Ray Charles – Genius Loves Company

Album Review by EDF

Ray Charles was a legend and he done what he loved quietly and without a fuss and that was to make music. It has been documented that he recorded all genres of music and made it his own. Having had the pleasure of seeing the great man in concert about 7 years ago, I found it amazing at how he lead his band. As we all know, the studio is different beast and does this album do the legend any justice?

This album was scheduled to be released when Charles passed away. In fact there seems to be a curse going around whenever a legend records a duets album, they end up losing the word living from the title living legend (see Frank Sinatra). Listening through this, the one track that grabbed me and not because it is good, in fact it is the opposite. YOU DON’T KNOW ME with Diana Krall sounds both musically and lyrically similar to a duet Charles did with Billy Joel on Joel’s “The Bridge” album called “Baby Grand”. That was a more superior track but here, Charles sounds like he is going through the motion.

Elsewhere, Charles gives a decent rendition of Elton John’s SORRY SEEMS TO BE THE HARDEST WORD while CRAZY LOVE with Van Morrison sounds like two old codgers reminiscing about the old days. One of the highlights here is Charles revisiting the country tune DO I EVER CROSS YOUR MIND? with Bonnie Raitt. From Country to Gospel and backed by a gospel choir to lift the tune to new heights, HEAVEN HELP US ALL with Gladys Knight is probably being performed right this minute by the man himself and what a celebration that would be.

4 stars

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