Ray Charles

True to Life

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True to Life presents a classic case about the problem with two-sided music media. Side one is terrific -- great songs, shining horn charts and Ray Charles' most consistent singing in years. The covers of Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now" and Joe Cocker's "The Jealous Kind" are stellar. Charles then breathes life into two old chestnuts: "Oh What a Beautiful Mornin'" and the Gershwin's "How Long Has This Been Going On." Unfortunately, side two has absolutely nothing to recommend it. "Be My Love" suffers from a dull, drawn-out big band arrangement while the next three numbers attempt, and ultimately fail, to inject some soul funkiness into the proceedings. "Let It Be" joins "Eleanor Rigby" in the class of Charles' forgettable Beatles covers. Conclusion: half a great Ray Charles record is better than none.

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