Ray Charles

Ray's Blues [Past Perfect]

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The Past Perfect imprint is sometimes a haphazard outfit when it comes to selection on its compilations and reissues. It's not that the material they issue is substandard -- far from it -- it's simply that the scholarship applied to creating a decent compilation is missing. That said, they usually provide top-notch sound and offer their recordings for a very fair price, so if you know what you're getting, you will no doubt enjoy the product. This Ray Charles collection is a case in point. Mainly it features very early Charles material styled after Nat King Cole and even Joe Turner, and finally gives way to more of Charles' signature R&B shouters, but never quite gets to the tough, soulful gospel-infused soul that made him a household name. There is little to nothing here collectors haven't heard before, and also very little to attract new listeners who are more than likely interested in the hits. Therefore, this 20-cut set appeals to those in the middle ground who have the hits compilations but are interested in going just a bit deeper. For them, this will be a solid listen and provide endless enjoyment.

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