Today's artist is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and composer. Among friends and fellow musicians he preferred being called "Brother Ray". He was often referred to as "The Genius". Charles was blind from the age of seven. He pioneered the soul music genre during the 1950s by combining blues, rhythm and blues, and gospel styles into the music he recorded for Atlantic Records. He also contributed to the integration of country music, rhythm and blues, and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records.In 2002, Rolling Stone ranked Charles number ten on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time", and number two on their November 2008 list of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time".... 'N Joy
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Ray Charles Robinson was the son of Bailey Robinson, a laborer, and Aretha (or Reatha) Williams. At the time, his mother was a teenage orphan making a living as a sharecropper. They lived in Greenville, Florida with Robinson's father and his wife, Mary Jane Robinson. The Robinson family had informally adopted Aretha (or Reatha), and she took the surname Robinson. When she became pregnant by Bailey, incurring scandal, she left Greenville late in the summer of 1930 to be with family members in Albany, Georgia for the baby's birth, after which mother and child returned to Greenville. She and Mary Jane then shared in Ray's upbringing. He was deeply devoted to his mother and later recalled her perseverance, self-sufficiency, and pride as guiding lights in his life. His father abandoned the family, left Greenville, and disappearedinto obvlivion
In his early years, Charles showed an interest in mechanical objects and would often watch his neighbors working on their cars and farm machinery. His musical curiosity was sparked at Wylie Pitman's Red Wing Cafe, at the age of three, when Pitman played boogie woogie on an old upright piano; Pitman subsequently taught Charles how to play the piano. Charles and his mother were always welcome at the Red Wing Cafe and even lived there when they were in financial distress. Pitman would also care for Ray's younger brother George, to take some of the burden off their mother. George drowned in his mother's laundry tub when he was four years old. Charles started to lose his sight at the age of four, and was completely blind by the age of seven, apparently as a result of glaucoma. Destitute, uneducated, and still mourning the loss of her younger son, Aretha used her connections in the local community to find a school that would accept a blind African-American pupil. Despite his initial protest, Charles attended school at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine from 1937 to 1945.
Charles further developed his musical talent at school and was taught to play the classical piano music of J.S. Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. His teacher, Mrs. Lawrence, taught him how to use braille music which was a difficult process that requires learning the left hand movements by reading braille with the right hand and learning the right hand movements by reading braille with the left hand, and then combining the two parts. While Charles was happy to play classical music, he was more interested in the jazz, blues, and country music he heard on the radio. When Charles was 14 years old in the spring of 1945, his mother died. Her death came as a shock to him; he later said that the deaths of his brother and mother were "the two great tragedies" of his life. Charles returned to school after the funeral but was expelled in October for playing a prank on his teacher
After leaving school, Charles moved to Jacksonville with a couple who had been friends with his late mother. He played the piano for bands at the Ritz Theatre in LaVilla for over a year, earning $4 a night (US$50 in 2017 dollars. He joined the musicians' union in the hope that it would help him get work. He started to build a reputation as a talented musician in Jacksonville, but the jobs did not come fast enough for him to construct a strong identity. He decided to leave Jacksonville and move to a bigger city with more opportunities. At age 16, Charles moved to Orlando, where he lived in borderline poverty and went without food for days. Charles eventually started to write arrangements for a pop music band, and in the summer of 1947 he unsuccessfully auditioned to play piano for Lucky Millinder and his sixteen-piece band.
In 1947, Charles moved to Tampa, where he had two jobs: one as a pianist for Charles Brantley's Honeydippers, a seven-piece band. This is when he began his habit of always wearing sunglasses, made by designer Billy Stickles. In his early career, he modeled himself on Nat "King" Cole. Charles had always played piano for other people, but he was keen to have his own band. He decided to leave Florida for a large city, and, considering Chicago and New York City too big, followed his friend Gossie McKee to Seattle, Washington, in March 1948, knowing that the biggest radio hits came from northern cities. Here he met and befriended, under the tutelage of Robert Blackwell, a 15-year-old Quincy Jones
He started playing the one-to-five A.M. shift at the Rocking Chair with his band McSon Trio, which featured McKee on guitar and Milton Garrett on bass. Publicity photos of the trio are some of the earliest known photographs of Charles. In April 1949, he and his band recorded "Confession Blues", which became his first national hit, soaring to the second spot on the Billboard R&B chart. While still working at the Rocking Chair, he also arranged songs for other artists, including Cole Porter's "Ghost of a Chance" and Dizzy Gillespie's "Emanon". After the success of his first two singles, Charles moved to Los Angeles in 1950, and spent the next few years touring with the blues musician Lowell Fulson as his musical director.
After joining Swing Time Records, he recorded two more R&B hits under the name Ray Charles: "Baby, Let Me Hold Your Hand" (1951), which reached number five, and "Kissa Me Baby"(1952), which reached number eight. Swing Time folded the following year, and Ahmet Ertegün signed him to Atlantic Records. In June 1952, Atlantic Records bought Charles's contract for $2,500. His first recording session for Atlantic ("The Midnight Hour"/"Roll with My Baby") took place in September 1952, although his last Swingtime release ("Misery in My Heart"/"The Snow Is Falling") would not appear until February 1953. In 1953, "Mess Around" became Charles's first small hit for Atlantic; the following year he had hits with "It Should've Been Me" and "Don't You Know". He also recorded the songs "Midnight Hour" and "Sinner's Prayer".
Late in 1954, Charles recorded "I've Got a Woman". The lyrics were written by Ray's bandleader, Renald Richard. Ray claimed the composition. They later openly admitted that the song went back to The Southern Tones' "It Must Be Jesus" (1954, Duke 205). It became one of his most notable hits, reaching number two on the R&B chart. "I've Got a Woman" included a mixture of gospel, jazz and blues elements that would later prove to be seminal in the development of soul music. In 1955, he had hits with "This Little Girl of Mine" and "A Fool for You". In upcoming years, he scored with "Drown in My Own Tears" and "Hallelujah I Love Her So". In 1959, "What'd I Say" reached the #6 position on the Billboard Pop chart (and #1 on the Billboard R&B chart).
During his career, Charles also recorded instrumental jazz albums, such as The Great Ray Charles (1957). During this time, he also worked with the jazz vibraphonist Milt Jackson, releasing Soul Brothers in 1958 and Soul Meeting in 1961. By 1958, Charles was not only headlining black venues such as the Apollo Theater, in New York, but also bigger venues, such as Carnegie Hall and the Newport Jazz Festival (where his first live album was recorded in 1958). At this time, Charles recruited a young all-female singing group, The Cookies, and reshaped them as the Raelettes
Charles reached the pinnacle of his success at Atlantic with the release of "What'd I Say", a complex song that combined gospel, jazz, blues and Latin music, which Charles would later claim he had composed spontaneously as he was performing in clubs and dances with his small band. Despite some radio stations banning the song because of its sexually suggestive lyrics, the song became Charles's first crossover top-ten pop record. Later in 1959, he released his first country song (a cover of Hank Snow's "I'm Movin' On") and also recorded three more albums for the label: a jazz record (released in 1961 as The Genius After Hours); a blues record (released in 1961 as The Genius Sings the Blues); and a traditional pop–big band record (The Genius of Ray Charles). The Genius of Ray Charles was his first top-40 album, peaking at number 17, and was later viewed as a landmark record in his career.
Charles's Atlantic contract expired in the fall of 1959, with several big labels offered him record deals; choosing not to renegotiate his contract with Atlantic, he signed with ABC-Paramount Records in November 1959. He obtained a more liberal contract than other artists had at the time, with ABC offering him a $50,000 (US$419,749 in 2017 dollars) annual advance, higher royalties than before and eventual ownership of his master tapes—a very valuable and lucrative deal at the time. During his Atlantic years, Charles had been heralded for his own inventive compositions, but by the time of the release of the instrumental jazz album Genius + Soul = Jazz (1960) for ABC's subsidiary label Impulse!, he had virtually given up on writing original material, instead following his eclectic impulses as an interpreter.
With "Georgia on My Mind", his first hit single for ABC-Paramount in 1960, Charles received national acclaim and four Grammy Awards, including two for "Georgia on My Mind" (Best Vocal Performance Single Record or Track, Male, and Best Performance by a Pop Single Artist). Written by the composers Stuart Gorrell and Hoagy Carmichael, the song was Charles's first work with Sid Feller, who produced, arranged and conducted the recording. Charles earned another Grammy for the follow-up "Hit the Road Jack", written by the R&B singer and songwriter Percy Mayfield.
bio will be continued next week
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One of the first handful of LPs issued by Atlantic, Ray Charles (later retitled Hallelujah I Love Her So) is a bona fide classic of its genre. Weighted about three to one in favor of Charles' own compositions, its raison d'etre was the hits "Hallelujah I Love Her So" and the pounding, soaring "Ain't That Love," which opens the LP. As with other Atlantic albums of the period, its content was determined more by Charles' recent singles than by a real plan for the LP, but even within those limitations it's an amazingly subtle record. Charles does just as well with his interpretations of others' work, most notably the ominous, gospel-focused rendition of "Sinner's Prayer" (which offers a virtuoso piano performance, and comes courtesy of the pen of Charles' former mentor Lowell Fulson) and Henry Glover's wrenching ballad "Drown in My Own Tears," which is topped out on each verse by a gorgeous chorus. "Funny (But I Still Love You)" offers a guitar break played in such an understated fashion that it almost doesn't seem so much a part of R&B as it was usually being offered in 1957 as it does a part of Charles' early career output. The second side of the LP is even better, opening with the title track, a number that is almost too ubiquitous in its various cover versions -- the original has a mix of urgency and playfulness that's absolutely bracing, and the album carries this mood forward with "Mess Around," an Ahmet Ertegun-authored piano- and sax-driven romp with Charles at his most ebullient as a singer. "This Little Girl of Mine" offers him in a surprisingly light, almost acrobatic vocal mode, while "Greenbacks" is a knowing, clever cautionary narrative that is almost a throwback to 1940s-style R&B. "Don't You Know" is as salacious a piece of R&B as one was likely to hear in 1957, and "I Got a Woman" closes the record out on a pounding, driving note. The original album suffered from deficient sound and most reissues left a lot to be desired, but in 2003 WEA International reissued it (as Hallelujah I Love Her So) in a 24-bit remastered version in a gatefold format that is a treat to the ear and runs circles around prior reissues.
Ray Charles - Rock n Roll (Hallelujah I Love Her So) (flac 157mb)
01 Ain't That Love 2:50
02 Drown In My Own Tears 3:15
03 Come Back Baby 3:00
04 Sinner's Prayer 3:15
05 Funny (But I Still Love You) 3:05
06 Losing Hand 3:07
07 A Fool For You 2:59
08 Hallelujah I Love Her So 2:35
09 Mess Around 2:39
10 This Little Girl Of Mine 2:30
11 Mary Ann 2:41
12 Greenbacks 2:49
13 Don't You Know 2:36
14 I Got A Woman 2:48
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The first-ever album of new Ray Charles music was also the first time he released straight-up jazz: Atlantic released The Great Ray Charles, modest title and all, just two months after the Ray Charles R&B compilation. It introduced a completely different Ray to the world. Because Ray’s fame rested on those R&B singles, The Great Ray Charles became a way for the master to explore his heretofore hidden love of modern jazz. Art for art’s sake, with no commercial pressure. It was also a sign of the times in that nobody quite knew how singles and albums fit into the record-buying world; full-length LPs were still kind of new and it made perfect sense to use their generous expanses for longer instrumental pieces. In this spirit, no singles were released to promote the album, which hasn’t prevented it from becoming a jazz classic.
Ray Charles - The Great Ray Charles (flac 215mb)
01 The Ray 3:56
02 My Melancholy Baby 4:19
03 Black Coffee 5:28
04 There's No You 4:44
05 Doodlin' 5:49
06 Sweet Sixteen Bars 4:04
07 I Surrender Dear 5:04
08 Undecided 3:36
Ray Charles - The Great Ray Charles (ogg 149mb)
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All jazzers are familiar with the 12 bar blues. It is, after all, a staple of American music. In the wrong hands, it can sound artificial, sometimes mundane. In the right ones, though, it can be succulent, sweet, and profoundly beautiful. Ladies and gentlemen: I have never in my life heard a better jazz/blues album (actually two in one) than this one right here. From the first grinding minute of the opening "How Long Blues," to the soul-infused, uptempo "Hallelujah, Got to Love Her So," Ray Charles and Milt Jackson deliver us a plethora of approaches to the blues, all stunners in their own way. And unlike many collaborations, Charles and Jackson are good foils for eachother. Charles, drenched as he was in gospel/soul, solos in a slower, more mournful style, while the veteran jazzer Milt Jackson takes a more meandering 'be-bop' approach. Put them together, and you get a fusion most electric.
While I happen to think that Charles is the 'scene-stealer' on these two albums (witness the 5 minute piano solo in "The Genius After Hours" for a great example) another reviewer below gives that title to Jackson. Both soloists are certainly in top form. But that is what makes this record so great to listen to: despite their different approaches to blues soloing, both players bring everything they have to the table, and the result is a sweet delight. In closing, if you like a more straight ahead bop style, this disc might come off as too slow for you. Most of the tracks are in mid and slow tempos (a few of which are out-and-out grinders)! The tracks are more about soul than chops. This is fine by me, but might not be to some jazzers tasts (especially if you know Milt Jackson primarily from the Modern Jazz Quartet's recordings.) But if you want soul drenched blues, this is one of the best albums you can get!
Ray Charles & Milt Jackson - 'Soul Brothers, Soul Meeting'' (flac 496mb)
01 How Long Blues 9:15
02 Cosmic Ray 5:21
03 The Genius After Hours 4:53
04 Charlesville 4:53
05 Bags of Blues 8:49
06 'Deed I Do 5:51
07 Blue Funk 8:09
08 Soul Brothers 9:34
09 Bag's Guitar Blues 6:23
10 Soul Meeting 6:03
11 Hallelujah I Love Her So 5:27
12 Blue Genius 6:38
13 X-Ray Blues 7:01
14 Love on my Mind 3:45
Ray Charles & Milt Jackson - 'Soul Brothers, Soul Meeting'' (ogg 220mb )
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On July 5, 1958, Ray Charles and his band played a set at the Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, Rhode Island. The performance shows Ray at ease on stage, jumping in and out of musical styles at will, and casting a spell over the appreciative audience. Part of the small-venue show was released in October 1958 as Ray Charles At Newport. The Newport Jazz Festival had begun in 1954, and while already well-known and well-loved by jazz fans, the yearly event caused significant tension in Newport: this unfamiliar new black music attracted not only black audiences to white Newport, but also white college kids who descended on the town and had an easygoing, hedonistic bent that made many uncomfortable. This tension could often propel the performers to greater heights, and several performances from the festival’s early years are now legendary. Ray Charles’ At Newport album is one such document.
Ray Charles - Ray Charles at Newport (flac 266mb)
01 The Right Time 4:06
02 In A Little Spanish Town 3:47
03 I Got A Woman 6:24
04 Blues Waltz 6:29
05 Hot Rod 3:43
06 Talkin' About You 4:26
07 Sherry 4:18
08 A Fool For You 7:15
Ray Charles - Ray Charles at Newport (ogg 98mb)
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When it became clear that the music market wasn’t interested in 7″ singles only, and that releasing full-length LPs was going to be worth record companies’ time, Atlantic started compiling its artists’ previous singles onto 12″ albums. Ray Charles’ very first album (Ray Charles) was one such disc, and Yes Indeed!, released in October 1958, was the second installment. Yes Indeed! was in fact the fifth Ray Charles album to be released in sixteen months, and his second of October 1958. After Ray Charles, he released two instrumental jazz albums (The Great Ray Charles and, with Milt Jackson, Soul Brothers) and the live At Newport album. The juxtaposition of these releases showed what a wide range of talents and interests Ray had. Yes Indeed!, being a compilation of singles, shows his more popular, R&B hitmaking side.
Ray Charles - Yes Indeed!! (flac 112mb)
01 What Would I Do Without You 2:33
02 It's All Right 2:15
03 I Want To Know 3:08
04 Yes Indeed! 2:12
05 Get On The Right Track Baby 2:20
06 Talkin' 'Bout You 2:47
07 Swanee River Rock (Talkin' 'Bout That River) 2:18
08 Lonely Avenue 2:42
09 Blackjack 2:15
10 The Sun's Gonna Shine Again 2:35
11 I Had A Dream 2:54
12 I Want A Little Girl 2:54
13 Heartbreaker 2:51
14 Leave My Woman Alone 2:36
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