Ray Charles: Ray Charles Sings

Vinyl reissue of Brother Ray's debut album includes the hits Drown In My Own Tears and Hallelujah I Love Her So as well as bonus tracks

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This 180gm vinyl release gives us Ray Charles’ debut album, containing the outstanding mid-50s material we came to cherish over the decades, plus three bonus tracks. By the time Ray Charles Sings was released, the singer had firmly emerged from his devotion to the Nat King Cole sound and the public had become aware of a border-crossing performer.

Whatever kind of music he chose to dip into, Charles always sounded authentic; his versatility taken as read. If, perhaps, his legion of followers found his move into country a step too far, they were always aware that that “step” would inevitably be a small one and that his devotion to jazz, gospel, blues and soul would forever remain at the forefront of his repertoire.

This album featured such gems as Drown In My Own Tears, Hallelujah I Love Her So and Mess Around, three popular songs which became part of his standard repertoire for live performances. Audiences would feel short-changed if they didn’t get at least one of those tunes to enjoy at a concert.

Charles has long been touted as the inventor of “soul” and that element is present on virtually everything he sang from the mid-1950s onwards. The critic John Fordham has suggested that jazz became a strand that ran though everything he sang. Perhaps settling for both ideas suitably encompasses this most unique of performers.

Discography
(1) Ain’t That Love; (2) Drown In My Own Tears; (3) Come Back Baby; (d) Sinner’s Prayer; Funny (But I Still Love You); Losing Hand; (7) Hard Times (No One Knows Better Than I); Hit The Road Jack; (5) A Fool For You; (2) Hallelujah I Love Her So; (4) Mess Around; (5) This Little Girl Of Mine; (2) Mary Ann; (3) Greenbacks; (6) Don’t You Know; I Got A Woman; (7) I Believe To My Soul (48.50)
Charles (v, p) with:
(1) John Hunt (t); Emmett Dennis (bar); Roosevelt Sheffield (b); William Peeples (d); The Raelettes (v). New York, 27 November 1956.
(2) Don Wilkerson (ts); Cecil Payne (bar); Joe Bridgewater, Joshua “Jack” Willis (t); Paul West (b); Panama Francis (d). New York, 30 November 1955.
(3) Wilkerson (ts); David “Fathead” Newman (bar); Bridgewater, Charles Whitley (t); Wesley Jackson (g); Jimmy Bell (b); Glenn Brooks (d). Atlanta, 18 November 1954.
(4) Jesse Drakes (t); Sam “The Man” Taylor (ts); Dave McRae (bar); Mickey Baker (g); Lloyd Trotman (b); Connie Kay (d). New York, 17 May 1953.
(5) Wilkerson ts); Newman (as, bar); Bridgewater, Riley Webb (t); Sheffield (b); Peebles (d). Miami, 23 April 1955.
(6) Joe Tilman (ts); O’Neil Gerald (as); Wallace Davenport, Frank Mitchell (t); Warren Bell (b); Lloyd Lambert (b); Oscar Moore (d). New Orleans, 4 December 1953.
(7) Wilkerson, Newman and Sheffield plus others. Miami & New York, 1955-1961.
Blues Joint 8019