Ray Charles Sings for America

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Futterman
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Futterman
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.
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/3/2002
  • Label: Rhino
  • UPC: 081227609825
  • Catalog Number: 76098

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
Ray Charles Arranger, Producer, Liner Notes, Adaptation
Quincy Jones Arranger, Producer
Ralph Burns Arranger, Producer, Engineer
Mike Post Arranger, Producer
Paul Breslin Arranger, Producer
Sid Feller Arranger, Producer
Steve Forward Arranger, Producer
Irvin (Magic) Kramer Engineer
Marty Paich Arranger, Producer
David McLees Concept
Doug Sax Mastering, Remastering
Jean-Pierre Grosz Arranger, Producer
Terry Howard Arranger, Producer, Engineer, Mastering
Richard Foos Concept
Maria Villar Art Direction
Reggie Collins Annotation
Robert Hadley Mastering
Tim Scanlin Liner Note Coordination
Beasley Smith Composer
Ken Desantis Engineer
Bill Kaylor Engineer
James Weldon Johnson Composer
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