CD+DVD Reviews

Ray Charles – Forever – Concord Records

A fine collection of great Ray Charles hit tracks plus a 20-minute video of performance highlights.

Published on November 16, 2013

Ray Charles – Forever – Concord Records

Ray Charles – Forever [TrackList follows] – Concord Records CRE-34827-OO (DVD, 20 min. + CD, 47 min.) *****:

This double album was released in cooperation with the U.S. Post Office, which has also issued a Ray Charles postage stamp with exactly the same image of Charles as on this disc. (Part of their Music Icons Forever series.) The DVD is 4:3 color and includes clips from various Charles performances, including rare live performances tied in with the project, and some interview footage with Charles. The CD contains a dozen tracks that were originally released from 1961 to 2010, and includes one track (“They Can’t Take That Away from Me”) that was previously unreleased. There is also a booklet with notes, photos and special material.

The President of the Ray Charles Foundation had access to not only all of his recordings but also previously unissued ones and the videos. So he put together a really fine cross-section of the wide range of genres Ray Charles was a master of.  The only genre that is soft-pedaled is country music (which is strangely the only one I can stand when Charles does them). The President said that he selected for this momentous occasion songs that exemplify the forever quality of his performances. Hence the album title.

Charles himself said “I just call myself a singer that can sing the blues, a singer that can sing jazz, a singer that knows how to sing country music, but in my own way.”

During his 58-year career, Charles played over 10,000 concerts and starred on over 100 record albums. He received the Lifetime achievement and President’s Merit Award, and was one of the original inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

TrackList – 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. Til 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

—John Henry

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