Ray Charles


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The 16 sides collected here were recorded in 1949 and 1950 in Los Angeles, and find Ray Charles still in his relatively laid-back Nat King Cole/Charles Brown phase and a couple of years shy of discovering his mature and much more rough-edged style, the style that would bring him acclaim and make him one of the most important pop musicians of the 20th century. Playing piano and singing as part of a trio with guitarist G.D. McKee and bassist Milton Garred (some of these sides also have horn and string accompaniment), Charles is certainly pleasant enough, particularly on a version of Leroy Carr's "How Long Blues" and a turn at the classic "Sitting on Top of the World," but on the whole Charles was still a fairly generic singer at this point, lacking the gospel-fueled fire that would emerge a couple of years later.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:06
2 3:04
3 2:35
4 2:27
5 2:17
6 2:41
7 2:50
8 2:32
9 3:02
10 2:52
11 2:35
12 3:03
13 2:41
14 2:46
15 2:20
16 2:48
blue highlight denotes track pick