Goodnight Brother Ray

Ray Charles - A Soulful Spirit

I had just returned from lunch yesterday when I saw a blurb on net stating “Soulful crooner Ray Charles dead at age 73.” I immediately yelled “Oh my God!” I scoured the web for more information. I did not know he had not been well so his death came as a shock to me. He was a musical genius and his music had no boundaries. He touched every music genre in his own special way. In addition to his superb vocals, piano, and organ prowess, he also played the trumpet and clarinet. His memorable gems include “What’d I Say,” “I Got A Woman,” “Georgia,” “Born To Lose,” “Hit the Road Jack”, and “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”
This morning, as I was getting ready for work, I pulled out Aretha’s Live at Fillmore West and played her reprise of “Spirit in the Dark” featuring Ray Charles. She exclaimed “I discovered Ray Charles” as she brought him onstage to join her on this great song. He even sat down and worked it out on the electric piano for a bit. I can remember hearing this record in our home as a child. Of course, I did not understand the lyrics of “Spirit in the Dark” until I got much older. Both Ray and Aretha had a way of conveying a powerful message in their music without being overly suggestive. In the liner notes of Live at Fillmore West, Producer Jerry Wexler said “Ray was embarrassed because he had missed some of the words, and I had a hell of a job getting him to approve the release of the record. Ray, this is too good to keep in the can… you and Aretha… even if it’s not a model of perfection.” Ray finally went along with it. Could you have imagined missing out on this great pairing of soul giants?
Ray was an icon and more. He overcame the challenges in his life and excelled to greatness. His passing is a reminder to all of us to support live music and especially to see our favorite legends. He has a new album, Genius Loves Company, featuring duets with Willie Nelson, Diana Krall, Elton John, Norah Jones, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt and Gladys Knight. It is scheduled for release Aug. 31 on Concord Records. There are sure to be some great reissues and box sets to come.
Enjoy your music!

One Response to “Goodnight Brother Ray”

  1. gee says:

    My heart was so heavy when I saw the news clip. My given name is Georgia (named after my granny) and I guess I don’t have to explain that. My favorite has always been “You don’t know me”.
    Hope to hear from you soon!

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