Ray Charles

Complete Country & Western Recordings 1959-1986

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AllMusic Review by

Ray Charles' explorations into country music were no mere dalliance. They have their genesis in "I'm Movin' On," the last record he made for Atlantic before moving on to ABC Paramount in 1960. But it was with the enormously successful Modern Sounds in Country & Western series of albums in 1962 (and the career making single "I Can't Stop Lovin' You") that made their mark, crossing over genre boundaries that were unthinkable at the time. An African-American doing hillbilly music was not a first, nor were uptown arrangements of hillbilly songs, but here was the Genius of Soul validating the music of the white working class, plain and simple. He was putting his own spin to it (hence the Modern Sounds), not merely a black voice singing Gene Autry songs, investing them with pain, emotion, and sorrow. It was an unprecedented achievement, both commercially and artistically, and now -- decades later -- it's viewed as just another genre-bender in the grand Ray Charles tradition. But this 92-track, four-CD box set is the first to gather them all in one place and view it as a consistent piece of work spread over a career as a stylist that's second to none. The first disc combines both volumes of the Modern Sounds albums; the rest of the anthology moves through singles, various returns to the concept over the years, and stray tracks from his later stretch at Columbia to spice it all up. This multi-disc set contains some very special music, nicely packaged -- a moment in American music well worth investigating.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:13
2 3:14
3 3:26
4 3:34
5 3:28
6 3:15
7 2:55
8 3:34
9 3:30
10 3:59
11 4:13
12 2:12
13 3:01
14 3:00
15 2:40
16 2:07
17 3:16
18 2:10
19 2:56
20 3:34
21 2:19
22 2:53
23 3:03
24 3:16

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 4:22
2 3:46
3 4:41
4 3:49
5 3:47
6 3:41
7 4:11
8 3:47
9 2:37
10 3:04
11 2:12
12
feat: Janie Fricke
2:59
13
feat: Ricky Skaggs
2:41
14 2:54
15 2:59
16
feat: Johnny Cash
3:34
17 3:51
18 3:45
19 3:48
20 3:31
21 3:37
22 3:48
blue highlight denotes track pick