Charles, Ray - Genius Loves Company

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Concord Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 51:23:00

Now that Ray Charles has moved on to the spirit world, it is up to us to carry on his legacy and celebrate his life and music until the end of our days. Genius Loves Company, oh yes indeed it does.

The timing of this album could not have been better. A man in the autumn of his life performing with some of the brightest stars in the galaxy, and every one of them are true admirers of the Charles legacy in recorded music, what a way to leave the stage.

Ray sounded as good as ever on these sessions, his honored guests certainly made it so very special for him and now it is for us. The man was beyond definition, spanning every genre. Over six decades, he created his own category. He is the first artist to receive an "Album of the Year" nomination posthumously since Roy Orbison, and to top it off in style, he won the award. It was most deserving. It is too bad he was not here to enjoy it with us, although he was in spirit and I think everyone at the event knew it.

Each track sounds like it could be on an entirely different album because of the eclectic Charles? musical aptitude and the variety of artists employed for the sessions. From Elton John to BB King, the list is a who's who of music. Anyone with a love for music will find a commonality with this album. Certainly now, with the impact of his passing and the Grammy Award, sales will be incredible. As every day passes, there is more fuel thrown on the flames of the ever-burning Ray Charles legend.

My picks for best tracks are "Here We Go Again" (Norah Jones), "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word" (Elton John) and "Fever" (Natalie Cole). The one artist that sounded surprisingly good with Charles was Willie Nelson ("It Was A Very Good Year"), only because I did not expect him to; admittedly, that was a preconceived and narrow-minded outlook, so it was a lesson learned for this listener. I actually loved each track on this album for its own merit and individuality. After taking in so much of this man's music over the last several weeks, I have to wonder about the incredible amount of great music I have missed over the years. Now is a good time as any to start exploring the Ray Charles catalog. This is a necessity for any record collection.

Here We Go Again (3:59) / Sweet Potato Pie (3:47) / You Don't Know Me (3:55) / Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word (3:59) / Fever (3:30) / Do I Ever Cross Your Mind? (4:34) / It Was a Very Good Year (4:59) / Hey Girl (5:15) / Sinner's Prayer (4:25) / Heaven Help Us All (4:32) / Somewhere Over the Rainbow (4:54) / Crazy Love [live] (6:14)

Ray Charles - piano, keyboards

Guests include:

Natalie Cole - vocals
Elton John - piano, vocals
Norah Jones - piano
B.B. King - guitar
Gladys Knight - vocals
Diana Krall - piano, vocals
Johnny Mathis - vocals
Michael McDonald - keyboards
Van Morrison - vocals
Willie Nelson - vocals, guitar
Bonnie Raitt - slide guitar
James Taylor - vocals
and a hundred or more other musicians...

Extensive, includes these reviewed titles:
Genius Loves Company (2004)
More Music From Ray (2005)

?-Genio: Ray Charles Live In Brazil 1963 (2004)

Genre: Other

Origin US

Added: February 19th 2005
Reviewer: Keith "Muzikman" Hannaleck
Artist website:
Hits: 1622
Language: english


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