Ray Charles

The Dick Cavett Show: Ray Charles Collection [DVD]

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In 1972 and 1973, Ray Charles appeared on three separate episodes of The Dick Cavett Show. This two-DVD set presents the three episodes in their entirety (minus commercials), which -- when you throw in a few newly recorded intros by, and an interview with, Cavett done especially for this release -- adds up to three-and-a-half hours of material. Though Charles was considerably past his prime as a recording artist when these programs were originally broadcast, he was still a fine performer. So for the most part, the live music segments are good, including versions of some of the classics with which Charles is most identified, like "Georgia on My Mind," "Born to Lose," and "I Can't Stop Loving You," sometimes with an angelically robed group of female backup singers. Music-oriented fans might be a little disappointed that Cavett doesn't get too deeply into the nitty-gritty of Charles' music and recording career during the chat segments. But Cavett never pretended to be a music expert, and he does speak engagingly with a good-natured Charles about the singer's more general life and times, including straightforward questions about Ray's blindness from which many hosts would shy away. Note that only one of these episodes is solely devoted to Charles; on the others, he's just one of several guests, the other celebrities including actor Tony Randall, anthropologist Margaret Mead, former New York mayor John Lindsay, and (well, not exactly a celebrity) Dr. Samuel Rosen, who pioneered a procedure for restoring hearing. As with other DVD compilations of complete Cavett episodes featuring musical performers that also include segments with non-musical guests, this might disappoint those who are mostly or only interested in Charles, though the portions that focus on the other guests are actually fairly interesting. Also note each of the episodes includes a "duet" between Charles and Cavett on "I Am Blue" -- a comic turn that's (very moderately) amusing the first time around, but downright annoying by the time they revisit the shtick for a third version, though Cavett's unapologetic about it in the interview portion done specifically for this DVD.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time
blue highlight denotes track pick