I Thought I Knew Ray
But this collection of his early songs shows the moment where “The Genius” decided to crossover multiple worlds: gospel, jazz, and blues to make the new sound of soul.
Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #53/100
I’ve been listening to Ray Charles forever. I won music trivia buzz-in at a bar for his version of America the Beautiful with it only playing for one second. I know this man, or so I thought. The CDs of Ray Charles I owned were geared to his career post 1960, where he did covers of Hank Williams or had people writing him material that he performed in his style.
This Atlantic Rhythm and Blues collection shows where he ironed out what that style — he was the main writer and producer of this material. These songs are gritty, southern and full of beautiful textures combining different styles of music into a whole new genre; when you listen to this album, you get to listen to the birth of soul.