Ray Charles' explorations into country music were no mere dalliance. They have their genesis in "I'm Movin' On," the last record he made for Atlantic before moving on to ABC Paramount in 1960. But it was with the enormously successful Modern Sounds in Country & Western series of albums in 1962 (and the career making single "I Can't Stop Lovin' You") that made their mark, crossing over genre boundaries that were unthinkable at the time. An African-American doing hillbilly music was not a first, nor were uptown arrangements of hillbilly songs, but here was the Genius of Soul validating the music of the white working class, plain and simple.
Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music is a studio album by American R&B and soul musician Ray Charles, released in April 1962 on ABC-Paramount Records. Recording sessions for the album took place in early to mid-February 1962 at Capitol Studios in New York City and at United Recording Studios in Hollywood, California.
When Ray Charles signed his precedent-shattering contract with ABC-Paramount in 1959, he was determined to make good on an early ambition to be the most versatile recording artist the music business had ever known. Charles got to work at his new label right away, producing hits like "Georgia On My Mind" and "Hit the Road Jack" along with the classic duet album with Betty Carter in 1961. But it wasn't till 1962's MODERN SOUNDS IN COUNTRY AND WESTERN MUSIC VOLS. 1 & 2 that Charles surpassed industry expectations.
The late Charles Rosen’s renown as a writer, scholar, musical thinker, and teacher tends to overshadow his reputation as a pianist. However, at his best Rosen was a probing virtuoso who embraced a wide, eclectic, and seemingly contradictory range of repertoire. All the more reason to celebrate Sony/BMG’s original jacket boxed set devoted to Rosen’s complete Columbia and Epic recordings, many of which have not been available on CD.
Charles Mingus's Town Hall Concert has long been considered a famous fiasco, and the original United Artists LP (which contained just 36 minutes of music and did not bother identifying the personnel) made matters worse. But this 1994 Blue Note CD does its best to clean up the mess. It contains over half an hour of previously unreleased music and programs the selections largely in the same order as the concert.
Lost for 50 years, these newly discovered concerts, featuring an hour and 45 minutes of performances, were filmed at the 1961 Antibes Jazz Festival in France and show Ray Charles in his prime period with the original Raeletts and his most legendary band (including David "Fathead" Newman and Hank Crawford.) These first concerts he ever gave in Europe, opened the door for Ray Charles to become one of the most revered international stars America has ever produced. The original 16mm films have been newly transferred and digitally restored and remastered, capturing Ray Charles at the peak of his powers, the very essence of "genius".