Ray Charles

A Message from the People

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A Message from the People Review

by Jim Allen

Ray Charles's time on ABC Records was about more than adding strings, choirs, and country tunes to his approach. By 1972's A MESSAGE FROM THE PEOPLE, he was turning out tracks full of funky soul, largely devoid of the overproduction plaguing much of his ABC discography. As was so often the case with Ray, a gospel feel mixed with R&B locomotion is the engine that drives things here, but he also uses it to transform Melanie's "What Have They Done to My Song, Ma" into a syncopated strut, and bring a Sunday Baptist church feel to the Dion hit "Abraham, Martin and John."

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