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Friendship

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Album Review

Ray Charles was cutting decent-to-competent light country material in Nashville during the mid-'80s. His still-gripping voice and masterful timing and delivery kept things from getting too disturbing, but these songs were a far cry from either his magnificent soul/R&B or his groundbreaking early-'60s country. They were mostly polite, sedate, occasionally humorous duets with such country stars as George Jones, Mickey Gilley, Merle Haggard, Janie Fricke, and Hank Williams, Jr..

Biography

Born: 23 September 1930 in Albany, GA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Ray Charles was the musician most responsible for developing soul music. Singers like Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson also did a great deal to pioneer the form, but Charles did even more to devise a new form of black pop by merging '50s R&B with gospel-powered vocals, adding plenty of flavor from contemporary jazz, blues, and (in the '60s) country. Then there was his singing; his style was among the most emotional and easily identifiable of any 20th century performer, up there with the likes of Elvis...
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