Ray Charles – The Genius Of Ray Charles (1959)

The album showcased Charles’ breakout from rhythm and blues and onto a broader musical stage. Atlantic Records gave him full support in production and arrangements. As originally presented, the A side of the album featured the Ray Charles band with David “Fathead” Newman supplemented by players from the Count Basie and Duke Ellington bands, and arrangements by Quincy Jones.

The B side of the original album consists of six ballads with arrangements by Ralph Burns and a large string orchestra. Charles’s performance of “Come Rain or Come Shine”, a song identified with Frank Sinatra, brought public attention to his voice alone without the “distractions” of his soulful piano and his snappy band.

Each side contains a tribute to Louis Jordan with two songs he had hits with “Let the Good Times Roll” and “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Cryin'”.

Track Listing:

Side one
“Let the Good Times Roll” (Sam Theard, Fleecie Moore) – 2:53
“It Had to Be You” (Gus Kahn, Isham Jones) – 2:45
“Alexander’s Ragtime Band” (Irving Berlin) – 2:53
“Two Years of Torture” (Percy Mayfield, Charles Joseph Morris) – 3:25
“When Your Lover Has Gone” (Einar Aaron Swan) – 2:51
“‘Deed I Do” (Walter Hirsch, Fred Rose) – 2:27

Side two
“Just for a Thrill” (Lil Hardin Armstrong, Don Raye) – 3:26
“You Won’t Let Me Go” (Bud Allen, Buddy Johnson) – 3:22
“Tell Me You’ll Wait for Me” (Charles Brown, Oscar Moore) – 3:25
“Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Cryin'” (Joe Greene) – 3:46
“Am I Blue?” (Grant Clarke, Harry Akst) – 3:41
“Come Rain or Come Shine” (Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen) – 3:42

Review: This is a strange album. Is it a good album, even a great album? Yes. Is it a good Ray Charles album? Hell No. You sort of have to work your brain to forget Charles is the one doing the singing. It comes off as strange with the big band and strings. It totally takes away from the actual genius of Ray Charles. On Side A especially, the horns take over everything, to the point of being obnoxious

Schill Score: 2/10

Listen to Album on Spotify

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