Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Ray Charles - The Genius Sings the Blues

This 1961 album is mostly a collection of tracks originally released as R & B singles, from 1952 to 1959. For the most part, they are not Ray's biggest hits, since those were collected on earlier albums - although "The Right Time" and "I Believe to My Soul" make their first album appearance here. More interestingly, three tracks from Charles' December 4, 1953 New Orleans recording session were issued for the first time on this album, since they weren't released as singles; "Nobody Cares," "Ray's Blues," and "Mr. Charles' Blues." Even more intriguing is the other track appearing for the first time here - a cover of Big Maceo's "Someday Baby" performed only by Ray, his piano, and his vocal. It's some of the deepest blues I've heard from him. He apparently recorded 20 solo tracks - just him at the piano - at this May 10, 1953 session, but only "Someday Baby" was ever issued. I imagine that the other 19 were destroyed in the (in)famous Atlantic tape warehouse fire.

Although, I have most of these tracks elsewhere, I really enjoyed spinning this well-programmed mono album today. All the selections are indeed blues-based, although they're not all Blues with a capital "B." And the solo "Someday Baby" just blows me away.

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