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Stamp of Genius: New Ray Charles Compilation Coming to the Post Office (and Beyond)

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Ray Charles ForeverTomorrow sees the release of a new compilation of tunes by the late, great Ray Charles, to commemorate his latest posthumous achievement: a stamp from the United States Postal Service.

Ray Charles Forever is far from your typical hits-packed compilation; the biggest “hits” of note are Charles’ takes on “America the Beautiful” and Leon Russell’s “A Song for You,” for which Ray won a Grammy for Best R&B Male Vocal Performance in 1993. The songs on display run the gamut of his entire discography and primarily showcase the singer/pianist as an interpreter of popular, soulful songs, from 1959’s swinging The Genius of Ray Charles for Atlantic (a take on Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer’s “Come Rain or Come Shine”) to an uplifting 2002 cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Tracks from the Impulse and ABC years are present – even a track apiece from Come Live with Me, released on Charles’ own Crossover label in 1974, and Concord’s Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters (2010), make appearances here.


And, of course, it wouldn’t be a compilation without some vault material. In this case, there’s one “new” track – a cover of George and Ira Gershwin’s “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” – as well as a 20-minute DVD of rare live footage and interviews, mostly from the 1980s and 1990s. (There’s technically a second bonus track – Ray’s charting 1969 version of Rodgers and Hart’s “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” – if you brave the long lines and pick up a copy at your local postal branch.)

Ray Charles Forever is available tomorrow, September 24, and today at your local USPS branch. Amazon listing are after the jump, along with the full track list!

Ray Charles Forever (Concord, 2013)

Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Disc 1: CD

  1. A Song for You
  2. I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town
  3. Ring of Fire
  4. Come Rain or Come Shine
  5. They Can’t Take That Away from Me *
  6. Till There Was You
  7. Isn’t It Wonderful
  8. None of Us Are Free
  9. Imagine
  10. If I Could
  11. So Help Me God
  12. America the Beautiful
  13. I Didn’t Know What Time It Was (USPS-only bonus track)

Disc 2: DVD

  1. Imagine (Live at The Goodwill Games, 1998)
  2. They Can’t Take That Away from Me (Earth Day Concert, NHK, Tokyo – 1992)
  3. A Song for You (Live at The North Sea Jazz Fest, 1997)
  4. Interviews (from Live in London (BBC, 1986) and Norman Seeff’s The Session Project (1985))

Tracks 1, 8 and 10-11 from My World (Warner Bros. 26735, 1993)
Track 2 from Genius + Soul = Jazz (Impulse 2, 1961)
Track 3 from Love Country Style (ABC/Tangerine 707, 1971)
Track 4 from The Genius of Ray Charles (Atlantic 1312, 1959)
Track 6 from Come Live with Me (Crossover 9000, 1974)
Track 7 from Rare Genius (Concord 32196-25, 2010)
Track 9 from Ray Charles Sings for America (Rhino 605748, 2002)
Track 12 from A Message from the People (ABC/Tangerine 755, 1972)
Track 13 from I’m All Yours Baby (ABC/Tangerine 675, 1969)

Written by Mike Duquette

September 23, 2013 at 10:10

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