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Rare Genius, The Undiscovered Masters
© 2010 The Ray Charles Foundation under
exclusive license to Concord Music Group, Inc.

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Ray Charles
Rare Genius, The Undiscovered Masters

Total Time: 41:43
Cost: CD: $ 13.99
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Digital Download: $ 8.99

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1. Love's Gonna Bite You Back
2. It Hurts To Be In Love
3. Wheel Of Fortune
4. I'm Gonna Keep On Singing
5. There'll Be Some Changes Made
6. Isn't It Wonderful
7. I Don't Want No One But You
8. A Little Bitty Tear
9. She's Gone
10. Why Me, Lord? (Duet w/Johnny Cash)

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All people who download are entered to win an 11 CD catalog
and a travel itinerary owned by
Ray Charles and used on his 1998 tour.

Issue #139                                  Nov ‘10

If you need me to tell you who Ray Charles is, and why he was a musical genius, a legend, an icon, an institution – Then you’ve got some catching up to do – Do it.

Rare Genius, The Undiscovered Masters
is a historic piece of work. It doesn’t diminish Ray’s legendary status (as most posthumous releases tend to), yet acclaims it, and rightfully so. Culled from years of studio sessions, specifically the 70s, 80s, & 90s – years when many critics wrote off Ray’s releases as coddling to mainstream contemporary rather than focusing on his trademark R&B, soul, jazz, blues, pop, and country mix – this entirely new release (none of these tracks have ever been released before) silences those critics with what measures up as one of Ray’s most complete masterpieces.

Taking in the scope and depth of Ray’s work, the people at
Concord Music Group, specifically John Burk, realized that his musical ability, vision, and most notably his voice were just as powerful in the latter stages of his career and set out, not only to prove it, but to do right by “Brother Ray.” Not only did Burk put together a testament of Ray’s musical genius, but he did so in album form, capturing the essence of why musicians go into the studio, write, arrange, and record. The song selection and sequencing here pays as much a tribute to the artist as the songs themselves do.

The album opens with a lamenting tale of a man who has found redemption in his confession of not treating her right;
Love’s Gonna Bite You Back is set to a “Muscle Shoals” style horn arrangement that is amazing in the way that it rocks. But it’s Ray’s vocals that capture the soul here. It Hurts To Be In Love plays off the 1st track’s punch and slides us down & dirty with a smoky lounge infused, old-school, funky, big band, swinging jazz number that dances us happy.

Once Ray has welcomed us into his element, he shows us where it’s at with the first of three musical standards.
Wheel Of Fortune, along with There’ll Be Some Changes Made and A Little Bitty Tear, shows us how Ray’s masterful command of voice, piano, and band arrangements can elevate any style/genre to amazing emotional heights that pontificate the glory of music.

The center piece here is
I’m Gonna Keep On Singing, a funky, get down groovy testament to “Do it,” complete with Gospel choir backing singers and old-school spoken word rap that ride Ray’s electric keyboards and horns, horns, and more horns into a rollicking jam. Isn’t It Wonderful keeps that theme alive with lyrics that are quick to point out: “While we’re talking / We could be getting it on.” Meanwhile, the band takes Ray’s vocal cues and lays out some nice runs to move the story along to the bedroom of complete bliss.

I Don’t Want No One But You and She’s Gone, Ray takes the central themes of lost/losing love and gives them each a unique arrangement and reading. The former gives us grand scale piano work with low horns expressing the mood and attitude in a classic 70s arrangement, while the latter is a Country, Honky-Tonk affair that is more akin to the barroom than the ballroom.

The album closes with
Why Me, Lord?,” a duet with Johnny Cash that was never before released. This gem of a Kris Kristofferson gospel homage is amazing in the way that the music is simply there to allow the vocals to take center stage and breathe life into the words.

Do you have some catching up to do on
Ray Charles? If so, maybe you should start here. Let Rare Genius, The Undiscovered Masters take center stage and breathe life into your musical world – Do it.

Rare Genius, The Undiscovered Masters by Ray Charles
is available now. CD: $13.99

Buy now 
Digital Download: $ 8.99

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