I miss Ray Charles. Anyone ever meet him? What's your FAVORITE Ray Recording?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Jul 15, 2007.

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  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    I had the honor to work with Ray for a number of years. I still can't believe he's gone; he was so "alive" to us. You've read elsewhere (or heard my lectures) about some of my adventures with Ray. Have any of you ever met him? Any good stories? What is your all-time favorite RAY CHARLES RECORDING; either Atlantic, ABC-Paramount, Impulse or Tangerine? (mine at the moment is LONELY AVENUE, released on Atlantic, recorded at Capitol, NYC).

    Here is an old snap of me, DCC's Bobby Roberts (one of the founders of the original Dunhill Records), Brother Ray and DCC's President Marshall Blonstein back in 1989 at Ray's birthday party. (I'm shocked at my hair mop). One of the highlights of my life was on this night when I walked in the door of this big crowded hotel ballroom for his birthday with my date and on the other side of the room Ray's "man" Dave Simmons caught sight of me and whispered in Ray's ear something like "Steve Hoffman is here".

    I didn't know at the time what Dave said to him but Ray immediately got a big smile on his face and instructed Dave to walk him over to me. He bypassed about 80 people who wanted to shake his hand to get over to me and I was overjoyed and flattered (my date was impressed as well).

    When Ray did the Tonight Show in 1988 Bobby Roberts and I rushed over there to give Johnny Carson a Dunhill Compact Classics "Ray Charles' Greatest Hits" CD to hold up when he introduced Ray. Our CD sales shot up after that; remember, we had the ONLY Ray Charles CD in print at that time. That was awesome, watching the Tonight Show from the sidelines. I got to spend some time with Ray in the "Green Room" and he was relaxed and cool as a cucumber before going on.

    A thrill for me was during Christmas 1987 walking in to a giant record store to witness three people actually fighting over the last copy of the DCC Ray in the store. One guy was begging for it. Amazing.

    At any rate, I miss Ray.

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  2. vesikirppu

    vesikirppu Forum Resident

    Espoo, Finland

    Genius + Soul = Jazz
  3. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Uh Huh

    Never met him, or even came close to meeting him. I found out that his producer Sid Feller lived out his final years about 20 miles from my home...

    My favorites are the two "Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music" albums. Overall favorite song would be "I Can't Stop Loving You".
  4. John Carsell

    John Carsell Forum Resident

    Northwest Illinois
    My all time favorite Ray track: Hit The Road Jack.
  5. BeatleJWOL

    BeatleJWOL Senior Member

    It's gotta be What'd I Say for me. That electric piano sound is just awesome.
  6. Baba O'Riley

    Baba O'Riley New Member

    The Netherlands
  7. scotto

    scotto Forum Resident

    Ditto. The very album that popped into my head when I read the thread title. I have a nice, thick minty original RVG of this that sounds great. Brother Ray and Quincy Jones made quite a team (the Ralph Burns arrangements aren't too shabby either).
    Never got to meet the man, though my dad--a big fan--got tickets for a concert that included a meet-and-greet as a birthday present back in the '70s. All he talked about was what a nice guy Ray was.
  8. buzz

    buzz Member

    United States
    Well I'm not well versed in the Ray Charles catalogue but have to say I love "You Don't Know Me". Wonderful song.

  9. willy

    willy hooga hagga hooga

    Impeccable Photoshop skills you got there Steve! (Just kidding ;) )

    'I Can't Stop Loving You' for me...lovely spiritual!
  10. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    Steven, let me just say: you been one lucky hombre, you know that? :) :wave:

    Never met Ray, but there must be a few hundred pieces in my collection, including the best reissues, most of them from DCC...:)

    Can't choose just one Ray classic, though...on Atlantic, "Greenbacks" always had a swagger and swing I've never tired of; the 45 version of "What'd I Say"; "Lonely Avenue" and "Drown In My Own Tears"; and tomorrow, another will come to mind.

    ABC-P years. Always dug, for the rockin' side, "I Don't Need No Doctor"; for brassy R&B, "Hit The Road Jack"; and for heartache, "You Don't Know Me" and the full-length "That Lucky Old Sun."

    I'm not as big a fan of the TRC/ABC material, though like all of Ray's catalog, there are some hidden gems scattered about. One I really like is "Booty Butt," a Top 40 Ray Charles Orchestra instrumental that's really pretty cool, although I'm not sure just how much Ray did on that one. And who can deny that "America The Beautiful" will never be better than Ray's treatment?

    Sorry, Steve, that's ten favorites, but what can I say? :D

  11. Matt I

    Matt I Forum Resident

    My favorite album is Ingredients In A Recipe For Soul. My favorite Ray Charles song is America The Beautiful (I'm not the most patriotic person around, but I love the passion of that song).

    I wish I could have met him.
  12. markshan

    markshan Forum Resident

    Pittsburgh, PA
    My favorite track would be "America the Beautiful" but I also have a soft spot for his performance in the greatest movie in the history of cinema.
  13. ManFromCouv

    ManFromCouv Employee #3541

    Because of the disparity of material Ray tackled during his career (most, if not all of it great) it's tough to choose a favorite album. But 'One Mint Julep' and 'What'd I Say' are my favorite tunes.
  14. readingm

    readingm Forum Resident

    Redwood City, CA
    Aside from the usual stuff mentioned above (which is ALL great), I really like his version of "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry," from Sweet & Sour Tears.
  15. emjayen

    emjayen Forum Resident

    While not one of his more well-known ABC recordings, I've always enjoyed Ray's song "Understanding." That one never loses its humor and still makes me laugh. In second place, his live recording of "Makin' Whoopee." Love hearing him tag the number with "You know what they're doin'" Ah, the Genius at his best.
  16. markytheM

    markytheM Forum Resident

    Toledo Ohio USA
    Aside from the big hits are basically unbeatable in any way, my fav is A Portrait of Ray- though I like side 2 way better than side 1. His version of Eleanor Rigby is the definitive for me.
  17. reechie

    reechie Senior Member

    Oh my, how can you choose one?

    "Sticks And Stones," "Hit The Road, Jack," "Eleanor Rigby," "Shake A Tail Feather" from The Blues Brothers, "You Don't Know Me," "What'd I Say"...

    Did the man ever do a bad recording? I haven't heard it yet.
  18. aftermath6202

    aftermath6202 New Member

    Huntsville, USA
    There are so many; I must own about over 30 Ray CD's (including Steve's wonderful "Uh-Huh" two disc set). But my all time fave is Just For A Thrill...I heard this on one of the Atlantic Records "History Of" sets...and it just blew me away. Incredible singing and playing on that tune.

    It's also available on Atlantic's "The Genius Of Ray Charles". Not a great sounding CD, but more than listenable.

    Never had the pleasure of meeting the man, but one of my industry friends told me a hilarious story that someone in charge of looking after Ray at some kind of awards deal lost him for a bit (laughter)....

    How does one lose Ray Charles?!

  19. rhkwon

    rhkwon Forum Resident

    Houston, TX USA
    Never met Ray but I love his music. His country period is my favorite.

    Good thing Ray was'nt able to see your mop Steve! :D
  20. Aftermath

    Aftermath Senior Member

    Sentimental Blues
  21. John DeAngelis

    John DeAngelis Senior Member

    New York, NY
    I'm with Reechie--having trouble choosing just one! But I recently watched the DVD compilation of Ray's appearances on the Dick Cavett Show and they offer a fascinating insight into Ray's personality as well as his music. It's a real treat to watch Dick's conversations with Ray and in every show they do this bit where Ray plays piano and Dick tries to sing--Ray gets the biggest kick out of it! Highly recommended!
  22. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer

    The West
    I also love 'Lonely Avenue', put it on a depressing break up comp a few years ago. His wit was amazing.

    My favorite Ray might be his country and western side. Those country songs had so much soul buried under them, and Ray was able to bring the soul front and center. It's magic what he did.

    dan c
  23. Greatest Hits

    Greatest Hits Just Another Compilation

    Steve, I love hearing your Ray Charles stories. The one that always sticks in my mind is the day you went to Best Buy with him.

    I never got to meet the man. Wanted to, of course. But I guess I'll just have to wait 'til my day comes, eh?

    As for my favorite Ray recording, that's hard to say. So many great ones!

    The song he did in The Blues Brothers movie (title slips my mind).

    "Hit The Road Jack". "America The Beautiful". "Busted".

    I love the stereo mix of "What I'd Say". It's a great 'in the room' sounding groove. It's very spine-tingling.

    One that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE was the live version of Ray and Willie Nelson doing "Seven Spanish Angels". I think it was on a PBS concert. It's somewhere on DVD now. I haven't picked up that yet. The studio version isn't bad but the live version has a better feel to it.

    Here's that version from YouTube. I highly reccomend checking it out if you haven't already, Steve. :thumbsup:

    God Bless you, Ray.
  24. Royce

    Royce Forum Resident

    I never had the honor of meeting Ray, but i'm really happy for BOTH of you that you did Steve..The song that comes to mind right now is Ray's cover (if you can even call it that) of Leon Russell's "A Song For You"..The passion and vulnerablility in his voice make it impossible for me to get through without sobbing..I miss Ray too..
  25. Radiotron

    Radiotron Tube Designer

    Montreal, Canada
    I really like his Beatles covers. Eleanor Rigby is oh so excellent.
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