Ray Charles Genius Loves Company
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- Released: August 31, 2004
- Originally Released: 2004
- Label: Concord Records
Rolling Stone - p.141Included in Rolling Stone's Top 50 Records Of 2004 - "A bittersweet duets record....[The album] features the veteran soul innovator crooning sweetly on several decades of standards..."
Down Beat - p.663 stars out of 5 - "[G]entle pacing helps the encounters feel unforced and palpably intimate..."
Living Blues - pp.48-50"Charles himself is in fine, typically elastic voice throughout."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1164 stars out of 5 - "Thankfully, nobody disappoints."
- $1.29 on iTunes1.Here We Go Again - (featuring Norah Jones)
- $1.29 on iTunes2.Sweet Potato Pie - (featuring James Taylor)
- $1.29 on iTunes3.You Don't Know Me - (featuring Diana Krall)
- $1.29 on iTunes4.Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word - (featuring Elton John)
- $1.29 on iTunes5.Fever - (featuring Natalie Cole)
- $1.29 on iTunes6.Do I Ever Cross Your Mind? - (featuring Bonnie Raitt)
- $1.29 on iTunes7.It Was A Very Good Year - (featuring Willie Nelson)
- $1.29 on iTunes8.Hey Girl - (featuring Michael McDonald)
- $1.29 on iTunes9.Sinner's Prayer - (featuring B.B. King)
- $1.29 on iTunes10.Heaven Help Us All - (featuring Gladys Knight)
- $1.29 on iTunes11.Over The Rainbow - (featuring Johnny Mathis)
- $1.29 on iTunes12.Crazy Love - (live, featuring Van Morrison)
Song previews provided courtesy of iTunes
Personnel: Ray Charles (piano, keyboards); Ray Charles (vocals); B.B. King, Willie Nelson (vocals, guitar); Bonnie Raitt (vocals, slide guitar); Norah Jones (vocals, piano); Michael McDonald (vocals, keyboards); Diana Krall, Elton John, Fonzi Thornton, James Taylor , Johnny Mathis, Tawatha Agee, Van Morrison, Natalie Cole, Gladys Knight, Vaneese Thomas (vocals); Michael Hart Thompson , Irvin "Magic" Kramer, Irv Kramer (guitar); Elenore Choate (harp); David Stenske (violin, viola); Dynell Weber, Jennifer Munday, Brian Benning, Jennifer Walton, Irina Voloshina, Songa Lee, Anatoly Rosinsky, Johana Krejci, Todor Pelev, Robert Matsuda, Ken Yerke, Ronald Folsom, Jaroslav Kettner, Paul Manaster, Tricia Lee, Leslie Brown Katz, Kathleen Robertson , Amy Wickman Guerra, David Kilbride, Edith Markman, Leslie Brown, Gerry Hilera, Edmund Stein, Franklyn D'Antonio, Zheng Wang, Michele Richards, Dennis Molchan, Horia Moroaica, Xiao Niu He, Alwyn Wright, Alan Ellsworth, Sai Ly Acosta, Alicia Engley, Igor Pandurski, North Wood, Nick Grant, Vladimir Polimatidi, Charles Everett, Joel Derouin, Julie Rogers, Kirstin Fife, Raymond Kobler, Nancy Roth, Margaret Wooten, Daphne Chen, Armen Garabedian, Michael Markman, Berj Garabedian, Ronald Clark, Reginald Clews (violin); Shawn Mann, Carolyn Riley, Raymond Tischer, Andrew Picken, Suzanna Giordono, Edward Persi, John Acevedo, Maria Newman, Dave Walther , Briana Bandy, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Samuel Formicola, Shanti Randall, Robert Berg (viola); Trevor Handy, Rudy Stein, Timothy Landauer, Steve Richarads, Martha Lippi, Yang-Qin Zhao, Kevan Torfeh, John Acosta , Suzie Katayama, Larry Corbett, Armen Ksadjikian, John Krovoza, Steve Richards , Stefanie Fife (cello); Greg Huckins, Steve Kujala (flute); Charles Boito, Donald Markese (clarinet); Joseph Stone (oboe, English horn); Leanne Becknell (oboe); John Mitchell , David Riddles (bassoon); Brandon Fields (saxophone, baritone saxophone); Bob Shepard, Rev. Dave Boruff, Tom Saviano (saxophone); Charles Pillow, Martin Winning (tenor saxophone); Matt Holland, Gary Grant, Kenny Scharf, Jeff Kievit, Larry Hall , Rick Baptist, Walt Fowler , Wayne Bergeron, Dennis Farias, Tony Kadleck, Charlie Davis (trumpet); Suzette Moriarty, Phillip Yao , Patricia Skye, Joe Meyer , Richard Todd , Kurt Snyder (French horn); Charlie Morillas, Alexander Isles, Robert Sanders, Andy Martin , Bob McChesney, Bruce Fowler (trombone); Clarence McDonald (piano); Billy Preston (Hammond b-3 organ); Trey Henry (double bass, bass guitar); Karl Vincent, Dave Stone , Ken Wild, Richard Shaw , Tim Christensen (double bass); David Hayes, Abraham Laboriel, Sr. , Tom Fowler (bass guitar); Raymond Brinker, John "4 Daddman" Robinson (drums); Scott Higgins (timpani); Wally Snow, Mark Converse (percussion); Danny Jacob, George Marinelli, Jeff Mironov, Michael Landau, Michael Thompson , George Doering, Charles Fearing (guitar); Randy Waldman (piano, keyboards); Alan Pasqua (piano); Michael Bearden (keyboards); James Gadson, Jim Keltner, Ray Brinker, Shawn Pelton (drums); Bashiri Johnson (percussion).
Audio Mixers: Al Schmidt; Al Schmitt.
Liner Note Authors: John Burk; David R. Legry.
Recording information: Broadway Ballroom, Marriott Marquis Hotel, New York, NY (06/12/2003-03/??/2004); Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA (06/12/2003-03/??/2004); Eastwood Scoring Stage, Warner Brothers Studios, Burban (06/12/2003-03/??/2004); Henson Studios (06/12/2003-03/??/2004); Ocean Way Studios, Hollywood, CA (06/12/2003-03/??/2004); Right Track Recordings, New York, NY (06/12/2003-03/??/2004); RPM International Studio, Los Angeles, CA (06/12/2003-03/??/2004); Songwriter's Hall Of Fame Awards, In The Broadway Ballr (06/12/2003-03/??/2004); The Eastwood Scoring Stage, Warner Brothers Studios, Bu (06/12/2003-03/??/2004); the Record Plant, Hollywood, CA (06/12/2003-03/??/2004).
Authors: Ray Charles; Norah Jones; Diana Krall; Elton John; Natalie Cole; Bonnie Raitt; Willie Nelson; Michael McDonald ; B.B. King; Gladys Knight; Van Morrison; James Taylor; James "J.T." Taylor ; Johnny "Country" Mathis.
Photographers: George Marinelli; Dennis Shirley; Norman Seeff; Vitaliano Napolitano; John Jennings.
Arrangers: Randy Waldman; Clarence McDonald; David Blumberg; Victor Vanacore.
Though Ray Charles, one of the greatest singers of the 20th century, was never in need of vocal assistance, he was no stranger to duets either (one of his finest records is a duet album with Betty Carter). For as much of a musical giant as he was, Brother Ray knew how to share the spotlight, as evidenced by GENIUS LOVES COMPANY, his final project before his 2004 passing. In keeping with the eclectic nature of Charles's artistry, he partners with a wide assortment of performers here.
Charles is joined by Elton John on a soulful exploration of the latter's "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word," and sidles up next to Willie Nelson for a haunting version of the Frank Sinatra hit "It Was a Very Good Year," made all the more poignant in retrospect by its posthumous nature. Of course, it's not all bittersweet melancholy; Charles teams with Van Morrison for a jubilant soul/gospel reading of Van's MOONDANCE tune "Crazy Love," and the duet with James Taylor on the upbeat "Sweet Potato Pie" is probably the sassiest, perkiest thing in which Taylor's ever been involved. GENIUS LOVES COMPANY is a swan song that fittingly finds the titular genius surrounded by friends from varied musical worlds, all of whom he's touched with his rare gift.
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