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Willow

Title - 'Genius! - The Ultimate Ray Charles Collection'
Artist - Ray Charles

There honestly has been so much going on with R&B right now with a lot of younger artists, that we honestly do forget the brightened roots of traditional R&B. That sadly is the case with classic artists like the late Ray Charles. It sadly has been 5 years since Ray Charles tragic passing, but his music definitely has brought in new lights thanks to his final original album Genius Loves Company, and the film Ray with Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx. Yet, with all the great moments in Soul, Ray Charles is always recognized as a true and blue pioneer with the standards of soul. Now, a new hits collection showcases why Ray Charles was nicknamed with the meaning of Genius.

'Genius! The Ultimate Ray Charles Collection' is a reflection of what had made Ray Charles so classic. While the collection as a whole is strong, at reflecting his biggest hits of the 50's and 60's, there honestly was a big surprise that Concord, the label that released Genius Loves Company, would showcase the album. The collection of songs have been remastered very well, and include a lot of his genuine standards from Hit The Road Jack!, the elegant and somber Georgia On My Mind, as well What I'd Say, and Un-Chain My Heart, which was covered brilliantly later by Joe Cocker.

While the collection as a whole is a great re-introduction for Ray Charles, I sadly was hoping there would be more from Ray's later years in the 80's and with Genius Loves Company here, with You Don't Know Me collaborating with Diana Krall, and Baby Grand, his 1986 duet with Billy Joel. It does surprise me also that especially something from Genius Loves Company could've been here, considering that Concord which released the album should've had something from that album on this compilation.

Nevertheless, if you have not yet owned a Ray Charles record, or heard any of his classic songs, than Genius! The Ultimate Ray Charles Collection is a great starter for your music library. I really love his classic gems that helped shape the essence of what R&B is like today. I think it is a nevertheless a very strong album that is sure to tell you that Georgia will always be on your mind, and that you heart will never be un-chained to the soul of life that Ray Charles had brought to the music industry. [MK]

www.myspace.com/raycharleslegacy





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