Ray Charles - Ray: Original Motion Picture SoundtrackRay Charles - More Music from Ray

Ray Charles
Ray: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

(Rhino)

Ray Charles
More Music from Ray

(Rhino)

First Appeared in The Music Box, February 2005, Volume 12, #2

Written by John Metzger

gif

Ray Charles might not have lived long enough to see the resurrection of his legacy come to fruition, but unlike many, he at least had a hand in shaping his own re-emergence, which undoubtedly explains the gracefulness with which it has been achieved. Rather than its being centered around a half-baked marketing campaign concocted via a series of board room meetings and carried out through an endless stream of television commercials hocking everything from cars to beer, Charlesí long overdue return has been constructed around the music that he made in his prime. Itís this notion that is the driving force behind the blockbuster biopic Ray. Itís not surprising, then, that the pair of compilations that were culled from and expand upon the movieís soundtrack (Ray: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and More Music from Ray) fuse together the most essential selections from Charlesí career, thereby offering spectacular glimpses at one of soul musicís greatest architects. Indeed, the bulk of the material emphasizes his legendary recordings during the í50s and í60s, and throughout the collectionsí combined 34 tracks, he effortlessly dabbles in jazz, blues, pop, gospel, country, and rock, filling each with his inimitable style. Even early forays, such as the spirited boogie of 1953ís Mess Around or the brassy blues of the subsequent yearís Iíve Got a Woman, feature a fiery passion that is irresistible. Good as the studio selections are ó and there are plenty of highlights, including Unchain My Heartís swinging groove, I Believe to My Soulís anguished cry, the smoldering Losing Hand, the lively Leave My Woman Alone, the animated retooling of Bye Bye, Love, the slow-burning sorrow of Hard Times (No One Knows Better than I), the majesty of America the Beautiful, and the spirited fervor of Hit the Road Jack ó itís on the concert cuts (Hallelujah, I Love Her So, Whatíd I Say, Makiní Whoopee, I Canít Stop Loving You, You Donít Know Me, Let the Good Times Roll, and Georgia on My Mind) where Charlesí genius truly shines. Granted, neither Ray: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack nor More Music from Ray are perfect, and neither is complete. Their overall flow is sometimes questionable, and the latter is marred by a trio of 2003 selections that were recorded specifically for the film: Drown in My Own Tears/You Donít Know Me contains bits of interfering dialogue; a collaboration between Charles and Guns Ní Roses Slash (Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand) is interesting, but ends far too abruptly; and Every Day I Have the Blues interrupts the brilliance of the set for a cover song that is sung by contemporary artist Chris Thomas King. Yet, almost in spite of these puzzling missteps, these compilations serve as a pair of pristine greatest hits endeavors that likely could continue for several more engaging volumes.

Ray: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack ó starstarstarstar

More Music from Ray ó starstarstarstar

gif

48th Annual Grammy Award Winner:
Best Compilation Soundtrack Album
Ray: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

48th Annual Grammy Award Winner:
Best Score Soundtrack Album
Ray: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

gif

Ray: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!

More Music from Ray is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!

gif

Ratings

1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!

gif

Copyright © 2005 The Music Box