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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By late 1961, Charles had expanded his small road ensemble to a full-scale big band, partly as a response to increasing royalties and touring fees, becoming one of the few black artists to cross over into mainstream pop with such a level of creative control. This success, however, came to a momentary halt during a concert tour in November 1961, when a police search of Charles's hotel room in Indianapolis, Indiana, led to the discovery of heroin in the medicine cabinet. The case was eventually dropped, as the search lacked a proper warrant by the police, and Charles soon returned to music.
In the early 1960s, whilst on the way from Louisiana to Oklahoma City, Charles faced a near-death experience when the pilot of his plane lost visibility, as snow and his failure to use the defroster caused the windshield of the plane to become completely covered in ice. The pilot made a few circles in the air before he was finally able to see through a small part of the windshield and land the plane. Charles placed a spiritual interpretation on the event, claiming that "something or someone which instruments cannot detect" was responsible for creating the small opening in the ice on the windshield which enabled the pilot to land the plane safely.
The 1962 album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music and its sequel, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Vol. 2, helped to bring country music into the musical mainstream. Charles's version of the Don Gibson song I Can't Stop Loving You topped the Pop chart for five weeks, stayed at number 1 on the R&B chart for ten weeks, and gave him his only number-one record in the UK. In 1962, he founded his own record label, Tangerine Records, which ABC-Paramount promoted and distributed. He had major pop hits in 1963 with "Busted" (US number 4) and Take These Chains from My Heart (US number 8).
In 1965, Charles's career was halted once more after he was arrested for a third time for possession of heroin. He agreed to go to rehab to avoid jail time and eventually kicked his habit at a clinic in Los Angeles. After spending a year on parole, Charles reappeared in the charts in 1966 with a series of hits composed with the fledgling team of Ashford & Simpson, including the dance number "I Don't Need No Doctor" and "Let's Go Get Stoned", which became his first number-one R&B hit in several years. His cover version of "Crying Time", originally recorded by the country artist Buck Owens, reached number 6 on the pop chart and helped Charles win a Grammy Award the following March. In 1967, he had a top-twenty hit with another ballad, "Here We Go Again"
Charles's renewed chart success, however, proved to be short lived, and by the 1970s his music was rarely played on radio stations. The rise of psychedelic rock and harder forms of rock and R&B music had reduced Charles' radio appeal, as did his choosing to record pop standards and covers of contemporary rock and soul hits, since his earnings from owning his masters had taken away the motivation to write new material. Charles nonetheless continued to have an active recording career. Most of his recordings between 1968 and 1973 evoked strong reactions: people either liked them a lot or strongly disliked them. His 1972 album A Message from the People included his unique gospel-influenced version of "America the Beautiful" and a number of protest songs about poverty and civil rights. Charles was often criticized for his version of "America the Beautiful" because it was very drastically changed from the song's original version.
In 1974, Charles left ABC Records and recorded several albums on his own label, Crossover Records. A 1975 recording of Stevie Wonder's hit "Living for the City" later helped Charles win another Grammy. In 1977, he reunited with Ahmet Ertegün and re-signed to Atlantic Records, for which he recorded the album True to Life, remaining with his old label until 1980. However, the label had now begun to focus on rock acts, and some of their prominent soul artists, such as Aretha Franklin, were starting to be neglected. In November 1977 he appeared as the host of the NBC television show Saturday Night Live.
In April 1979, his version of "Georgia on My Mind" was proclaimed the state song of Georgia, and an emotional Charles performed the song on the floor of the state legislature. Although he had notably supported the American Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s, Charles was criticized for performing at the Sun City resort in South Africa in 1981, during an international boycott protesting that country's apartheid policy.
In 1983, Charles signed a contract with Columbia Records. He recorded a string of country albums and had hit singles in duets with singers such as George Jones, Chet Atkins, B. J. Thomas, Mickey Gilley, Hank Williams, Jr., Dee Dee Bridgewater ("Precious Thing") and his longtime friend Willie Nelson, with whom he recorded the number 1 country duet "Seven Spanish Angels".
Prior to the release of his first album for Warner, Would You Believe, Charles made a return to the R&B charts with a cover of the Brothers Johnson's "I'll Be Good to You", a duet with his lifelong friend Quincy Jones and the singer Chaka Khan, which hit number one on the R&B chart in 1990 and won Charles and Khan a Grammy for their duet. Prior to this, Charles returned to the pop charts with "Baby Grand", a duet with the singer Billy Joel. In 1989, he recorded a cover of the Southern All Stars' "Itoshi no Ellie" for a Japanese TV advertisement for the Suntory brand, releasing it in Japan as "Ellie My Love", where it reached number 3 on its Oricon chart. In the same year he was a special guest at the Arena di Verona during the tour promoting Oro Incenso & Birra of the Italian singer Zucchero Fornaciari.
Charles's 1993 album, My World, became his first album in some time to reach the Billboard 200, whilst his cover of Leon Russell's "A Song for You" gave him a hit on the adult contemporary chart and his twelfth and final Grammy. By the beginning of the 1980s, Charles was reaching younger audiences in films and TV shows. In 1980, he appeared in The Blues Brothers. His version of "Night Time Is the Right Time" was played during The Cosby Show episode "Happy Anniversary", but he did not appear on the show.
In 1985, he appeared among a group of other musicians in the USA for Africa charity recording "We Are the World". His popularity increased among younger audiences in 1991 after he appeared in a series of Diet Pepsi television commercials, which featured him singing the catchphrase "You Got the Right One, Baby". Two more slickly produced adult contemporary albums followed, Strong Love Affair (1996) and Thanks for Bringing Love Around Again (2002); both failed to chart and were soon forgotten.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he made appearances on the television show Super Dave Osbourne in a series of vignettes in which he was somehow driving a car, often as Super Dave's chauffeur. During the sixth season of Designing Women, Charles sang "Georgia on My Mind" in place of the instrumental cover version which had been used in the previous five seasons. He also appeared in four episodes of the popular TV comedy The Nanny, playing Sammy in seasons 4 and 5 in 1997–98.
Charles performed at two US Presidential inaugurations: Ronald Reagan's second inauguration, in 1985, and Bill Clinton's first inauguration, in 1993. On October 28, 2001, several weeks after the terrorist attacks of September 11, Charles appeared during game 2 of the World Series, between the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees, and performed "America the Beautiful". In 2003, he headlined the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington, D.C., attended by President George W. Bush. In 2003, Charles performed "Georgia on My Mind" and "America the Beautiful" at a televised annual banquet of electronic media journalists held in Washington, D.C. His final public appearance was on April 30, 2004, at the dedication of his music studio as a historic landmark in Los Angeles.
In 2003, Charles had successful hip replacement surgery and was planning to go back on tour, until he began suffering from other ailments. He died at his home in Beverly Hills, California of complications resulting from acute liver disease, on June 10, 2004, aged 73, surrounded by family and friends. His funeral took place on June 18, 2004, at the First AME Church in Los Angeles with numerous musical figures in attendance. B. B. King, Glen Campbell, Stevie Wonder and Wynton Marsalis each played a tribute at the funeral.
Charles was married twice and had 12 children with ten different women. His first child, Evelyn, was born in 1949 to his companion, Louise Flowers, his youngest child, a son, Ryan, was born in 1987 to Mary Anne den Bok.
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Jazz producer Norman Granz convinced Ray to record George Gershwin’s “Porgy & Bess”. Ray’s first choice for the role of Bess was Gladys Knight but contractual difficulties made it impossible, and Cleo Laine was selected to sing the role. Frank DeVol arranged the music and conducted the 78-piece orchestra. Great instrumental artists like Joe Sample, Lee Ritenour, Joe Pass and Ernie Watts are just some of the many gifted in the orchestra. The material is perfect for the performers, and they give it an effective, if unstudied, treatment.
Ray Charles and Cleo Laine - Porgy and Bess (flac 336mb)
01 Summertime 6:13
02 My Man's Gone Now 4:40
03 A Woman Is A Sometime Thing 2:42
04 They Pass By Singin' 3:02
05 What You Want Wid Bess? 2:22
06 I Got Plenty O' Nuttin' 3:49
07 Buzzard Song 3:22
08 Bess, You Is My Woman 5:26
09 Oh, Doctor Jesus 2:11
10 Crab Man 1:45
11 Here Come De Honey Man 1:23
12 Strawberry Woman (Instrumental) 0:55
13 Strawberry Woman 1:17
14 It Ain't Necessarily So 4:15
15 There's A Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon For New York 3:21
16 I Loves You, Porgy 5:00
17 Oh, Bess, Oh Where's My Bess (Instrumental) 3:26
18 Oh, Bess, Oh Where's My Bess 3:34
19 Oh Lawd, I'm On My Way 3:18
Ray Charles and Cleo Laine - Porgy and Bess (ogg 145mb)
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Mo Ostin, Warner Bros. Records longtime president, delighted in having the opportunity to finally record Ray Charles. Ray had already been working on tracks with composer Jimmy Lewis, and had found arranger-keyboardist Rich Cason to be his synthesizer guru, showing Ray how to get bass, drums, horns and hand claps out of the magic keyboards.The new use of synth brings in a contemporary sound. His voice retains its drama, intensity, and flair, but he's extending himself less and less (at least on album) and not finding the kind of material that his talents
Ray Charles - Would You Believe (flac 243mb)
01 I'll Take Care Of You 3:59
02 Your Love Keeps Me Satisfied 3:37
03 Ellie, My Love 4:09
04 I Can't Get Enough 3:17
05 Let's Get Back Where We Left Off 4:12
06 Child Support, Alimony 3:45
07 Fresh Out Of Tears 3:21
08 Living Without You 4:39
09 Where's The Stairs ? 4:24
10 Leave Him ! 4:19
Ray Charles - Would You Believe (ogg 95mb)
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Once he signed to Warner Bros., Ray Charles adopted the '90s superstar schedule, releasing an album every three years. Strong Love Affair, the third of them (now on Quincy Jones's custom label, Qwest), is a self-production that finds Charles performing his usual mix of blues, R&B, and pop on a set of newly written songs. The material is serviceable, if generic, but what matters is Charles's typically expressive vocal performance. At 65, Charles may no longer be able to surprise us, but he doesn't seem ready to retire, and if new recordings from him risk redundancy and irrelevance, at their best they nevertheless can represent Charles as well as his earlier, revolutionary work. Strong Love Affair never tries to conform Charles to anything other than his eclectic self, and it never gets in his way.
Ray Charles - Strong Love Affair (flac 329mb)
01 All She Wants To Do Is Love Me 4:15
02 Say No More 4:19
03 No Time To Waste Time 3:38
04 Angelina 4:06
05 Tell Me What You Want Me To Do 5:21
06 Strong Love Affair 4:08
07 Everybody's Handsome Child 3:56
08 Out Of My Life 4:25
09 The Fever 3:46
10 Separate Ways 4:07
11 I Need A Good Woman Bad 4:59
12 If You Give Me Your Heart 4:27
Ray Charles - Strong Love Affair (ogg 120mb)
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Genius Loves Company is the last studio album Ray Charles completed before his death in June 2004. Prior to this, the last studio album he released was Strong Love Affair in 1996, which was a stab at modern pop, filled with new songs and given an adult contemporary sheen. It was not one of his most distinctive efforts, even when judged against his latter-day albums, and it disappeared not long after its release. Charles left Warner and, years later, signed with Concord, who released Genius Loves Company, which had a decidedly different approach than the all-modern Strong Love Affair. As the title acknowledges with a wink, this is a duets album, which may be a little commonplace as far as latter-day superstar albums go but is still a step up from his previous studio album since it puts Ray Charles in a comfortable, relaxed situation that plays to his strengths. Instead of trying to put Charles in a modern setting, producers John Burk and Phil Ramone (Burk helmed seven of the album's tracks, Ramone is responsible for the other five, and their work fits together seamlessly) go for a clean retro setting with a few guitars, synths, and a rhythm section, occasionally dressing it with an orchestra or some strings. In other words, apart from the glistening production, it's not far removed from any of Charles' crossover records from the '60s, and he's also given a strong set of songs, largely familiar pop classics, from "Fever" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" to "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" and "Crazy Love." His duet partners are fairly predictable -- classy newcomers like Norah Jones and Diana Krall, but also old stalwarts like Elton John, B.B. King, Johnny Mathis, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, and the ubiquitous Willie Nelson (who has never sounded older than he does here on "It Was a Very Good Year") -- but they're also reliable, never overshadowing Ray yet never shrinking in his shadow either; in short, it sounds more like a real duets album than most superstar duet records. The end result is modest, friendly, laid-back, and pleasing, one that remains faithful to Charles' music while sounding relatively fresh. It may not be weighty enough to be a career-capping masterpiece, but it's sweet enough to be an appropriate final album -- which is far more than can be said of Strong Love Affair, or any of the other albums he cut in the '80s or '90s for that matter.
Ray Charles - Genius Loves Company (flac 378mb)
01 Here We Go Again with Norah Jones 3:59
02 Sweet Potato Pie with James Taylor 3:47
03 You Don't Know Me with Diana Krall 3:55
04 Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word with Elton John 3:59
05 Fever with Natalie Cole 3:30
06 Do I Ever Cross Your Mind? with Bonnie Raitt 4:34
07 It Was A Very Good Year with Willie Nelson 4:59
08 Hey Girl with Michael McDonald 5:15
09 Sinner's Prayer with B.B. King 4:25
10 Heaven Help Us All with Gladys Knight 4:32
11 Over The Rainbow with Johnny Mathis 4:54
12 Crazy Love (Live) with Van Morrison 3:46
Ray Charles - Genius Loves Company (ogg 142mb )
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Ray Sings, Basie Swings, huh? Hmm, well, yes and no. You see, the story goes something like this. In 2005, Concord Records exec John Burk, who produced Ray Charles' superb late-career, Grammy-winning Genius Loves Company, found a reel of tape simply labeled "Ray/Basie." Upon further analysis, it was determined that the 1973 recording featured Ray Charles backed by his own band -- Count Basie and his band had actually recorded earlier that day. Charles' vocal was exceptionally prominent in the mix and at first it was thought that this potentially momentous discovery would prove unable to bear fruit. But then Burk brainstormed and decided to bring the current Count Basie Orchestra -- whose leader died in 1984 -- into the studio to lay tracks behind Charles' vocals. So there's no Basie on Ray Sings, Basie Swings, but that's merely a technicality, because there is some great music. Charles was in fine form vocally on this mix of remakes of his early ABC-Paramount-era hits and then-recent material. The consecutive reworkings of "Busted," "Cryin' Time," and "I Can't Stop Loving You," three of his defining Top Ten hits of the early '60s, are given brassy, bluesy treatments here, and standards ranging from Oscar Hammerstein II's "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" to the Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road" are transformed in Charles' hands. The set-closing "Georgia on My Mind," as close to a signature song as Charles had, is given a tender, minimalist reading, but the track preceding it, "Look What They've Done to My Song, Ma," picked up from the folk-pop singer Melanie, is quite possibly the album's highlight. It's appeared on other Ray Charles compilations before, but the gospelized, testifyin' version featured here has got to be the liveliest take on that song anyone's ever devised. So, yeah, there's no Count Basie to be found here, but his namesake orchestra does him proud. For one of those postmortem studio patch jobs that owes as much to technology as talent, it's a fine addition to the Ray Charles oeuvre, as long as one can get past the semi-false advertising of its title.
Ray Charles and Count Basie Orchestra Ray Sings Basie Swings (flac 264mb)
01 Oh, What A Beautiful Morning 4:36
02 Let The Good Times Roll 2:57
03 How Long Has This Been Going On? 6:19
04 Every Saturday Night 4:06
05 Busted 2:34
06 Crying Time 3:53
07 I Can't Stop Loving You 4:02
08 Come Live With Me 4:10
09 Feel So Bad 4:10
10 The Long And Winding Road 4:03
11 Look What They've Done To My Song 2:50
12 Georgia On My Mind 4:41
Ray Charles and Count Basie Orchestra Ray Sings Basie Swings (ogg 111mb)
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