- With two seriously good Double Plus (A++) sides this copy was one of the best we played in our recent shootout
- The richness in the vocals and the wonderfully Tubey Magical sound makes this copy especially impressive
- It’s not easy to find a Ray Charles record from the Sixties that plays this quietly: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- AMG writes, “…He elevates the material with soulful vocals and good arrangements, particularly when the Raeletts back him up (as they do on half the tracks).”
Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top (to keep the female backup singers, the Raelets. sweet and clear) did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record. We know, we hear practically all of them whenever we sit down to do one of these shootouts.
We’ve searched high and low for Ray’s records and played them by the score over the years. We plan to keep a good supply on to the site in the coming years so watch for new arrivals in the Vocal section (linked to the left).
What excellent sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:
- Some of the biggest, most immediate staging, occupying an especially large acoustic space
- More Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1964
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with Aretha as well as all the singers in this huge gospel choir sounding like people
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
- No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the above
Smack Dab In The Middle
Feudin’ And Fightin
Two Ton Tessie
I Never See Maggie Alone
Move It On Over
Ma (She’s Making Eyes At Me)
The Man With The Weird Beard
The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane
Who Cares (For Me)
Ray Charles was the musician most responsible for developing soul music. Singers like Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson also did a great deal to pioneer the form, but Charles did even more to devise a new form of black pop by merging ’50s R&B with gospel-powered vocals, adding plenty of flavor from contemporary jazz, blues, and (in the ’60s) country. Then there was his singing; his style was among the most emotional and easily identifiable of any 20th century performer, up there with the likes of Elvis and Billie Holiday. He was also a superb keyboard player, arranger, and bandleader.