Ray Charles is a music legend beyond compare. A ten-time Grammy-winning superstar who almost single-handedly laid the groundwork for soul music, Charles proved his mastery with countless jazz, country, R&B, and pop masterpieces, during a career that spanned seven decades. His remarkable life was celebrated in the 2004 biopic Ray - featuring Jamie Foxx's Oscar Winning performance as the artist - and now Ray Charles' musical genius is spotlighted in this comprehensive box of his seminal Atlantic Records era, 1952-59. As pre-eminent music writer David Ritz notes inside, "These are the historic years of his creative explosion, the time when he reinvented himself as a musical revolutionary. These records will live forever."
Here 7 CDs totalling over 9 hours come beautifully packaged in a '50s-inspired record-player case and include:
A massive linen-bound liner notes book featuring an essay by Ahmet Ertegun (who also co-produced this boxed set), an in-depth historical overview by David Ritz, detailed recording session information, and an Atlantic album and singles discography).
Tons of rare photos and the original liner notes for all of the artist's Atlantic LPs, including insightful writing by renowned music scribes Nat Hentoff, Bill Randle, Guy Remark, Billy Taylor, Leonard Feather, and more.
Disc 1 highlights includes 'Mess Around', 'I've Got A Woman', 'Drown In My Own Tears', and 'Hallelujah I Love Her So'.
Disc 2 serves up 'Sweet Sixteen Bars', 'Leave My Woman Alone', 'Ain't That Love', and the full-length version of 'Doodlin''.
Disc 3 opens with 'Rockhouse Parts 1 & 2', and also features 'Talkin' 'Bout You', 'How Long Blues', 'The Genius After Hours', 'Soul Brothers' with Milt Jackson, and many more.
Disc 4 highlights include 'Yes, Indeed!', 'My Bonnie', 'Love On My Mind', and a wealth of live tracks including 'A Fool For You', recorded at Newport in 1958.
Disc 5 boasts more live genius including versions of 'I've Got A Woman', and 'Swanee River Rock', plus 8 cuts from Fathead Ray Charles Presents David Newman, featuring Ray accompanying the great saxophonist on piano.
Disc 6 mines the 8-track stereo motherlode with classics including 'What'd I Say, Parts I & II', The Genius Of Ray Charles with 'Come Rain Or Come Shine' and other tracks, more live gems including '(Night Time Is) The Right Time', from Ray Charles In Person, and his first recorded foray into country, 'I'm Movin' On'.
Disc 7 boasts 27 tracks - all but three previously unissued - from an historic 1953 rehearsal session with Ahmet Ertegun (referenced in the film Ray), never-heard outtakes from the 1958 '(Night Time Is) The Right Time' sessions; plus 7 more unreleased recordings captured in a hotel room on a tour in 1959.
Disc 8 is a DVD featuring nine great performances from Ray Charles On Voice Of America, 1960 (Live At The Newport Jazz Festival, 1960), which also premieres new footage of Ray director Taylor Hackford interviewing Ahmet Ertegun.
"All the Ray you'll ever need." Echoes
"One could go on if there was more space, but the reader should need no further recommendation." Jazz Journal
"No excuse not to get this." The Arts Desk
"Charles fans - and let's hope there are still many of them - will marvel afresh at the body of outstanding work this genius created at Atlantic in the Fifites." The Telegraph