Ray Charles

Blues Is My Middle Name

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A repackaging of what are, essentially, Ray Charles' musical baby pictures. The 14 tracks here were recorded in Los Angeles between 1949 and 1952, before Charles had found his own style, and when he most often mimicked those of Nat "King" Cole and Charles Brown.

What makes this album unique, however, is that one Frank Forster of Village Studio in Hamburg has grafted modern, big band accompaniments in impressive stereo onto the low fidelity mono original tracks. This can be initially disconcerting--a la John Lennon's ghostly vocals backed by a big Jeff Lynne production on the Beatles' "Free As a Bird"--but stick with it and it will reward you.

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