Composer: Ray Charles.
Liner Note Author: Taylor Hackford.
Recording information: 1953 - 1976.
Even though RAY, the 2004 biopic featuring Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles, hit the theaters after the singer's death, Charles was heavily involved in the process of putting the film together, and co-produced the soundtrack. Consequently, the album functions as an extremely effective primer on the genre-transcending musical giant's career. As one might expect, it's heavy on Brother Ray's late-1950s/early-'60s salad days, digging into the gospel-inflected fervor of "I've Got a Woman," the gritty R&B of "Mess Around," and the soul-wracking distress call that is "Unchain My Heart."
A number of live cuts are included as well, demonstrating the spontaneous invention that was part and parcel of Charles's gift, as on the jubilant "Hallelujah I Love Her So" and raw, sensual "What'd I Say." Ray's majestic way with a ballad is heard on two versions of his signature tune "Georgia on My Mind," and his pioneering R&B/country crossover work is ably represented by a live take on the sorrowful Eddy Arnold tune "You Don't Know Me." While there's no shortage of extant Charles anthologies, fans of the movie who take the soundtrack route to discovering the Genius's music will certainly not be short-changed.
What the critics say...
Mojo (Publisher) (p.105) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[A]chievement in corralling all forms of black music and country & western is captured gloriously..."
- Mess Around - Ray Charles
- I've Got A Woman - Ray Charles
- Hallelujah I Love Her So - Ray Charles (live, live)
- Drown In My Own Tears - Ray Charles
- Right Time, The (Night Time Is) - Ray Charles
- Mary Ann - Ray Charles
- Hard Times (No One Knows Better Than I) - Ray Charles
- What'd I Say - Ray Charles (live, live)
- Georgia On My Mind - Ray Charles
- Hit The Road Jack - Ray Charles
- Unchain My Heart - Ray Charles
- I Can't Stop Loving You - Ray Charles (live)
- Born To Lose - Ray Charles
- Bye Bye, Love - Ray Charles
- You Don't Know Me - Ray Charles (live, live)
- Let The Good Times Roll - Ray Charles (live, live)
- Georgia On My Mind - Ray Charles (live, live)