Early in his career, when he was recording for labels like Swing Time and Down Beat, Ray Charles worked in a light jazz-pop vein, delivering reworked blues pieces in a manner not unlike Nat King Cole. The injection of secular gospel into his style was still a ways down the road, and most listeners will find the early pieces collected here to be a bit on the safe side. Though they lack the soulful fire of his Atlantic sides, Charles' versions of "How Long Blues," "Ray Charles Blues," and "Going Down Slow (I've Had My Fun)" are solid, professional efforts, and listeners curious about the musical beginnings of an American icon will find these recordings extremely interesting.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett