Pure Genius: The Complete Atlantic Recordings (1952-1959)

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Futterman
There’s a reason they call him the Genius. In his seven-year (1952-59) tenure at Atlantic Records, Ray Charles rewrote the language of American music. By integrating R&B, blues, jazz, gospel, country and western, and Great American Songbook standards into his repertoire, and -- most important -- blurring the lines between these genres, Charles was able to invent a distinctly personal style that laid the groundwork for modern popular music. As a singer, pianist, composer, arranger, and bandleader, Charles followed his own muse, letting no artificial barriers constrict his inventiveness and daring. Pure Genius captures the whole story, giving us the gift of ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Futterman
There’s a reason they call him the Genius. In his seven-year (1952-59) tenure at Atlantic Records, Ray Charles rewrote the language of American music. By integrating R&B, blues, jazz, gospel, country and western, and Great American Songbook standards into his repertoire, and -- most important -- blurring the lines between these genres, Charles was able to invent a distinctly personal style that laid the groundwork for modern popular music. As a singer, pianist, composer, arranger, and bandleader, Charles followed his own muse, letting no artificial barriers constrict his inventiveness and daring. Pure Genius captures the whole story, giving us the gift of Charles’ complete recordings for Atlantic, plus nearly an hour of unreleased music and conversation. There’s so much superb music here! Dip into any of the seven CDs, and gems just float right to the surface: “Losing Hand,” “Lonely Avenue,” “Mary Ann,” “Cosmic Ray,” “I’m Movin’ On,” “I Believe to My Soul,” and of course all the early influential hits, including “What'd I Say,” “Hallelujah I Love Her So,” “I’ve Got a Woman,” and “Drown in My Own Tears.” Apart from Charles’ own groundbreaking performances, the box covers his crossover collaborations with jazz vibraphonist Milt Jackson and his appearances as a sideman for his own star saxophonist, David “Fathead” Newman. It’s a commonplace to say that Charles’ Atlantic recordings are the basis for soul music; in fact, these sides are the basis of American pop music as we have known it for the past half century.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Ray Charles' seminal recordings for Atlantic have been boxed once before, as the triple-disc 1991 set The Birth of Soul. That box contained 53 tracks, the best moments of what is arguably the best period of Charles' career, but Rhino/Atlantic's 2005 seven-disc sequel, Pure Genius, doesn't bother with merely the highlights: as its subtitle makes clear, this is The Complete Atlantic Recordings 1952-1959. This is undeniably a major historical release, since it gathers all of the recordings Charles made at his creative peak, not just as a leader, but as a sideman for his saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman and sides he recorded with jazz vibraphonist Milt Jackson. Also, it's not limited to studio recordings -- live sessions, later issued on the LPs Ray Charles in Person and Ray Charles at Newport, are here too. Despite the abundance of music here, there's not much that hasn't seen the light of day before. It may not seem that way at first glance, since the seventh disc contains nothing but unreleased material, but the great majority of that is devoted to a full-length rehearsal session with producer Ahmet Ertegun from 1953 -- something that is interesting to hear once, since it does give some insights into Ertegun and Charles' working relationship and how Ray acted in the studio, but even then, it's not exactly revelatory. So, apart from that rehearsal, outtakes of "Night Time Is The Right Time" and "Tell Me How Do You Feel" and an excellent DVD of Ray live at Newport from 1960, Pure Genius is devoted to material that has been reissued extensively during the CD era -- which is another way of saying that most fans will have this music already. Still, presented here in chronological order according to recording sessions, it's hard not to marvel at Charles' development as an artist and be astonished by his range. That is what makes this set worthwhile as something more than a library piece -- listening to the first six discs from beginning to end reveals exactly how restless and creative Ray was during this period. Most listeners will be satisfied by more concise collections of this period -- and even those who truly love the hard R&B and soul of Charles' Atlantic hits will likely find The Birth of Soul a more satisfying box, since it is devoted to that sound, whereas the rest of the music here that's not on the 1991 box is largely devoted to jazz sides and live performances -- but any serious fan or historian of American music will find this set essential. Nevertheless, they may find the packaging of the set somewhat infuriating: it's a clever, well-designed replica of an old-fashioned, all-in-one record player, with the hardcover book and eight discs stored inside. It's a nice package, but a bit impractical, particularly for those who just want the music.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/6/2007
  • Label: Cleopatra
  • UPC: 741157201512
  • Catalog Number: 2015

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 The Sun's Gonna Shine Again (2:38)
  2. 2 Roll With My Baby (2:37)
  3. 3 The Midnight Hour (3:02)
  4. 4 Jumpin' in the Mornin' (2:48)
  5. 5 It Should've Been Me (2:43)
  6. 6 Losing Hand (3:14)
  7. 7 Heartbreaker (2:53)
  8. 8 Sinner's Prayer (3:24)
  9. 9 Mess Around (2:42)
  10. 10 Funny (But I Still Love You) (3:15)
  11. 11 Feelin' Sad (2:51)
  12. 12 I Wonder Who (2:50)
  13. 13 Don't You Know (2:57)
  14. 14 Nobody Cares (2:40)
  15. 15 Ray's Blues (2:54)
  16. 16 I Got a Break Baby (2:47)
  17. 17 Blackjack (2:20)
  18. 18 I've Got a Woman (2:54)
  19. 19 Greenbacks (2:52)
  20. 20 Come Back Baby (3:06)
  21. 21 A Fool For You (3:03)
  22. 22 This Little Girl of Mine (2:33)
  23. 23 Hard Times (No One Knows Better Than I) (2:55)
  24. 24 Blues Hangover (2:19)
  25. 25 Mary Ann (2:48)
  26. 26 Drown in My Own Tears (3:21)
  27. 27 Hallelujah I Love Her So (2:35)
  28. 28 What Would I Do Without You (2:34)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Dawn Ray (5:03)
  2. 2 The Man I Love (4:28)
  3. 3 Music, Music, Music (2:56)
  4. 4 Black Coffee (5:32)
  5. 5 Lonely Avenue (2:34)
  6. 6 I Want to Know (2:11)
  7. 7 Leave My Woman Alone (2:41)
  8. 8 The Ray (3:59)
  9. 9 I Surrender Dear (5:06)
  10. 10 Hornful Soul (5:30)
  11. 11 Ain't Misbehavin' (5:41)
  12. 12 Joy Ride (4:39)
  13. 13 Sweet Sixteen Bars (4:08)
  14. 14 Doodlin' (5:53)
  15. 15 There's No You (4:47)
  16. 16 Undecided (3:42)
  17. 17 My Melancholy Baby (4:22)
  18. 18 It's All Right (2:17)
  19. 19 Ain't That Love (2:51)
Disc 3
  1. 1 Rockhouse Parts 1& 2 (3:52)
  2. 2 Get on the Right Track Baby (2:19)
  3. 3 Swanee River Rock (Talkin' Bout That River) (2:17)
  4. 4 That's Enough (2:46)
  5. 5 Talkin' 'Bout You (2:49)
  6. 6 What Kind of Man Are You (2:50)
  7. 7 I Want a Little Girl (2:56)
  8. 8 How Long Blues - Milt Jackson (9:17)
  9. 9 Cosmic Ray - Milt Jackson (5:24)
  10. 10 The Genius After Hours (5:24)
  11. 11 Charlesville (4:56)
  12. 12 Bags of Blues - Milt Jackson (8:53)
  13. 13 Deed I Do - Milt Jackson (5:51)
  14. 14 Blue Funk - Milt Jackson (8:12)
  15. 15 Soul Brothers - Milt Jackson (9:33)
Disc 4
  1. 1 Bag's Guitar Blues - Milt Jackson (6:28)
  2. 2 Yes Indeed! (2:17)
  3. 3 I Had a Dream (2:54)
  4. 4 You Be My Baby (2:30)
  5. 5 Tell All the World About You (2:02)
  6. 6 My Bonnie (2:50)
  7. 7 Soul Meeting - Milt Jackson (6:05)
  8. 8 Hallelujah I Love Her So - Milt Jackson (5:31)
  9. 9 Blue Genius - Milt Jackson (6:42)
  10. 10 X-Ray Blues - Milt Jackson (7:07)
  11. 11 Love on My Mind - Milt Jackson (3:49)
  12. 12 The Spirit-Feel (3:46)
  13. 13 Blues Waltz (6:24)
  14. 14 In a Little Spanish Town (3:48)
  15. 15 Sherry (4:26)
  16. 16 (Night Time Is) The Right Time (4:04)
  17. 17 A Fool For You (7:11)
Disc 5
  1. 1 I've Got a Woman (6:19)
  2. 2 Talkin' Bout You (4:22)
  3. 3 Swanee River Rock (Talkin' 'Bout That River) (2:09)
  4. 4 Yes Indeed! (2:40)
  5. 5 Early in the Mornin' (2:48)
  6. 6 (Night Time Is) The Right Time (3:26)
  7. 7 Carrying That Load (2:16)
  8. 8 Carrying That Load (2:24)
  9. 9 Tell Me How Do You Feel (2:44)
  10. 10 Fathead - David Newman (5:23)
  11. 11 Tin Tin Deo - David Newman (5:22)
  12. 12 Bill For Bennie - David Newman (4:17)
  13. 13 Hard Times - David Newman (4:43)
  14. 14 Mean to Me - David Newman (4:16)
  15. 15 Sweet Eyes - David Newman (3:45)
  16. 16 Weird Beard - David Newman (4:49)
  17. 17 Willow Weep For Me - David Newman (4:59)
  18. 18 Tell the Truth (3:06)
  19. 19 What'd I Say Parts I & II (5:04)
Disc 6
  1. 1 What'd I Say Parts I & II (6:30)
  2. 2 Tell Me You'll Wait For Me (3:25)
  3. 3 Come Rain or Come Shine (3:42)
  4. 4 Don't Let the Sun Catch You Cryin' (3:46)
  5. 5 Just For a Thrill (3:26)
  6. 6 You Won't Let Me Go (3:22)
  7. 7 Am I Blue (3:41)
  8. 8 The Spirit-Feel (4:23)
  9. 9 Frenesi (5:04)
  10. 10 Tell the Truth (3:35)
  11. 11 Drown in My Own Tears (6:24)
  12. 12 (Night Time Is) The Right (4:05)
  13. 13 What'd I Say (4:25)
  14. 14 Let the Good Times Roll (2:53)
  15. 15 Alexander's Ragtime Band (2:53)
  16. 16 Deed I Do (2:27)
  17. 17 When Your Lover Has Gone (2:51)
  18. 18 Two Years of Torture (3:25)
  19. 19 It Had to Be You (2:45)
  20. 20 I'm Movin' On (2:22)
  21. 21 I Believe to My Soul (2:59)
Disc 7
  1. 1 Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand (0:21)
  2. 2 Unknown Title (1:16)
  3. 3 Piano Improvisation & Dialog (0:31)
  4. 4 Losing Hand & Dialog (1:47)
  5. 5 Little Rock Getaway & Dialog (1:16)
  6. 6 Kentucky Waltz (1:23)
  7. 7 Heartbreaker (2:13)
  8. 8 Heartbreaker & Dialog (1:13)
  9. 9 Piano Improvisation & Dialog #2 (0:42)
  10. 10 Heartbreaker (1:12)
  11. 11 Losing Hand & Dialog #2 (1:20)
  12. 12 Losing Hand & Dialog #3 (1:27)
  13. 13 Losing Hand & Dialog #4 (4:55)
  14. 14 Heartbreaker (2:53)
  15. 15 It Should've Been Me & Dialog (2:56)
  16. 16 Nobody Cares (3:57)
  17. 17 Piano Improvisation & Dialog #3 (0:33)
  18. 18 Mess Around (2:39)
  19. 19 Funny (But I Still Love You) (3:17)
  20. 20 Sinner's Prayer (3:44)
  21. 21 Piano Improvisation & Dialog #4 (1:01)
  22. 22 Low Society & Dialog #1 (3:08)
  23. 23 Boogie Woogie (1:56)
  24. 24 Low Society & Dialog #2 (3:28)
  25. 25 Worried Life Blues (3:01)
  26. 26 Come Back Baby (1:59)
  27. 27 Low Society (2:56)
  28. 28 (Night Time Is) The Right Time & Dialog (8:17)
  29. 29 Tell Me How Do You Feel (3:21)
  30. 30 Dialog (1:01)
  31. 31 It Had to Be You & Dialog (1:40)
  32. 32 My Buddy & Dialog (1:45)
  33. 33 Dialog (0:18)
  34. 34 When Your Lover Has Gone & Dialog (1:50)
  35. 35 I'm Beginning to See the Light (1:26)
  36. 36 Let the Good Times Roll & Dialog (2:46)
Disc 8
  1. 1 Lil' Darlin'
  2. 2 Blues Waltz
  3. 3 Let the Good Times Roll
  4. 4 Don't Let the Sun Catch You Cryin'
  5. 5 Sticks and Stones
  6. 6 My Baby! (I Love Her, Yes I Do)
  7. 7 Drown in My Own Tears
  8. 8 What'd I Say
  9. 9 I Believe to My Soul
  10. 10 Interview with Ahmet Ertegu
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Ray Charles Primary Artist, Organ, Piano, Celeste, Hammond Organ, Electric Piano, Alto Saxophone, Vocals, Background Vocals, Wurlitzer, Soloist
Marcus Belgrave Trumpet, Soloist
Bob Brookmeyer Valve Trombone
Paul Gonsalves Tenor Saxophone, Soloist
Freddie Green Guitar
Al Grey Trombone
Milt Jackson Guitar, Piano, Vibes, Soloist
Melba Liston Trombone
Billy Mitchell Tenor Saxophone
Cecil Payne Baritone Saxophone
Oscar Pettiford Bass
Marshall Royal Alto Saxophone
Art Taylor Drums
Wallace Davenport Trumpet
Oscar Moore Drums
Ernie Royal Trumpet
Jimmy Bell Bass
Willis Conover Narrator
Sam "The Man" Taylor Tenor Saxophone, Soloist
Quentin Jackson Trombone
Connie Kay Drums
Percy Heath Bass
Warren Bell Baritone Saxophone
Clifton Best Guitar
Edgar Blanchard Guitar
Joe Bridgewater Trumpet
Glenn Brooks Drums
Kenny Burrell Guitar
Candido Camero Conga
Clark Terry Trumpet
Leroy Cooper Baritone Saxophone
Emmett Dennis Baritone Saxophone
Jesse Drakes Trumpet
Ahmet Ertegun Vocals
Frank Fields Bass, Bass Guitar
Teagle Fleming Drums
Charlie Fowlkes Baritone Saxophone
Panama Francis Drums
O'Neil Gerald Alto Saxophone
Philip Guilbeau Trumpet
Joe Harris Drums
Margie Hendrix Vocals, Background Vocals
John Hunt Trumpet
Wesley Jackson Guitar
Dorothy Jones Background Vocals
Lloyd Lambert Bass, Bass Guitar
Charles Macey Pedal Steel Guitar
Jose Mangual Bongos
Wendell Marshall Bass
Dave McRae Baritone Saxophone
Frank Mitchell Trumpet
Thomas Mitchell Trombone
David "Fathead" Newman Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Background Vocals, Soloist
William Peeples Drums
Charlie Persip Drums
The Raelettes Background Vocals
Mongo Santamaría Conga
Roosevelt Sheffield Bass
Alonzo Stewart Drums
Jesse Stone Vocals
Joe Tillman Tenor Saxophone
Lloyd Trotman Bass, Bass Guitar
Milt Turner Drums
Riley Webb Trumpet
Frank Wess Flute, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Jerry Wexler Tambourine
Charles Whitley Trumpet
Edgar Willis Bass
Joshua Willis Trumpet
Snooky Young Trumpet
Allen Hanlon Guitar
Earl-Jean Background Vocals
Gwen Berry Background Vocals
Eddie Jones Bass
Joe Newman Quartet Trumpet
Taylor Hackford Conductor
Betty Smith Background Vocals
Mary Ann Fisher Vocals, Background Vocals
McHouston "Mickey" Baker Guitar
Lee "Ricci" Zedric Harper Trumpet
Warren Hebrard Tenor Saxophone
Priscilla "Pat" Moseley Lyles Background Vocals
Ted Sommers Drums
Paul E. West Bass
August "Dimes" Dupont Alto Saxophone
Dave McRea Baritone Saxophone
Technical Credits
Charles Brown Composer
Leroy Carr Composer
Walter Davis Composer
Lowell Fulson Composer
Lloyd Glenn Composer
Percy Mayfield Composer
George Gershwin Composer
Hank Snow Composer
Irving Berlin Composer
Ray Charles Arranger, Composer
Titus Turner Composer
Count Basie Composer
Hank Crawford Composer
Leonard Feather Liner Notes
Johnny Hodges Composer
Milt Jackson Composer
Harry James Composer
Quincy Jones Arranger, Composer
Max Roach Composer
Jimmy Rushing Composer
Horace Silver Composer
Fats Waller Composer
Charlie Shavers Composer
Ralph Burns Arranger
Neal Hefti Composer
Buddy Johnson Composer
Oscar Moore Composer
Sy Oliver Composer
Joe Sullivan Composer
Harold Arlen Composer
Mort Shuman Composer
Big Maceo Merriweather Composer
T-Bone Walker Composer
Chano Pozo Composer
Andy Razaf Composer
Herb Abramson Producer
John "Johnny" Adriano Acea Arranger
Fred E. Ahlert Composer
Al Cohn Arranger
Lil Armstrong Composer
James Austin Producer, Package Concept, Package Development
Harry Barris Composer
Hugh Brown Art Direction
Napoleon Brown Composer
Sonny Burke Composer
Ozzie Cadena Composer
Bennie Hank Crawford Composer
Walter Donaldson Composer
Tom Dowd Engineer
Duke Ellington Composer
Ernie Wilkins Arranger
Ahmet Ertegun Composer, Producer, Liner Notes, Audio Production
Nesuhi Ertegun Producer
Ira Gershwin Composer
Henry Glover Composer
Harry Lookofsky Director
Nat Hentoff Liner Notes
Dan Hersch Mastering
Bill Inglot Mastering
Isham Jones Composer
Gus Kahn Composer
Gary Kramer Liner Notes
Jeff Lyons Art Direction
Johnny Mercer Composer
Billy Moll Composer
Charles Morris Composer
David "Fathead" Newman Arranger, Composer
Doc Pomus Composer
Don Raye Composer
Fred Rose Composer
Bill Schwartau Engineer
Zenas Sears Producer, Liner Notes
Jesse Stone Arranger, Composer
Billy Taylor Liner Notes
Roy Turk Composer
Paul Francis Webster Composer
Jerry Wexler Producer, Liner Notes
David Ritz Liner Notes
Lew Herman Composer
Sam M. Lewis Composer
Ren Grevatt Liner Notes
Hal Hopper Composer
Lowman Pauling Composer
Bill Randle Liner Notes
Eddie Jones Composer
Harry Brooks Composer
Harold Chapman Engineer
Reggie Collins Discographical Annotation
Alberto Dominguez Composer
Joe Young Composer
Ann Ronell Composer
Tom Adair Composer
Harry Akst Composer
Don George Composer
Ernie Burnett Composer
Grant Clarke Composer
Gordon Clifford Composer
Walter Hirsch Composer
Murray Mencher Composer
Fleecie Moore Composer
George Norton Composer
Einar A. Swan Composer
Renald Richard Composer
Sid Robins Composer
Sam Sweet Composer
Sam Theard Composer
Memphis Curtis Composer
Mabel Wayne Composer
Traditional Composer
Joe Greene Composer
Charles E. Calhoun Composer
Sophia T. Fields Producer
Bud Allen Composer
Ahmet Nugetre Composer
Earl Singers Brown Engineer
Kenneth Lee Karpe Liner Notes
Ivan Miles Engineer
Guy Remark Liner Notes
Ricci Harper Composer
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