- With stunning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides and Count Basie backing up The Genius himself, this copy is As Good As It Gets!
- Most of this album is Ray stretching out with “some pretty mean and lean, cut-to-the-heart-of-the-matter B-3 Hammond organ licks.”
- Big and rich, clear and Tubey Magical, the 1962 sound of this vintage stereo pressing is just right; quiet vinyl too!
- Allmusic notes: “…one of those instrumentals, a cover of the Clovers’ “One Mint Julep,” would give Charles one of his most unpredictable (and best) early-’60s hits.”.
This album has long been a personal favorite of mine. It features Ray on the organ playing with every bit as much soul as he sings with, and who sings with more soul than Ray Charles?
Both sides here are open and transparent with HUGE amounts of room-filling bass.
You may have noticed how rare Ray Charles’ ’60s albums are on the site, so rare that in fact this seems to be the first complete album to ever become available as a “Hot Stamper.” Sure, we can find all sorts of compilations and later recuts, but real vintage albums? They simply are not out there in the record stores with the kind of clean, unscratched, undamaged condition we need them to have.
We buy them, we try them, but not many turn out to be quiet enough and good sounding enough to make the grade. This appears to be the first, and it’s a very good album — musically and sonically — indeed.
Check out the third track on side one. It reminds me very much of Bashin’, Jimmy Smith’s masterpiece from the same year.
This 1962 album is much more common in mono than stereo, but we found the sound of the original mono pressing we listened to seriously wanting, with dramatically more compressor distortion when Basie’s band gets going — or should we say, tries to get going, but the sound won’t let it open up and get out of its own way.
We’re glad to say that this is a problem the better soundings stereo copies did not have. The mono is rich and full-bodied; on a mid-fi system it would probably sound just fine. On today’s modern stereos it leaves a lot to be desired, and on a big system like ours it’s more of a joke than an involving listening experience.
For that reason we advise you to Skip the Mono.
From the Heart
I’ve Got News for You
One Mint Julep
I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town
Stompin’ Room Only
Strike Up the Band
Birth of the Blues
One of the best early-’60s examples of soul/jazz crossover, this record, like several of his dates from the period, featured big-band arrangements (played by the Count Basie band). This fared better than some of Charles’ similar outings, however, if only because it muted some of his straight pop aspirations in favor of some pretty mean and lean, cut-to-the-heart-of-the-matter B-3 Hammond organ licks.
Most of the album is instrumental and swings pretty vivaciously, although Charles does take a couple of vocals with “I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town” and “I’ve Got News for You.” Yet one of those instrumentals, a cover of the Clovers’ “One Mint Julep,” would give Charles one of his most unpredictable (and best) early-’60s hits.