Now that Ray Charles has moved on to the spirit world it is up to us to carry on his legacy and celebrate his life and music until the end of our days. Genius Loves Company, oh yes indeed it does.
The timing of this album could not have been better. A man in the autumn of his life performing with some of the brightest stars in the galaxy, and every one of them are true admirers of the Charles legacy in recorded music, what a way to leave the stage.
Ray sounded as good as ever on these sessions, his honored guests certainly made it so very special for him and now it is for us. The man was beyond definition, spanning every genre. Over six decades, he created his own category. He is the first artist to receive an Album of the Year nomination posthumously since Roy Orbison and to top it off in style he won the award. It was most deserving. It is too bad he was not here to enjoy it with us, although he was in spirit and I think everyone at the event knew it.
Each track sounds like it could be on an entirely different album because of the eclectic Charles’ musical aptitude and the variety of artists employed for the sessions. From Elton John to BB King, the list is a who’s who of music. Anyone with a love for music will find a commonality with this album. Certainly now, with the impact of his passing and the Grammy Award, sales will be incredible. As every day passes, there is more fuel thrown on the flames of the ever-burning Ray Charles legend.
My picks for best tracks are "Here We Go Again" (Nora Jones), "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" (Elton John) and "Fever" (Natalie Cole). The one artist that sounded surprisingly good with Charles was Willie Nelson ("It Was a Very Good Year"), only because I did not expect him to, admittedly, that was a preconceived and narrow-minded outlook, so it was a lesson learned for this listener. I actually loved each track on this album for its own merit and individuality. After taking in so much of this man’s music over the last several weeks, I have to wonder about the incredible amount of great music I have missed over the years. Now is a good time as any to start exploring the Ray Charles catalog. This is a necessity for any record collection.