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The Best of Ray Charles: The Atlantic Years

6 Ratings: 3.8
1994 audio CD release

The Early Peak of the Genius The singles Ray Charles recorded for Atlantic Records beginning in 1955 are often described as the "birth" of soul. The pianist and vocalist was the first to refine up-tempo gospel, blues, and boogaloo into a highly combustible, … see full wiki

Tags: Music, Albums, Jazz, R & B
1 review about The Best of Ray Charles: The Atlantic Years

Perhaps the most important recordings of a true American icon.

  • Dec 29, 2008
Rating:
+4
Ray Charles was clearly one of the giants of American popular music in the second half of the twentieth century.  There was simply no one else like him.  His tenure at Atlantic records began in the Spring of 1952.  Ray Charles' previous recordings at Swingtime records would remind you of the King Cole Trio.  But Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler would scrap that sound and opt instead for a more jazz and blues oriented approach.  The decision would pay immediate dividends.   And mako mistake about it.....Ray Charles had a few ticks up his sleeve as well.  Ray Charles would become a fixture on the R & B charts for the balance of the decade with tunes like "I've Got A Woman", "Fool For You" and of course one of his all-time biggest hits "What I'd Say" which would become Ray's first big crossover hit in 1959.

Now jazz and the blues are not among my favorite genres of music.  I have owned "The Best of Ray Charles: The Atlantic Years"  for quite some time now but frankly this was not a disc that I  would listen to on a regular basis.   I tended to prefer Ray Charles a bit later on in his career when he recorded all of those great pop and C & W sides for ABC-Paramount.  But while there are some cuts on this collection that are simply not my cup of tea there can be no denying the enormity of the man's talent.  Aside from the bigger hits previously mentioned,  I also enjoyed songs like "Hallelujah I Love Her So", "Ain't That Love" and the marvelous "Drown In My Own Tears".  The final cut on this disc is simply magnificent.  "Just For A Thrill" was written by Lil Armstrong (Satchmo's former wife) and Ray Charles sings this ballad to perfection.  This collection includes a very informative 20 page booklet highlighting Ray's highly successful tenure at Atlantic records.  I suspect that any reputable music guide would classify "The Best of Ray Charles:  The Atlantic Years" as essential to any collectionof American popular music.  You will certainly get no argument from me.    Highly recommended.
Perhaps the most important recordings of a true American icon.

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