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Ray Charles

Ray Charles

photo: courtesy Atlantic Records

52 articles

Audio interviews

Ray Charles (2002)

Interview by Bill DeMain, Rock's Backpages audio, 26 September 2002

Brother Ray on how he's matured as a singer; on keeping interested in old songs by improvising; finding his own voice at the end of the '40s, and meeting his hero Nat King Cole; writing because he had to, and stopping when he didn't; mixing gospel and blues; on dressing sharp, and singing about love.

File format: mp3; file size: 14.3mb, interview length: 14' 52" sound quality: *** (phoner)

List of articles in the library

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Mother Taught Ray Charles To Cope With Blindness

Profile by Alan Smith, New Musical Express, 31 August 1962

THOUGH HE has been blind since the age of six, one of Ray Charles' biggest hates is to be treated as a blind person. It ...

Ray Charles: A Genius — But He Needs The Right Audience

Report and Interview by June Harris, Disc, 2 March 1963


Welcome to Ray Charles

Interview by Ian Dove, New Musical Express, 10 May 1963

THE GENIUS... Messiah... Prophet... High Priest. Big words, and strange words to apply to a singer! But all have been used with religious fervour describing ...

Ray Charles: Finsbury Park Astoria, London

Live Review by Ian Dove, New Musical Express, 17 May 1963

Too hard a job for Ray Charles? ...

I'll Stick To Ray, Says Margie Hendrix

Interview by Maureen Cleave, The Evening Standard, 18 May 1963

Why? Because Mr. Charles is nice ...

"I Don't Know What Is The Real Me," Admits Ray Charles

Interview by Ian Dove, New Musical Express, 24 May 1963

"CARY GRANT, the film star. You know, he's a friend of mine and he used to tell me to come to England. He told me ...

What Else is Left for Ray?

Profile by David Griffiths, Record Mirror, 13 July 1963

Has The Genius Any More Fields To Conquer? ...

From Pop Singers To Rock Bands

Essay by Geoffrey Cannon, unpublished, 1965

Update, March 2019: I KNOW exactly when I wrote the piece below, where I was, and why I withdrew it from publication. It was January ...

Ballad In Blue, Ray Charles (Ardmore Pictures)

Film/DVD/TV Review by uncredited writer, Record Mirror, 27 February 1965

Ray's singing makes this film worthwhile ...

The Man, The Genius, RAY CHARLES

Profile by uncredited writer, KRLA Beat, 2 April 1966

THE STORY begins in Albany, Georgia in the year, 1932: Ray Charles was born. Six years later, the story — and the Charles family — ...

Ray Charles, Little Stevie Wonder, The Beach Boys, the Byrds, the Marvelettes, the McCoys: Yankee Stadium, the Bronx NY

Live Review by Richard Goldstein, The Village Voice, 16 June 1966

Pop Eye: Soundblast '66 ...

Ray Charles: Ray's Moods (HMV CLP 3574)

Review by uncredited writer, Beat Instrumental, December 1966

OVER THE years, apparently, many people have suggested to Ray Charles that he record certain songs and this album is the result. ...

Soul: it's what Negroes have and white men are learning

Overview by Lillian Roxon, Sydney Morning Herald, the, 30 June 1968

THE WORD is "soul" and if white Americans haven't been quite sure what it meant before, they are this week. ...

Ray Charles: Backstage With Ray, 'The Genius'

Interview by Max Jones, Melody Maker, 28 September 1968

RAY CHARLES, singer and pianist among other things, and his team of 16 musicians, four Raelets, manager Joe Adams and sundry helpers, flew into London ...

Billy Preston: Forget The Rumours — Billy Will Be Back

Interview by Alan Walsh, Melody Maker, 2 August 1969

ONE OF the few sure things about the music business is that rumours will fly around it. ...

The Week's Singles: Laura Nyro, James Taylor, Eric Clapton, The Band et al

Review by Penny Valentine, Sounds, 10 October 1970

Magnificent, dynamic Nyro ...

Ray Charles and The Raelets In Concert

Live Review by Dave Godin, Blues & Soul, 6 November 1970

THE ANNUAL concert featuring Ray Charles, his Orchestra and The Raelets is an event which usually draws S.R.O. crowds and this year was no exception. ...

Jerry Wexler: Aretha, She's Just Unbelievable

Interview by John Abbey, Blues & Soul, 22 January 1971

JERRY WEXLER is without doubt, one of the great producers who revolutionised Rhythm and Blues music in the 50's and 60's. ...

Soul Kaleidoscope: Aretha at the Fillmore

Special Feature by Michael Lydon, Ramparts, October 1971

IT WAS A night of nights. Even Tower of Power was okay, and then King Curtis and his Kingpins and the Memphis Horns and Billy ...

Ray Charles: 25 Years In Show Business (Atlantic)

Review by Charlie Gillett, Cream, March 1972

FOR MOST OF US, Ray Charles is a singer. Asked if he does anything else, we'll probably be able to rattle off a few other ...

Ray Charles: A Message From The People (Probe SPB 1060)

Review by Penny Valentine, Sounds, 9 September 1972

RAY CHARLES has apparently wanted to do an album like this — where the songs reflect a series of ideas, soft protests and pain at ...

Ray Charles

Live Review by David Nathan, Blues & Soul, 3 November 1972

TO QUOTE the title of one of his famous Atlantic recordings, a virtually guaranteed event is the annual visit of the Ray Charles revue with ...

Rockin' Chair

Memoir by Michael Lydon, Fusion, December 1972

BATTERY FAILING, headlights down to a dull yellow gleam, the gas guage below empty, we roller-coasted over the last range of hills into Berkeley — ...

B.B. King, Ray Charles: Circle Star, San Carlos CA

Live Review by Philip Elwood, The San Francisco Examiner, 1 December 1972

Let's Call Him King of the B-B-Blues ...

Ray Charles: The Empire Room at the Waldorf Astoria, New York NY

Live Review by John Swenson, The Village Voice, 9 May 1974

Falling on swank ears ...

The Age of Atlantic: Jerry Wexler

Interview by Max Jones, Melody Maker, 15 February 1975

Max Jones talks to Jerry Wexler, famed producer of Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and Maggie Bell, among others — and a vice-chairman of Atlantic ...

Ray Charles: Renaissance (London)

Review by Mick Brown, New Musical Express, 1978

TO SEE a Ray Charles album on the London label is to experience a flash of nostalgia. For in his greatest hour – the mid-1950s ...

Ray Charles: Love And Peace

Review by Penny Valentine, Melody Maker, 28 October 1978

IT'S RARE FOR any artist to re-emerge successfully from a long period of musical sterility. Harder still, somehow, for black musicians, whose problems – brought ...

Various artists: The Blues Brothers Soundtrack (Atlantic SD16017)

Review by Richard Cromelin, Los Angeles Times, 6 July 1980


Charles Sticks With Tune That Hyped His Career

Profile and Interview by Geoffrey Himes, Baltimore Sun, 6 May 1983

RAY CHARLES will no doubt finish his show at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall tonight the same way he finishes every concert: with a wildly improvised ...

Ray Charles: Royal Festival Hall, London

Live Review by Paolo Hewitt, New Musical Express, 18 June 1983

RESPECT, WE CAME to the massive Hall and paid respect to the blind man who helped shape black music, lived a life of (partly self-inflicted) ...

Thorns In Velvet: Fats Domino and Ray Charles at the Capital Jazz Festival

Live Review by Mick Brown, The Guardian, 1984

AMONG the collection of venerable antiques paraded for this year’s Capital Jazz Festival – couldn’t the organisers find anybody of note under the age of ...

40 Years of Genius: Ray Charles

Retrospective by Pete Grendysa, Record Collectors' Monthly, November 1988

YOU CAN RUN to the mountains and you can hide out in a dingy jazz club in SoHo, but you can't escape Ray Charles. Not ...

Rapping with Ray Charles

Interview by Robert Gordon, Interview, 1992

IN THE 1950s, Frank Sinatra tagged Ray Charles "Genius," an appropriate nickname for one of American music's most innovative figures. Charles brought a sophistication to ...

Charles The First

Interview by Robert Gordon, Q, March 1992

Ray Charles did soul music a big favour one day: he invented it. In 1992, the blind maestro they call "The Genius" is still going ...

Jerry Wexler: Production without style — on purpose

Interview by Fred Goodman, Musician, June 1993

Hands-off from Muscle Shoals to Stax to New York City ...

Ray Charles, Cassandra Wilson: Greek Theatre, Los Angeles CA

Live Review by Marc Weingarten, Los Angeles Times, 7 October 1997

Ray Charles Keeps Breaking New Ground in Old Fields ...

Ray Charles: Genius And Soul

Review by Barney Hoskyns, MOJO, December 1997

Luscious five-CD box of gospel/country/blues/soul classics spanning five decades and thirteen labels in the genre-busting career of Brother Ray. ...

Last Night A Record Changed My Life: Jimmy Scott on Ray Charles And Betty Carter

Interview by Chris Ingham, MOJO, 2001

I WAS IN the Lionel Hampton band in ’49. Betty joined months after me, we picked her up in Detroit. We never sang together, everybody ...

Ray Charles: The Definitive Ray Charles

Review by Charles Shaar Murray, MOJO, January 2002

Forty-six tracks from 48 years – 40 of which are from the '50s and '60s, but them's the breaks – a definitive encapsulation of a ...

Ray Charles: Thanks for Bringing Love Around Again (Crossover)

Review by Michael Lydon, Rock's Backpages, September 2002

RAY CHARLES' NEW CD, Thanks for Bringing Love Around Again – his first since Strong Love Affair in 1995 – opens with 'What'd I Say', ...

10 Questions for Ray Charles

Interview by Bill DeMain, MOJO, January 2003

Meeting Nat Cole, crafting genius songs on the spot and tips on sartorial cool. Bill DeMain gets the word from the emperor of soul. ...

Ray Charles: 'As Frank Sinatra Said, He Was The Only True Genius In Our Business'

Obituary by Charles Shaar Murray, The Independent, 11 June 2004

FOR ALL PRACTICAL purposes, Ray Charles invented modern soul music. By fusing the sensual and secular preoccupations of the blues and the galvanic fervour of ...

Ray Charles, 1930-2004

Obituary by Tony Russell, The Guardian, 12 June 2004

DURING THE 1960S, a generation of teenagers discovered America's hidden music of black blues, gospel and soul, and many of them promptly fissured into followings ...

Remembering Ray Charles and Robert Quine

Obituary by Gene Santoro, The Nation, 24 June 2004

After Ronald Reagan's death, Ray Charles's version of 'Amazing Grace', one of Reagan's favourite songs, kept popping up on radio and TV. Why not? ...

The Great Ray Charles Needed No Justifying

Retrospective by Al Aronowitz, The Blacklisted Journalist, 1 July 2004

Ronald Reagan arrived at the Pearly Gates this week, and was met by St. Peter. Reagan was stunned for a moment. ...

Ray Charles: I Believe to My Soul

Essay by Dave Marsh, Harp, September 2004

One of these days, and it won't be longYou gonna look for me, and I'll be gone ...

Brother Ray in Vision

Comment by Charles Shaar Murray, Observer Music Monthly, 14 November 2004

AT A RECENT MOVIE screening, I bumped into a publisher friend who specialises in music biographies. Every so often, he told me, some film production ...

Ray Charles: O-Genio: Live In Brazil 1963

Film/DVD/TV Review by Terry Staunton, Record Collector, March 2005

AFTER LAST YEAR'S duets album became the best-selling release of his career, coupled with the Oscar buzz surrounding the new biopic, it was inevitable that ...

Ray Charles: Pure Genius – The Complete Atlantic Recordings, 1952-1959 (Atlantic/Rhino)

Review by John Morthland, No Depression, January 2006

LIKE THE TITLE SAYS, here's everything Ray Charles recorded for Atlantic — six CDs containing 119 tracks (including one LP he produced for his tenor ...

Ahmet Ertegun, 1923-2006

Obituary by Andy Gill, The Word, February 2007

AS MUSIC BUSINESS people go, Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun was a giant amongst pygmies, a mover and shaker whose colossal impact on the course ...

see also Raelets, The

see also Margie Hendrix


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