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King of Soul: Classic Hits
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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Ray Charles (vocals, piano); The Raelettes (vocals); David "Fathead" Newman (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone); Bennie Hank Crawford (alto saxophone, baritone saxophone); Joe Bridgewater, Marcus Belgrave (trumpet); Connie Kay (drums).
  • Liner Note Author: Will Brash.
  • Recording information: Altanta, GA (04/23/1955); Miami, FL (04/23/1955); New Orleans (04/23/1955); New York (04/23/1955); Altanta, GA (05/17/1953-06/26/1959); Miami, FL (05/17/1953-06/26/1959); New Orleans (05/17/1953-06/26/1959); New York (05/17/1953-06/26/1959); Altanta, GA (11/18/1954-05/28/1959); Miami, FL (11/18/1954-05/28/1959); New Orleans (11/18/1954-05/28/1959); New York (11/18/1954-05/28/1959); Altanta, GA (12/04/1953); Miami, FL (12/04/1953); New Orleans (12/04/1953); New York (12/04/1953).
  • Ray Charles' brilliant blend of gospel, blues, R&B, and jazz made him the first true soul singer in the 1950s, setting the table for deep Southern soul and Motown, and by extension, funk, disco, and so much more, and he should be clearly seen as one of the most important musical figures of the 20th century. All of those styles fall together for Charles in this wonderful set, which collects all of his charting Billboard hits released between 1953 and 1959 -- it's all one, whether Charles is setting off a revolution with the full original five-minute version of "What'd I Say," sounding endlessly soulful on "Drown in My Own Tears," fronting a big band on "Let the Good Times Roll," or backed by a full orchestra on "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Cryin'." It's soul. It's Ray Charles. It's essential. ~ Steve Leggett
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