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.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett
feat: Milton Garred