  • 19 July 1990: Trudy Cohran, Kay Nickerson, Lalomie Washburn, Angie Workman, Estella Yarbrough.
  • Fall 1990: Kay Nickerson, Trudy Cohran, Angela Workman, Estella Yarbough.
  • December 1990: Angie Workman, Valerie Washington, Estella Yarbrough, Kay Nickerson, Trudy Cohran.
  • Summer 1991: Wendy Smith, Estella Yarbrough, Paula Moye, Trudy Cohran.
  • 28 November 1991: Paula Moye, Estella Yarbrough, Trudy Cohran, Wendy Smith, Angie Workman.
  • 1 July 1992: Trudy Cohran, Pamela Diggs, Paula Moye, Angie Workman, Estella Yarbrough.
  • 19 November 1993: Angie Workman, Trudy Cohran, Michelle King, Elaine Woodard, Estella Yarbrough.
  • 22 June 1996: Estella Yarbrough, Karen Evans, Kathy Mackey, Elaine Woodard, Tonette McKinney.
  • 11 July 1997: Estella Yarbrough, Katrina Harper-Cooke, Kathy Mackey, Karen Evans, Tonette McKinney.
  • 10 January 2000: Estella Yarbrough, Tangy Biggers, Tonette McKinney, Karen Evans.
  • 22 June 2002: Katrina Harper, Estella Yarbrough, Renée Collins Georges, Karen Evans and Tonette McKinney.
  • November 2002: Brianna Tucker, Estella Yarbrough, Renee Collins Georges, Karen Evans and Tonette McKinney.
  • 20 July 2003: Estella Yarbrough, Renee Collins Georges, Katrina Harper, Karen Evans, Tonette McKinney.

Timeline
1954


Circa 1954: Jesse Stone and The Cookies at Atlantic Records.

1955


 Documented line-up 30 November 1955 as The Cookies:
Margie Hendricks, Dorothy Jones, Darlene McCrea.


1956

The Cookies, recording one of their own records, c. 1956.
From Billboard, Feb. 11, 1956.
Documented line-up 16 May 1956:
Margie Hendricks, Dorothy Jones, Darlene McCrea.

Documented line-up 27 November 1956:
Mary Ann Fisher (ft), Margie Hendricks, Dorothy Jones, Darlene McCrea.


1957

Ray Charles touring with The Cookies and Gene Allison.


 Publicity photo of Mary Ann Fisher, issued by Shaw Artists (probably from 1957).
The Cookies after Margie Hendricks left. From left to right: Beulah Robertson, Ethel Darlene McCrea, Dorothy Jones, c.  1957.

1958

In February 1958 Ray Charles makes it official - taking The Cookies on the road with his touring show and renaming them The Raelet[te]s. Margie Hendricks and Pat Lyles go with Charles full time. Margie Hendricks explained the name change in an October 1961 interview (Jazz Hot, No 17, Nov. 1961): "Since we became an integrated part of Ray Charles' orchestra, it would have been perfectly stupid to continue using the 'Cookies' name. On a nice morning Ray tackled the problem, and came to the conclusion that only two names were possible: the 'Silver Bells' or the 'Raelet[te]s'. I immediately rejected the 'Silver Bells' - that name appeared ridiculous to me. And that's how we called ourselves the
Raelet[te]s. We've never been [called] the 'Raylettes': that name would be an error. In American [English] Ray is [a name] for men, and Rae is for the ladies."
(The girls who continued as The Cookies were Ethel (Darlene) McCrea, Dorothy Jones, and Dorothy Ross).


Ad for 9 - 1 dance gig by Ray Charles Band at April Showers Ball, Southside Armory, Indianapolis (April 29, 1958);  first known ad announcing The Cookies (who had joined the touring group on January 10th). Their stage name "The Raelets" was already used in July 1958 (at Newport), but in promtion materials their old name was used until the spring of 1959. 
Photo by Lee Friedlander, dated in 1956, but probably (watch the microphone!) taken - while Margie Hendricks took a solo elsewhere on stage - at this Newport concert: Pat Lyles, Mary Ann Fisher, Gwen Berry.
Documented line-up 5 July 1958:
Mary Ann Fisher (ft), Margie Hendricks, Pat Lyles, Gwen Berry.
The critic of the Newport Daily News, in a review of the Ray Charles Sextet's concert at the Jazz Fest, was [one of?] the first to mention "The Raylettes" [sic!] as Ray's backing group. The fourth girl was Mary-Ann Fisher.

Clipped from Los Angeles Sentinel, Aug. 7: review of Raelttes at Cavalcade of Jazz in LA on August 3.

1959

The Raelettes, prob. early 1959. From left to right: Margie Hendricks, Pat Lyles, Gwen Berry, Darlene McCrea. Photo by James J. Kriegsmann (Collection Joël Dufour).
The Raelettes, from the same shoot. From left to right: Pat Lyles, Margie Hendricks, Gwen Berry, Darlene McCrea.  (Collection Joël Dufour).
Ambler Liberty Sporting Club (Montgomery, PA), c. 1959.
Maceo's, Nashville, c. 1959.

Poster for a Ray Charles concert at the (Syria) Mosque Theatre in Pittsburgh March 17, 1959). This was the first (documented) time that The Cookies were co-billed as The Raelets. Margie Hendricks explained the name change in an interview in1961: "On a nice morning Ray tackled the problem, and came to the conclusion that only two names were possible: the 'Silver Bells' or the 'Raelets'. I immediately rejected the 'Silver Bells' - that name appeared ridiculous to me."


Mambo Club, Wichita, 9 May 1959.

Documented line-up 29 May 1959:
Margie Hendricks, Pat Lyles, Darlene McCrea.

Around October Margie takes a few months off to give birth to her son; she is replaced by Mae Mosely-Lyles.

The Raelettes, c. 1959. Clockwise from left: Pat Lyles, Gwen Berry, Margie Hendricks. (Collection Joël Dufour). 
The Raelettes, c. 1959. Top to bottom: Pat Lyles, Gwen Berry, Margie Hendricks. (Collection Joël Dufour).

1960

Souvenir brochure of the Hitmakers of 1960 tour. Topfoto left, f.l.t.r.: Margie Hendricks, May Saunders, Gwen Berry, Bettye Smith.

Announced as the Raelts, for show at Public Hall Auditorium in Cleveland on June 5, 1960 (clipped from Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 29).

Documented line-up 2 July 1960:
Gwen Berry, Margie Hendricks, Mae Mosely, Betty Smith.
Pacific Ballroom, San Diego, 21 August 1960  


1961


Documented line-up 17 - 23 July, late summer, 20 or 22 October 1961:
Gwen Berry, Margie Hendricks, Pat Lyles, Darlene McCrea.
The Raelettes after landing on Orly Airport, probably on July 18, 1961; f.l.t.r. Gwen Berry, Margie Hendricks, Pat Lyles, Darlene Mc Crea.
The Raelettes in Antibes, July 1961. F.l.t.r. Darlene, Gwen, Margie, Pat.
Antibes 1961 (from 1962 concert souvenir brochure).
From Jazz Hot, Dec. 1961. Marcus Belgrave stepping forward for a trumpet solo.
The Raelettes at Paris concert in October; from right to left: Pat Lyles, Gwen Berry, Margie Hendricks, Darlene McCrea (collection J.P. Verger).
The Raelettes in Paris; from left to right: Pat Lyles, Gwen Berry, Margie Hendricks, Darlene McCrea (collection J.P. Verger).
Pat Lyles, Gwen Berry, Margie Hendricks, Darlene McCrea (collection J.P. Verger).



Stills from the film  Swingin' Along, released in December 1961. 


1962

From Philadelphia Tribune archives, earliest date on backside 21 April, 1962.
Photo by Jim Marshall, New York, 1962.


Photo by William Claxton, 1962. 
Concert series at L'Olympia Theater in Paris, in May. The Raelettes: Gwen Berry, Margie Hendricks, Pat Lyles, Darlene McCrea.
 Documented line-up 17 - 22 May 1962:
Gwen Berry, Margie Hendricks, Pat Lyles, Darlene McCrea.
Prob. shot at the Olympia; f.l.t.r.: Pat Lyles, Margie Hendricks, Gwen Berry, Darlene McRea.
10 June 1962: landed at Arlanda Airport (coming from France), for two gigs at Gröna Lund Amusements Park, Stockholm.

1963

In february a possible Raelettes gig-without-Ray at the Apollo in New York.

Documented line-up 9 - 11, 22 May 1963:
Margie Hendricks, Gwen Berry, Pat Lyles, Darlene McCrea.
Margie Hendricks, backstage at Ray Charles' first concert in London (at the Finsbury Park Astoria) on May 12, 1963. Photo by Val Wilmer.
From 1963 UK souvenir brochure; photo probably shot in U.S.

At Orly Airport, with Raelettes, and Sonny Forriest. 
Photos by James J. Kringmann of The Raelettes, from a UK souvenir brochure. Margie missed a concert at the London Hammersmith Odeon, in May. Quotes from New Musical Express: "Raelets leader Margie Hendrix missed Charles' concert at Hammersmith on Tuesday through illness but was able to rejoin the show the following night". "That wasn't the real Ray Charles," said Ray Charles. "With Maggie ill, no one could sing her part. So I had to leave out a lot of the wilder things..."

Concert in New Orleans, at Louisiana’s Loyola University auditorium in 1963, the first show in New Orleans to allow racially mixed seating. "No incidents reported, everyone had a lovely time, and [...] paid to see Ray instead of staying away in protest of integration. Another triumph for music." 
 At Saskatoon Arena, Saskatchewan. Read review here.
Photo probably shot at Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, in late December.
Documented line-up 21 - 22 September 1963:
Gwen Berry, Margie Hendricks, Darlene McCrea, Patricia Richards.  


1964

Publicity photo of The Raelettes, c. 1964. Clockwise from top: Darlene McCrea, Pat Lyles, Gwen Berry, Margie Hendricks. (Collection Joël Dufour).
Documented line-up Late June, early July 1964:
Pat Lyles, Margie Hendricks, Gwen Berry, Darlene McCrea.

At a concert in Bristol Margie and Darlene don't appear on stage, due to an "indisposition". Soon (or right?) after this incident the girls broke away.


 
Stills from the film Ballad in Blue (shot in June/July in Dublin, London and Paris). The marquee of the Olympia Theatre has a fictional announcement of a concert on August 5.
Clipping from a 1964 newspaper. F.l.t.r. Gwen Berry, Lillie Fort, Bobbie Pierce, Helen Bryant.


Documented line-up 20 September 1964:
Gwen Berry, Helen Bryant, Lillie Fort, Bobbie Pierce.

Documented line-up 29 - 30 November 1964:
Lillie Fort, Gwen Berry, Fritz Basket, Marilyn McCoo.



The Raelettes in concert, somewhere in the UK. Licensed by Corbis and Getty, who both date this pic in 1965. Photo prob. by David Redfern.

1965


From 23 to 29 April 1965 Margie Hendricks has a solo booking at the Apollo in New York, but is still backed up by the other Raelettes (source: New York Amsterdam News, April 24, 1965).

The Philadelphia Tribune of May 22 reported that the "girls wanted to leave and establish an independent singing group. [...] Margie Hendrix [...] is leader of the new group which calls itself 'Margie Hendrix and the Melodies, formerly the Raelets'".
Ad from Miami Times, Aug. 13, in the period that Ray Charles was kicking his habit, announcing The Raelettes, "formerly with Ray Charles", at Mr. James Club, Miami.
At Big T.N.T. Show. F.l.t.r. Lillie Fort, Gwen Berry, Fritz Basket, and Marilyn McCoo.

1966

  
Clydie King, Gwen Berry, Merry Clayton.
Recording at RPM in Los Angeles. Photo by Bill Ray.

After the release of One Hurt, the Raelettes were hired for a ten-day stint at Ciro's, Sunset Boulevard's famous and fashionable nitery.
Gig at women's prison; read here. F.l.t.r. Ray Charles, Gwen Berry, Merry Clayton and Clydie King.
Documented line-up 15 October 1966:
Gwen Berry, Merry Clayton, Clydie King, Alexandra Brown.

Hollywood Palace TV show, Los Angeles, on Oct. 8. See this. Photo by Joe Adams.
F.l.t.r. Clydie King, Gwen Berry, ?LilianFort?, Merry Clayton, circa 1966.
Rare publicity photo of The Raelettes. Clockwise, from top: Merry Clayton, Clydie King, Gwen Berry, Lilian Fort.  

Publicity photo of the Raelettes. Clockwise, from top: Merry Clayton, Clydie King, Gwen Berry and Lilian Fort. Photos by John E. Reed, Hollywood); licensed by Corbis, who date this shoot in 1965.


Photos by Maurice Seymour (= Maurice & Seymour Zeldman). Clockwise: Ray Charles, Clydie King, Gwen Berry, Alex Brown, Merry Clayton.  

From left to right: Gwen Berry, Merry Clayton, Clydie King, Alex Brown.
From left to right Alex Brown, Merry Clayton, Ray Charles, Gwen Berry.



From a UK Magazine. From left to right: Alex Brown, Merry Clayton, Gwen Berry, Clydie King.
Top to bottom: Clydie King, Merry Clayton, Alex Brown, Gwen Berry. Photo by Maurice Seymour.
From Red and Black, Oct. 6, 1966.


1967

Documented line-up 18, 26 April, 3 May 1967:
Merry Clayton, Alexandra Brown, Clydie King, Gwen Berry.


From a UK concert souvenir brochure (Sep. 1969).

From a Dutch newespaper (1970). Both photos from a 1967/68 publicity shoot. 
Concert at La Salle Pleyel in Paris, on Apr. 18.

Essendon Airport, near Melbourne, on Aug. 16.
Australia tour '67.
Ad from Charleston Daily Mail, 29 Sep.
Unidentified concert, c 1967.

1968
These photos from the Andy Williams Show are dated March 26, 1968. (Photos by Gerry Null, Getty Images).


At an unidentified venue, f.l.t.r. Alex Brown, Merry Clayton, Gwen Berry, Clydie King. Photo by Bob Hannah, dated April 4, 1968.
At Newport Jazz Festival on July 7. F.l.t.r. Merry Clayton, Alex Brown, Gwen Berry and Clydie King. Photo by David Redfern.
In Amsterdam.

In the Summer of '68 Rita Graham's Vibrations album was "[...] the 'straw that broke the camel's back' for The Raelettes. They all quit one night while the show was booked into L.A.'s Premiere night club, the Coconut Grove in the Ambassador Hotel. The next morning after I had been at the Grove, 'glowing' to everyone about my album that Ray Charles had produced, R.C. called me and asked me to be at his office in the Washington Boulevard RPM Studios within the hour. Two other girls there, Beverly LeShure and Susaye Green and I, made up the new (Instant) Raelettes. That night, we were standing on the stage of the Grove, and I was a nervous wreck. Unlike the other girls, I'd had no experience with harmony and group singing, because I'd never been a church singer and I'd never been with any singing group, except for solo work with a professional choir when I was eleven".
After that San Francisco, with the new Raelettes.
 Fom there to Sugar Shack in Boston.

Documented line-up 8 October 1968:
Verlyn Flenaugh, Susaye Greene, Beverly Ann Lesure, Barbara Nell Terrault.

Ray Charles and The Raelettes, performing Eleanor Rigby at the Ed Sullivan Show on Dec. 8.
In an unidentified UK TV show (photo by David Redfern).

1969

In March '69 Mable John joins the Raelettes.



Susaye Greene (at shooting of German TV film in LA).
At the 2nd Hampton Jazz Fest, f.l.t.r.: Vernita Moss, Susaye Greene, Mable John, ?Estella Yarbrough?.  

This photo by Jan Persson is labeled with "Copenhagen", and October 5, 1969. It's probably older.

Documented line-up October 1969:
Mable John, Susaye Greene, Vernita Moss, Estella Yarbrough.  


1970

 The Raelettes independently fill a 16-week stand from January to mid April at the Camino Real Hotel in Mexico City (Ray only joins them briefly at the end of February to receive an award).



Concert c 1970, Japan?
Documented line-up 18 April 1970:
Mable John, Susaye Greene, Vernita Moss, Estella Yarbrough.


1971


Publicity pic for Raelettes' solo tour in Japan (started Feb. 12);  f.l.t.r. Vernita Moss, Susaye Greene, Mable John, unidentified singer

Line-up from Newport festival program (Jul. 2).
Documented line-up 2 July 1971:
Mable John, Susaye Greene, Vernita Moss, Estella Yarbrough.


Documented line-up August, October 1971:
Dorothy Berry, Susaye Greene, Mable John, Vernita Moss.
Dorothy Berry making her debut on October 10 in Milan, flown in to replace Estella Yarbrough ("because of ill health").


\
 Musikhalle, Hamburg, Sep. 2. 

1972

  The Raelettes, backstage at a concert in Madrid, poss. in '72.
Carol Burnett Show, aired on Jan. 26.

7 July 1972 at Yankee Stadium for the Newport Jazz Festival.

Documented line-up April - December 1972:
Dorothy Berry, Susaye Greene, Mable John, Vernita Moss, Estella Yarbrough.


From a concert in Serbia (prob. Belgrade) in 1972 or 1973.



1973


TV contract  for Midnight Special; Dorothy Berry, Mable John, Susaye Greene, Vernita Moss, Estella Yarbrough (March 1973).
July 1, Newport Jazz Festival; concert with James Baldwin at Carnegie Hall, New York.



Documented line-up 1, 8 July 1973 Vernita Moss, Susaye Greene, Mable John, Dorothy Berry, Estella Yarbrough.

Documented line-up 8 September 1973:
Denise Jackson, Mable John, Vernita Moss, Madelyn Quebec.

Documented line-up 9 October 1973:
Dorothy Berry, Denise Jackson, Mable John, Vernita Moss, Madelyn Quebec.
Around mid October 1973, in Differdange. Photo by Armand Binda.
On October 10th, 1973 at Nancy Jazz Pulsations festival.



1974


Music is the Message Festival at Fort Gordon, Jun. 20. 
YMCA, Auckland (Oct. 10).

1975
 
From Japan Tour brochure, 1975.
At unidentified concert.
Documented line-up 10 May 1975:
Dorothy Berry (Durr), Bernice Hullaby, Madelyn Quebec, Linda Sims, and Estella Yarbrough.

Documented line-up 13 May 1975:
Linda Sims, Dorothy Berry, Bernice Hullaby, Estella Yarbrough.

Documented line-up November 1975:
Susaye Greene Mable John, Vernita Moss, Estella Yarbrough.

At Cher Show, November.

1977

Documented line-up 12 November 1977:
Trudy Cohran, Dorothy Berry, Deborah Gleese, Linda Sims, Estella Yarbrough. 



1978

Documented line-up 16 July 1978:
Chrylynn Cobb, Trudy Cohran, Dorothy Berry, Linda Sims, Estella Yarbrough.
Quatorze Juillet, Festival d'Aix-en-Provence.


1979

Landmark Theatre in Syracuse, prob. on June 17, 1979. Photo by Carl Johnson.

Documented line-up 22 July, 9 August 1979:
Trudy Cohran, Pat Peterson, Madelyn Quebec, Estella Yarbrough.
 
Avis Harrell, Trudy Cohran, Pat Peterson, Madelyn Quebec.


Nortsea Jazz Festival, The Hague, on Jul. 13. Photos: Hans Hendriks.

Documented line-up 23 October 1979:
Madelyn Quebec, Estella Yarbrough, Trudy Cohran, Pat Peterson, Avis Harrell.


1980  


Documented line-up 13 June 1980:
Estella Yarbrough, Pat Peterson, Madelyn Quebec, Trudy Cohran, Avis Harrell.
F.l.t.r. Avis Harrell, Madelyn Quebec, Pat Peterson, Estella Yarbrough, Trudy Cohran.
Ritz, New York, on Jul. 31.




In or around 1980; Madelyn Quebec, Estella Yarbrough, Center, Trudy Cohran, Pat Peterson & Avis Harrell.



1982


Documented line-up 17 - 18 December 1982:
Trudy Cohran, Elaine Woodard, Estella Yarbrough, Janice Mitchell, Ann Johnson.



1983

 
July 4, at Théâtre St-Denis, Festival International De Jazz De Montréal.  
Documented line-up Early Summer, 14 July 1983:
Trudy Cohran, Anne Johnson, Janice Mitchell, Elaine Woodard, Estella Yarbrough.

At Sonomo County Fairground on Aug. 8. Photos by Richard Pechner.


1984



 Documented line-up 18, 27 October, 1 November 1984:

Trudy Cohran, Anne Johnson, Janice Mitchell, Elaine Woodard, Estella Yarbrough.

Flint Center, Cupertino, on Dec. 1. 


1985


Documented line-up 10 July 1985:
Trudy Cohran, Anne Johnson, Janice Mitchell, Elaine Woodard, Estella Yarbrough.



1986


Documented line-up 1, 7 July 1986:
Sharon Creighton, Estella Yarbrough, Gladys [Unknown], Elaine Woodard, Angie Workman.

Concert in Portland (the photo could also be from '87).


1987


Documented line-up 19 July, 12 September 1987:
Trudy Cohran, Sharon Creighton, Elaine Woodard, Angie Workman, Estella Yarbrough.
1st Izmir Festival at Ephesus Great Theatre (Jul. 7). 
 Ft. in Moonlighting (September). 


1989


 Executive Inn, Paducah (Jun. 17)
 Montreal Jazz Festival, Place des Arts (Jun. 30). 

Documented line-up Fall, 5, 17 November, 8 December 1989:
Anita Brooks, Estella Yarbrough, Trudy Cohran, Kathryn Collier, Angie Workman.


Publicity photo by Michael Collopy, c. 1990.

1990

Documented line-up 19 - 26 July 1990:
Trudy Cohran, Kay Nickerson, Lalomie Washburn, Angie Workman, Estella Yarbrough.

Documented line-up Fall, December 1990:
Kay Nickerson, Trudy Cohran, Angela Workman, Estella Yarbough.

Documented line-up December 1990:
Angie Workman, Valerie Washington, Estella Yarbrough, Kay Nickerson, Trudy Cohran.


1991

Backstage, c. 1991; f.l.t.r. Wendy Smith, Estella Yarbrough, Paula Moye, Trudy Cohran.
Pepsi's Paylettes: Melaini Paul, Fretchen Palmer, Darlene Dillinger (from Jet, May 18, 1992).
Home made artwork by Tracey Whitney (r), here with Paula Moye (l).
At the 15th Annual Sacramento Blues Festival, on   22 September 1991.

Documented line-up 28 November, 4 December 1991:
Paula Moye, Estella Yarbrough, Trudy Cohran, Gwendolyn Smith, Angie Workman.


1992

Documented line-up 1 - 22 July 1992:
Trudy Cohran, Pamela Diggs, Paula Moye, Angie Workman, Estella Yarbrough.


1993

Documented line-up 19 November 1993:
Angie Workman, Trudy Cohran, Michelle King, Elaine Woodard, Estella Yarbrough.


Still (f.l.t.r. Michelle, Trudy, Elaine, Angie) from the TV recording of the concert in Leverkusen on November 19, while Estella is taking her solo..

1996

Possibly shot in Copenhagen.
Documented line-up 22 June 1996:
Estella Yarbrough, Karen Evans, Kathy Mackey, Elaine Woodard, Tonette McKinney.


1997

Montreux Jazz Festival (Jul. 19).
Documented line-up 11, 19 July 1997:
Estella Yarbrough, Katrina Harper-Cooke, Kathy Mackey, Karen Evans, Tonette McKinney.


1999
  
Backstage at  Showroom Casino, The Orleans Hotel, Las Vegas (Sep. 29 - Oct. 3).

2000


Montreal Jazz Festival at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Bell Centre, Montreal.
Documented line-up 10 January 2000:
Estella Yarbrough, Tangy Biggers, Tonette McKinney, Karen Evans.
  
Raelettes having fun in Lucca, Italy. Sitting: Renée Georges, Karen Evans, poss. Tangy Biggers, Tonette McKinney (Jul. 18).

F.l.t.r.: Ernest Collins, LaTonya Hicks-Jefferson, Ray Charles, Brianna Perry-Tucker.

Pre-game performance at Super Bowl XXXV, Raymond James Stadium in Tampa (Jan. 28).

2002

 Millennium Theatre, Brooklyn (May 1).
At Mohegun Casino. F.l.t.r.: Katrina Harper, Estella Yarbrough, Renée Collins Georges, Karen Evans and Tonette McKinney (Jun. 22).
At opening ceremonies of the Empire State Games at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York; emceed by Bob Costas (Jul. 31).
The Raelettes, backstage with a fan, at a Casino hotel in Atlantic City (from August 2002?).
At Beacon Theatre in New York (Aug. 7).

Late November in Nortmandie, France. From left to right: Brianna Tucker, Estella Yarbrough, Renee Collins Georges, Karen Evans and Tonette McKinney.
Photo by Carlo Carugo, prob. shot in Switzerland or Italy, Autumn 2002.

2003

Documented line-up 20 July 2003:
Estella Yarbrough, Renee Collins Georges, Katrina Harper, Karen Evans, Tonette McKinney.

 Festival International de Jazz de Montréal at Salle Wilfrid Pelletier (Jun. 25 - 26).  

 Belleayre Music Festival, Highmount (Jul. 12); from left to right: Estelle Yarbrough, Renee Collins Georges, Katrina Harper, Karen Evans and Tonette McKinney.

2005

A Ray Charles Orchestra without Ray Charles was tried out by Joe Adams in 2005. On August 4th he gathered a group of musicians, a few 'Raelettes', and Billy Osborne as the singer, in the Blue Note, in New York. The Raelettes in the photos are Andromeda Turre (who was hired in 2003, when concerts started to be canceled and therefore never performed live with Ray), Joy Styles and Shalaine Adams. Nobody booked the group.
 


Labels: Album3 1971 Raelettes, Album3 1972 Raelettes, Album3 1993 Raelettes, Organ, With Ray Charles

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