Ray Charles, Country and Western Meets Rhythm and Blues (1965)
I love Ray Charles and my first exposure to him, albums-wise, was a cheap compilation of odds’n’sods – a lot of it instrumental, live tracks with Ray on the sax – hey, I liked it but it was a while before I got the real real deal! In my final year of high school I got to see Ray Charles play – it was amazing. It was written up after as being less than a full gig – all because he didn’t do an encore. People also made jokes about him not being able to see his way back to the stage. Anyway, after that show – and time with better compilations – I started getting through the albums; those great, great albums: The Genius After Hours and Modern Sounds In Country and Western Music – that’s a great one-two right there. I like this one too. And quite a few others. But I like how Ray did country – and what he did for country. And what it did for him. Country and Western sure does meet Rhythm and Blues here. And it’s wonderful. Different story on the hill with the Central Hawke’s Bay farmers and other drunkards way back in 1994 though. Rhythm and Blues met Country and Bogan that night. “Get back out on stage you blind, black cunt!” I distinctly remember one idiot yelling. What could be worse than that? Answer: all the people around him cheering. I almost got into a fight trying to tell these alleged grown-ups they were embarrassing. Received a “fuck up!” for my troubles. You stay classy, Hawke’s Bay. What a taint. Any time I listen to Ray Charles I (have to) think of that.
Sample Track: Blue Moon Of Kentucky
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