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The Genius of Ray Charles

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Editors’ Notes

The culmination of the great man’s career at Atlantic Records, 1959’s Genius of Ray Charles shows just how much command he had over his gift at that point. Half rocking big-band charts, half lushly written string orchestrations—the backings effortlessly achieved Charles’ vision of pop, R&B and jazz happily living under the same roof. On top, Ray brought more soul than almost any singer has ever managed on one album. (The two poles are neatly marked by the opening “Let the Good Times Roll” and the closing “Come Rain or Come Shine.”) He even makes a wry gas of Irving Berlin’s “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” perhaps the record’s most audacious choice. But audacity was the man’s middle name by this time. It was an ear- and mind-opening quality that reached a peak on Genius.

Customer Reviews

my favorite

this is my favorite Ray Charles recording. i wore out the vinyl and when I got it on CD there was a lot of distortion on the original masters that didn't translate well to CD. Still hearing some of it on the MP3s but sounds as if it has been remasted. The distortion is on the piano and on the big section of the big band, To me these are his classic vocal recordings!

Come Rain or Come Shine...

Ray's vocal on this track is stunningly beautiful. The rest of course is brilliant too.


This is one of the most beautiful songs! He is so powerful in this song! I love Ray! You should buy this song/album


Born: September 23, 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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