The Ray Charles Singers

Something Wonderful/Rome Revisited

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First off, the Ray Charles of the Ray Charles Singers isn't the "Georgia on My Mind" Ray Charles. It's the professional name of Charles Raymond Offenberg, a traditional pop composer, arranger, and bandleader, the "Other Ray Charles," as he was often referred to, who also worked with artists like Julie Andrews, Bob Hope, and Frank Sinatra, was a music consultant on The Muppet Show, and sang the theme song for the television sitcom Three's Company, among other accomplishments. He also released several albums of lushly orchestrated easy listening versions of various pop standards under the name the Ray Charles Singers in the 1960s on Enoch Light's Command Records (originally Command Performance Records) imprint, including the two combined here, 1961's Something Wonderful and 1962's Rome Revisited. Light, who also released albums under his own name that were similar to what Charles was producing, aimed his releases at audiophiles, recording them onto 35mm film rather than magnetic tape, which allowed him to create multi-track recordings that gave more control over each track's mix and istereo positioning, among other innovations. The quality of the sound for the time era of these releases is what gives them a certain archival and historical interest, but the music itself, and the vocal arrangements, reduce most songs to the level of pleasant wallpaper.

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