Ray Charles discography online?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by PaulKTF, Oct 14, 2006.

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  1. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    I'm just starting to get into Ray Charles (thanks to the "Ray" biopic believe it or not; which introduced me to his music).

    I have about 10 or 12 Ray CDs including his AWESOME "Hallelujah, I Love Her So" debut album. I think I have most of the essential stuff (including the box set of R&B material that's priceless) but is there an online discography that covers all of his releases (CD and LP)? I want to make sure I'm not missing out on any Ray albums/compilations worth owning...

    Thanks!
     
  2. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    On a related topic; is "The Great Ray Charles" (the followup to his self-titled debut) in print on CD? Did it ever get a CD release? Thanks!
     
  3. monkboughtlunch

    monkboughtlunch Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kansas City
  4. RicP

    RicP All Digital. All The Time.

    Location:
    In the ether
    You need Uh Huh. A 2-disc set mastered by our esteemed host. :)

    It is the best sounding ABC-era compilation I've heard. Couple it with the 3-CD Birth of Soul Atlantic era boxset, and you've got 5 discs of awesome sounding Ray Charles :righton:
     
  5. apileocole

    apileocole Lush Life Gort

    Hello Paul, I'm very glad to hear that the movie has introduced you to the wonders of Ray Charles. I'll try to help by giving you an overview with some recommendations. Mind ya I'm going from memory here.

    When Ray started out, he was strongly influenced by The Nat King Cole Trio (often abbreviated as KC3) which I love. I find his very earliest stuff to be negligable, he hadn't found his muse yet. At this stage he made some early recordings on 78 and if I recall right wire recorders. They were obscure releases at the time. Anyway some of these are on numerous public-domain type budget compilations, I don't keep track of them. They may not be of interest to you either.

    Ray gradually developed his synthesis of styles which some would say are the birth of soul. This happened in the early years that he recorded for Atlantic Records, during the early to mid 1950's. These were recorded on reel to reel (mono) mostly for 78 and 45 rpm singles back then. The 3-CD The Birth Of Soul box set is a great compilation (with good sound too) of this side of the Atlantic era. I'm not sure of the original albums (compilations of singles) of this period but there's much information about that in the booklet for the box set.

    In Ray's later Atlantic era (mid to late 1950's) he started making proper albums (as opposed to albums that were collections of singles) and started branching out to record straight-ahead Jazz and classic pop standards as well as his singles. Some of these were recorded in stereo. A good collection of Jazz is the Rhino/Atlantic 2-CD compilation Genius + Jazz (good sound too). The notes in that set should clarify this segment. His classic pop album, The Genius of Ray Charles (1959) is on CD and also recommended (the Rhino/Atlantic reissue is preferred). There's also a live album, In Person.

    Ray was at his zenith at this time. He switched to the ABC Paramont label (and retained ownership of recordings from this point on) which he remained at from 1960 to the mid 1970's. Sound quality is spectacular until the later 1960's, after which it is merely o.k. I recommend all of his ABC Paramount albums and singles up until the late 1960's and selections thereafter. In particular:

    Genius Hits The Road
    (Rhino CD)
    Genius + Soul = Jazz
    (DCC remastered by Steve Hoffman or Rhino CD)
    Ray Charles and Betty Carter
    (DCC remastered by Steve Hoffman or Rhino CD)
    Dedicated to You
    (Rhino CD)
    Modern Sounds In Country and Western Music
    (Rhino CD)
    Modern Sounds In Country and Western Music Volume 2
    (Never reissued complete but collected on various CDs including the Country & Western Rhino box set)
    Ingredients In A Recipe For Soul
    (DCC Gold CD remastered by Steve Hoffman or Rhino CD)
    Sweet & Sour Tears
    (Rhino CD)
    Have A Smile With Me
    (Rhino CD)
    Ray Charles In Concert (1964)
    (Never reissued complete and not on CD, but selections available on compilations including a Rhino Handmade label box set)
    Crying Time
    (Never reissued complete and not on CD)
    Country And Western Meets Rhythm and Blues
    (Never reissued complete but selections collected on various CDs including the Country & Western Rhino box set)
    A Man and His Soul
    (Never reissued complete and not on CD)
    A Portrait of Ray Charles
    (Never reissued complete and not on CD)

    After this things get uneven and I lost track in the 1970's. I have My World (1993) on CD. Of course Genius Loves Company was his last album.

    A great compilation of the ABC Paramount era, singles and album tracks, is Uh Huh, and failing that, His Greatest Hits, both remastered by Steve Hoffman. Steve has some recollections of working with Ray himself while remastering some of these CDs which you may find in searches.

    Hope that helps :)
     
  6. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    That's fantastic, apileocole! I appreciate your time in posting that very much- I'll save a copy for later reference. :)
     
  7. crisscross

    crisscross New Member

    Location:
    portland, oregon
    There is one Charles lp that doesn't get mentioned much called "Ray Charles Invites You to Listen." A number of cuts featuring Ray singing in an truly eerie falsetto. Fantastic stuff.
     
  8. monkboughtlunch

    monkboughtlunch Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kansas City
    Anyone notice that the 1988 Rhino Anthology seems to have some tape drag speed issues at the beginning of 2 or 3 tracks? Is this an issue with the master tapes or the mastering?
     
  9. apileocole

    apileocole Lush Life Gort

    You're quite welcome. Do drop in any questions or inquire for suggestions as they arise, I'm sure someone here can answer.

    I don't recall hearing tape drag but it has been a while since I've heard the Rhino Anthology. Bill Inglot did the mastering I think. He's one of the most experienced and best, so I'd say it's the tapes. However this may not be cause for too much concern. I seem to recall that for many tracks where it may apply, the Rhino CDs used the proper masters, the 2 track stereo mixdowns, and not the first generation session tape work parts (where such exist) which Steve and Ray used to remix and remaster Uh Huh, His Greatest Hits and other Steve mastered Ray Charles CDs. If so, in those instances, should there be problems with the masters, it may be possible to remix a new master if need be. Except for Genius + Soul = Jazz, for which the session tapes are gone. Again that's by recollection, I may be mistaken.
     
  10. monkboughtlunch

    monkboughtlunch Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kansas City
    Thanks - what year did the Uh Huh CD comp come out? Is it out of print?
     
  11. apileocole

    apileocole Lush Life Gort

    It came out in 1992 if I recall rightly, on the Sandstone label. It has been out of print for some time now and can command high prices. Like the Rhino Anthology, all of the tracks are from the 60 - 72 ABC Paramount era. Uh Huh is subtitled His Greatest Hits, but differs on a couple of tracks and sounds better than His Greatest Hits (DCC) in my opinion. Both are 2 CD sets. Still, as far as I'm concerned, the more plentiful His Greatest Hits comp is a perfectly good substitute if you find it at a good price. :)

    Listing for Uh Huh:

    Disc 1:
    What I'd Say parts 1 & 2
    Georgia on My Mind
    Hardhearted Hannah
    Ruby
    Sticks and Stones
    Them That Got
    One Mint Julep
    Hit the Road Jack
    Unchain My Heart
    Hide Nor Hair
    Baby, It's Cold Outside
    At the Club
    I Can't Stop Loving You
    Born to Lose
    Careless Love
    You Don't Know Me
    You Are My Sunshine
    Your Cheating Heart
    Don't Set Me Free
    Take These Chains from My Heart
    No One

    Disc 2:
    Busted
    Without Love (There Is Nothing)
    That Lucky Old Sun
    My Heart Cries for You
    Baby Don't You Cry
    Smack Dab in the Middle
    Makin' Whoppee Parts 1 & 2
    I'm a Fool to Care
    Crying Time
    Let's Go Get Stoned
    Together Again
    I Chose to Sing the Blues
    I Don't Need No Doctor
    Here We Go Again
    In the Heat of the Night
    Yesterday
    Eleanor Rigby
    If You Were Mine
    Don't Change on Me
    America the Beautiful
     
  12. monkboughtlunch

    monkboughtlunch Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kansas City
    Do you know off hand which songs on Uh - Huh were remixed? There are several tracks on the Rhino 88 Anthology which are quite muddy and that may be improved on Uh-Huh if remixed.

    Also, what's up with the rarity of Ray's awesome work on the title track to the Cincinatti Kid? I think the only place you can buy it on CD currently is the 97 Rhino 5 CD box. I deserves a wider release.
     
  13. monkboughtlunch

    monkboughtlunch Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kansas City
    Another question: you mentioned Uh Huh was all ABC stuff. So did Ray re-record What'd I Say for ABC, or did they license it from Atlantic for Uh Huh?
     
  14. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    I thought Steve used the original stereo mixes - I don't know if for every song - on Uh Huh and the Gold discs/180G LP's. I remember for sure my C&W 180G vinyl has notes about the original ABC-Paramount mixes. I know Steve had bypassed some Bell Sound remixes where Bell remixed basically just to bill ABC, using the vintage Capitol Studios (and/or United?) mixes instead.

    Not sure about the aluminum...
     
  15. apileocole

    apileocole Lush Life Gort

    Right. I think Anthology sounds good, but I can also see how some tracks might seem a tad muddy. To my ears, both His Greatest Hits and Uh Huh sound cleaner than Anthology. Most (if not all) tracks were remixed for His Greatest Hits. Alas it has a chalky, stereotypical digital sound to it compared to the fuller sound of Uh Huh. A couple of tracks on His Greatest Hits have some tape dropouts iirc. What remixed entails in this context are mixdowns from the three-track session tapes or "reduction mixes" from multis (the multis no longer with us as far as I know). If I understand the situation rightly, there's not much to change in the mix, just some shifting in balances between the 3 channels in the mixdown, and of course its less generations of tape; the sound differences really lie in the EQ and transfer quality. I feel Anthology and His Greatest Hits are a matter of trade-offs while Uh Huh is the clear winner sound wise. Of course if you don't already have the music that's not on Anthology, I suggest you grab whichever set you can find and enjoy.

    Completely agree. Weird how hard it still is to get some of Ray's music.
     
  16. apileocole

    apileocole Lush Life Gort

    Yeah, he did re-record What I'd Say for ABC indirectly, as it's part of the live album, Live In Concert (1964). I forget if that's the Atlantic version or the live one on Uh Huh... don't have it with me.

    Some were remixed... some weren't. There are a couple of albums that have more than one mix, to confuse things. The mix of Ingredients In A Recipe for Soul, seems like I recall Steve mentioned the mix he used for the Gold CD was much better than the one he'd used for the earlier aluminum CD. It sure sounds awesome. Seems that by the 1990's, the quality of Steve's transfer work makes for the best sound whichever the source.
     
  17. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    That Gold Ingredients is amazing. "Over the Rainbow" is probably the best sounding Bill Putnam recording I've heard (and I'm not consistently impressed with his recordings, genius that he was). It's like you're there...
     
  18. apileocole

    apileocole Lush Life Gort

    It is incredible! :) One of the DCC Golds that show what the fuss is about. You're right about Rainbow. The big band in Old Man Time, especially in the break, drums and brass it rocks. Ok swings lol... but if that doesn't peel off some years :D The Rhino CD sounds good but won't beat that gold. The extra material makes it tougher to choose though if one had to. Both have good stuff the other doesn't. I don't care for My Baby, but the gold DCC was the first time I'd heard Something's Wrong, which I think is another really excellent Ray track.
     
  19. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host

    Trust MMM, he knows.

    Albums like INGREDIENTS IN A RECIPE FOR SOUL were indeed mixed twice. The "official" mix is actually a pointless remix done at Bell Sound about a month after the album was recorded. That is what was used for the silver version. The DCC gold version used the ORIGINAL Capitol, NY mixes. Much better sound, dynamics and overall bitchin-ness.

    By the way the UH HUH CD uses the original WHAT'D I SAY, licensed from Warner/Elektra/Asylum/Atlantic Group and features the original first generation stereo Tom Dowd mix as supplied by the good folks at Atlantic. Did you think we would start off a two-disk Ray Charles set with a bogus live concert version?
     
  20. apileocole

    apileocole Lush Life Gort

    Thanks for the clarifications Steve. :)

    For anyone interested in the Ray Charles comps Uh Huh (Sandstone), His Greatest Hits (DCC), and Anthology (Rhino), I've compared tracks.

    Anthology has these tracks that Uh Huh and His Greatest Hits does not:

    What I'd Say (1964 concert version)
    Hallelujah I Love Her So (1964 concert version)
    Cry (from the album Sweet and Sour Tears)

    Uh Huh and His Greatest Hits has the following tracks that Anthology does not:

    Hardhearted Hannah
    Ruby
    Them That Got
    Hide Nor Hair
    Baby, It's Cold Outside
    At the Club
    Careless Love
    You Don't Know Me
    Your Cheating Heart
    Take These Chains from My Heart
    No One
    Without Love (There Is Nothing)
    My Heart Cries for You
    Baby Don't You Cry
    Smack Dab in the Middle
    Makin' Whoppee Parts 1 & 2
    I'm a Fool to Care
    Let's Go Get Stoned
    I Chose to Sing the Blues
    In the Heat of the Night
    Yesterday
    If You Were Mine
    Don't Change on Me
    America the Beautiful

    Uh Huh has these two tracks that His Greatest Hits and Anthology does not:

    What I'd Say Parts 1 & 2 (1959 Atlantic version)
    Together Again

    Hope that's of interest to someone...
     
  21. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey

    Steve, did you do any remixes for Uh-Huh at all?
     
  22. RicP

    RicP All Digital. All The Time.

    Location:
    In the ether
    Even though Uh Huh and the two separate disc His Greatest Hits share the same tracks, the mastering is completely different.

    The Uh Huh set was mastered by Steve on his tube system; the same one used to master the Gold Discs. While Greatest Hits was mastered on a solid state system like the other aluminum discs. They're both great, but Uh Huh definitely has the edge in terms of warmth and presence.
     
  23. monkboughtlunch

    monkboughtlunch Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kansas City

    Not sure, but I remember Anthology containing "Let's Go Get Stoned" and "America the Beautiful"
     
  24. crisscross

    crisscross New Member

    Location:
    portland, oregon
    thanks to this thread I picked up "His Greatest Hits," which indeed sounds fantastic.

    I have just ordered a Netherlands import of "Ingredients", mainly to hear the Percy Mayfield tune "Something's Wrong," which I've loved for years via the 45 single release. Am I correct to presume this relies upon the first Steve Hoffman silver version and not the one used for the Gold?
     
  25. Emberglow

    Emberglow Forum Resident

    Location:
    Waterford, Ireland
    The complete liner notes to the Rhino box Genius & Soul – The 50th Anniversary Collection, including a comprehensive albums and singles discography are still available online. Here you go: http://www.rhino.com/Features/liners/72859lin10.lasso
     
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