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Ray Charles Sings for America
     

Ray Charles Sings for America

by Ray Charles
 
It takes a national icon like Ray Charles to truly express his deep feelings for his country without cant or pretense. Culled from older albums that the “Genius of Soul” has produced over the past few decades, Sings for America contains some glorious music that arrives right on time for a nation searching for purpose and renewal. Even when a song has no

Overview

It takes a national icon like Ray Charles to truly express his deep feelings for his country without cant or pretense. Culled from older albums that the “Genius of Soul” has produced over the past few decades, Sings for America contains some glorious music that arrives right on time for a nation searching for purpose and renewal. Even when a song has no specific association with America -- say “Let It Be,” or “Imagine” -- in the context of this 9/11 tribute, each becomes imbued with a healing power that only a master vocalist like Charles can impart. While some songs sing the praises of our country with heartfelt pride, others criticize or question the status quo with equal passion. Charles may love the U.S., but he’s never turned away from its darker side. Such balance gives this collection even greater power. Whether lighthearted (“New York’s My Home,” “Take Me Home Country Roads”) or intently serious (“Heaven Help Us All,” “Abraham, Martin and John”), the convincing quality of each performance has its source in one unalterable fact: Charles’s interpretation comes directly from the heart.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
The theme of this collection is, in large part, songs of patriotism, about specific American places, or testaments to the American spirit. Still, you do get the sense that the concept's rather vague, or at least has been applied pretty liberally in order to snag 20 songs that could fill up a collection to appeal to the national mood at the time of its release (about a year after September 2001). "Let It Be" and "Imagine," for instance, are classic songs, but (even leaving aside that they were written by Englishmen) how exactly do they embody the American character? Likewise, "That Lucky Old Sun" and "Over the Rainbow" might be venerated American songs, but they doesn't plug into a specifically American viewpoint as readily as, for instance, "New York's My Home" or even his cover of "Abraham, Martin and John." It's better to treat this as something of a ride through Ray Charles' take on Americana, which goes through country music, popular standards, gospel, covers of rock hits, and not a whole lot of the hard-driving soul for which he's most esteemed. It's an erratic set, spanning the early '60s to the inevitable 2001-2002 re-recording of "God Bless America," featuring Slash and Billy Preston, with six of the songs (including the equally inevitable "America the Beautiful") hailing from his 1972 album A Message From the People. Some of it's excellent, like "New York's My Home," the cover of Percy Mayfield's "The Danger Zone," and "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny"; some of it's fair; and the 1970s material, which comprises the bulk of the disc, too often tends toward the overly sentimental in both song selection and production.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/03/2002
Label:
Rhino
UPC:
0081227609825
catalogNumber:
76098

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ray Charles   Primary Artist,Piano,Vocals
Billy Preston   Organ
Tom Fowler   Bass
Rosemary Butler   Vocals
Irvin "Magic" Kramer   Acoustic Guitar
Jimmy Powers   Harmonica
Katrina Harper   Vocals
Sharynlee   Vocals
Craig Eastman   Fiddle

Technical Credits

Bobby Bare   Composer
Ray Charles   Arranger,Producer,Liner Notes,Adaptation
John Denver   Composer
Quincy Jones   Arranger,Producer
Ralph Burns   Arranger,Producer,Engineer
Mike Post   Arranger,Producer
Paul Breslin   Arranger,Producer
Bill Danoff   Composer
Sid Feller   Arranger,Producer
Steve Forward   Arranger,Producer
Irvin "Magic" Kramer   Engineer
Marty Paich   Arranger,Producer
David McLees   Concept
Taffy Nivert   Composer
Jean-Pierre Grosz   Arranger,Producer
Terry Howard   Arranger,Producer,Engineer
Richard Foos   Concept
Maria Villar   Art Direction
Reggie Collins   Annotation
Tim Scanlin   Liner Note Coordination
Ken Desantis   Engineer
Bill Kaylor   Engineer
Boyce Hawkins   Composer
James Weldon Johnson   Composer

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