|Genius Loves Company
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The fact that Genius Loves Company will be Ray Charles's final new album inspires an unavoidable blue feeling. But it's also a happy reminder that the man spent the last months of his life at work doing what he loved. The overall effect of these dozen duets is autumnal and smooth. Brother Ray is on point and cruising here. Fine moments abound--you can hear his delight even in the rather stiff company of Diana Krall and Natalie Cole. His voice sounds a bit frayed by ill health at times, but it also allows for great performances like the slyness behind the ache in his version of the old soul hit "Hey Girl" with Michael McDonald and a grand "Crazy Love" with Van Morrison. Potently, he and Gladys Knight remind us of the continued timeliness of Stevie Wonder's "Heaven Help Us All." Its best moments make Company one more essential purchase for Ray Charles fans. --Rickey Wright
DVD is NTSC format, region code 2
DVD is NTSC format, region code 2
I LOVE RAY CHARLES AND WAS EXCITED ABOUT THE DUETS, HOWEVER, I WAS DISAPPOINTED IN THE QUALITY OF SOME OF THE SONGS. RAY CHARLES VOICE WAS WEAK. I REALIZE HOW OLD HE WAS WHEN HE MADE THIS CD AND THAT PLAYED A PART IN IT, IT IS JUST SAD THAT THEY COULDN'T HAVE MADE A CD SOONER WHEN HIS VOICE WAS STRONGER. HAVING SAID THAT, SOME OF THE SONGS ARE STILL VERY GOOD SUCH AS THE ONE WITH ELTON JOHN AND SOME OF THE MORE BLUES SONGS....more info
- Charles Changed Me
This CD is absolutely phoenomenal. I didn't realize how much of a Ray Charles fan I was until I saw the movie and heard so many songs I already knew. Getting the CD was a must. Mr. Charles certainly opened my eyes to a whole new genre. Don't wait. Buy it NOW!...more info
- Genius Loves Money
This is the worst thrown together compilation of artists I've ever heard. Ray's vocals are terrible on this, and the collaboration with other artists seemed to be more about putting thir names on the outside of the album than actually making good music....more info
- Amazing chemistry between Ray and whomever he sings with...
Ray left us with a fantastic CD to remember him by. There are 12 songs and I thoroughly enjoyed 11 of them. Probably the best song here is the first one, "Here We Go Again" with Norah Jones. This baby just oozes with soul and Ms. Jones is mature beyond her years. A close second is Ray's duet with Gladys Knight on the gospel classic "Heaven Help Us All" with a huge choir and orchestra. To round out my top three is his duet with Van Morrison on the live "Crazy Love". I think that Ray brings the best out of Morrison.
The rest of this CD is near perfect as well. Some fabulous chart arrangements from Victor Vanacore on "Hey Girl" with Michael McDonald, "Somewhere over the Rainbow" with Johnny Mathis and "It Was a Very Good Year" with an old sounding Willie Nelson. Too bad `Ol Blue Eyes wasn't still around to sing it the way it was meant to be but the strings here sounded spectacular. Ray and Diana Krall nicely cover the Eddy Arnold classic "You Don't Know Me" and a playful Natalie Cole has some strong chemistry with Ray on "Fever". Then there's a duet with Bonnie Raitt playing some nasty slide at the beginning of "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind?" and what a treat to have Ray on piano with BB King playing Lucille on "Sinner's Prayer".
The last song Ray ever recorded was his duet of "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" with Elton John. Nicely done but a bit disconcerting having two men singing a romantic duet together, even if one of them is Elton. The only weak track here is his duet of "Sweet Potato Pie" with James Taylor. To my ears, Ray sounds more like Randy Newman on this track and is there anybody with less soul than JT? But 11 great songs out of 12 is pretty damn good for a 70 year old man struggling with cancer.
So a superb song selection, nicely written liner notes, Billy Preston on the Hammond B3 throughout most of this CD and amazing chemistry between Ray and whomever he sings with makes for a fabulous swan song to a glorious and prolific career.
truely his best recording every song is a hit, and there is a song for everyone.if you never listened to Ray before, do yourself a favor and listen to this one. It's a shame but to me his last was his best....more info
- What a disappointment!
Wish I'd saved my money. It was so disappointing to listen to wonderful guest singers married up with inappropriate songs. This was strictly a money-making proposition....more info
- The BEST of Ray Charles yet!
I LOVE this CD! Ray Charles IS a Genius....
the duets are amazing. My favorite by far is Sweet Potato Pie the with James Taylor. Although...the duet with Nora Jones, is a VERY close second. ALL of the artist's that performed are wonderful...and I highly recommend this CD to everyone!...more info
- gift of music
I receive this gift and really enjoyed it. Have purchased it to send to others...more info
- His worst!
I have been an avid fan of Ray's for over 45 years and this is my least favorite album. Some of the duets are unlistenable. I archived 4 tracks to a mix CD and tossed this thing somewhere -- I don't know where or care....more info
- Audio CD Purchase
product received was as advertised, and in great condition. Would buy from this vendor again....more info
- RAY'S IDEA AND PRODUCER JOHN BURK BRINGING IT TO REALITY ENDED UP BEING RAY'S SWAN SONG ALBUM EARNING HIM 14 GRAMMY AWARDS!!!
Ray's vocals are very tiny and fraile, but one must remember the man was 74 years old! There are no let-me-get-on-the phone-and-play this-for-somebody-to-hear songs to be found here. "Here We Go Again" with Norah Jones was the cut that won several of the Grammy Awards...How we'll never know (Play this up against the 'Original' version from 1967, and you tell me which one sounds the best???). There was a total of 14 (Fourteen) Grammy Awards won for this album! I really think this was the Grammy Voters, and the everybody else simply saying THANK YOU RAY CHARLES FOR GIVING US OVER 50 YEARS OF HISTORY MAKING RECORDINGS!
Album highlights: "Hey Girl" with Michael McDonald, "Over The Rainbow" with Johnny Mathis which was played during the parting view of Ray's body during his televised Homegoing Service...That should tell you how great this song is!, and "Crazy Love" with Van Morrison. This was a nice way
to a long career in this business we call music. Now the story doesn't end here...Rhino/Atlantic rush-released an album of duets recorded in 1997-1998 entitled "Genuis And Friends" which is a better album, but because of Rhino trying to cash in on "Genius Loves Company" it was met with so-so reviews, lackluster sales and fair Airplay, but worth having in your collection. In 2005 there was a Box Set that covered his complete Atlantic Records recordings (1952-1959). There wasn't a whole lot of surprises because when Ray signed with ABC Records in late 1959 Atlantic was grabbing almost anything in vaults and releasing Albums and Singles, so there are no major surprises on the Box set. When I save up enough $$$, I'll be buying a copy (And reviewing it...Stay tuned!).
In late 1959 Ray signed with ABC Records who gave him complete control of his recordings. Whatever idea he (Ray) would come up with they (ABC) would give him the gren light, so from the early years (1959 to 1964) they was several Singles that never made it to Albums (Not that they were bad, they just simply were not include for Album release). They are at least 12 from this period that have yet to see the light on Compact Disc! And another 12 or more from 1965 to 1973. In 1965 Ray opened up his R.P.M. Studio and the core of his recordings took place there up until his death in June 0f 2004. Ray would remain with ABC Records for a total of 14 years! So you can imagine how many Unreleased recordings are sitting in the vaults??? And that's just from the ABC years (1959 to 1973).
In 1974 Ray formed Crossover Records and released several albums independent. Did a deal with Atlantic Records...Again through his Crossover Records imprint. So in short there is a wealth of Unreleased recordings! Hopefully SOMEBODY is gonna make us happy one day SOON...The only thing we can do now is hope.
I guess after seeing the movie "Ray" I expected better. I also enjoy all the duet partners on this album, but just not together. I wondered if this was a "mix" and not an original recording. Some of it sounded "off"...more info
- True Beauty, Pure Genius!
Here written are many magnificent Kudos for this CD and I would just like to add a few comments from the casual listener who has always enjoyed Ray Charles from the living room armchair with much awe and many goose-bumps. As the final work of this great artist whose name is synonymous with greatness, I am hard pressed to find a single flaw in this collection. On many occasions I have popped this CD into the home or car player and just let it run its course as many as two or three times without changing it out. The recordings have a dynamic sound that fills your body and soul with music of the spheres, whether it's orchestra, choir, or bald-faced blues guitars and jazzed up Pie-Anna's. Every supple nuance and phrase of every note is captured rich and pure by the producers and engineers, and Ray's voice and those of his guests have never sounded more real, more up close and personal and standing in your living room. Some folks say digital doesn't sound "real". Well the staff at HEAR Music and Phil Ramone and John Burk in particular have made sure this experience is as real as it gets. I give Production on this CD album a whopping "10" for perfection!
And now to the music:
Of particular note I'd like to call out Here We Go Again with Norah Jones, Sinner's Prayer with BB King and Heaven Help Us All with Gladys Knight. On all three tracks, Billy Preston fills in every gap and wash with that glorious Hammond B3, most especially Here We Go Again where Ray calls on him for a standout solo piece. The holy keyboard trinity of Ray, Norah, and Billy, interchanging their delights on this track is well worth the price of CD alone. It welcomes you into the program, slaps you in the face with loving licks, and sets you down for an evening of joyful entertainment. On Sinner's Prayer, Ray reminds us once again that he could blues- and jazz-jam on the piano like no one else. To the very end, Ray never lost his touch and his piano answers every blues-guitar lick that BB can dish out, and answers it with the polish and splayed-finger amazement that only Ray was capable of. Lastly, if it isn't enough having the TRUE pop diva herself, Gladys Knight, exchanging prayers with Ray Charles, on a disc; if that isn't enough for you, glory and bask in the glow of Gladys' tremendous gospel choir, accented at every step with the Reverend Billy Preston giving us what God Gave him! Ray and Billy are together right now tickling the keys in eternity and awaiting the Glory Band of this generation.
Those three were my "Holy" tracks but someone else might revel in the delight of James Taylor and Ray delivering up JT's Sweet Potato Pie with funked up brass and lead guitar jabs back and forth by Ray's amazing band. Or you might just want to bathe in Diana Krall's sultry You Don't Know Me, I wonder if Ray got the miracle of sight on that one! Ray and Elton John exchange piano leads and stanzas on Elton's immortal Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word, but when Ray and Natalie Cole get the Fever, it's blistering!
My favorite track after the three I mentioned above initially is Do I Ever Cross Your Mind with Bonnie Raitt. Bonnie's slide and Ray's piano work together to form a pure piece of art that captures the heart and soul of both artists. While Ray and Diana found vocal compatibility and sensuality on You Don't Know Me, Ray and Bonnie get down and dirty instrumentally on this track, and Bonnie gets downright "wicked" (read the liner notes folks) sliding through Ray's accompaniment.
If you are hard core Ray Charles fan you won't be reading this, but if you are a casual fan, or even a sometimes fan, take note: as a whole product, this is one of the best "albums" Ray ever made and he has made tons.
This is not your usual run of the mill obligatory get some stars together with a big name and slop the hogs for some cash "duets" album (like quite a few I can name). This album was made with loving care, at the invitation of Ray himself with the artists he cared about and deeply wanted to collaborate with. This project was close to his heart and was not a slick-product for the marketing monkeys. So if you are holding off because you have had enough of those "Duets" titled CD's and are sick of picking out two or three winners from the dozen or more songs proffered, then hold off no more. Just look at the artists listed, if they are to your liking, you will get nothing but their best performances here. If you love Ray, but are iffy on the partners involved, let me tell you, they were great with Mr. Charles, each and every one of them. The CD runs the gamut from soft and sentimental orchestral Ray (Johnny Mathis and Willie Nelson) to finger-snapping pop-jazz Ray (JT and Natalie Cole) to Motown Ray (Michael McDonald) to Smooth Ray (Norah, Diana, Van Morrison) to signature blues Ray (BB King, Bonnie) and gospel Ray (Gladys) and tearful Ray (Elton). If variety is the spice of your life and you like excellently produced and recorded music, Genius Loves Company will be your cup of tea. It is pure Genius!
- Whad I say
I first saw Ray Charles in 1970 in NYC and again in 2001 or 2 in Baltimore. The first stereo songs I heard, wearing headphones, stoned, in 1967, were Ray. This album ain't Ray. Ray don't need no back-up or duos or Norah come latelys messing up his rhythm. All he needs is the piano and the Rayettes.
This album was more painful than Aretha singing opera. And Willie Nelson, go back to Lubbock or Luchenbach because "That was a Very Bad Song."
Ray, RIP, brother......more info
- Take this Genius with you
Good music, great talent. Norah Jones, James Taylor, B.B. King! with past and current stars this CD is totally enjoyable. Willie Nelson's set is my favorite and I can't forget to mention Diana Krall....more info
- This music I can't listen to
This man is really genius!
Unfortunately, I can't listen to his masterpieces without headache....more info
- Easy Listening with Ray
This last Ray Charles CD has many tunes that are easy to listen to especially while in your car on the way to work. They'll calm you and you can sing along. Don't expect it to be the typical Ray Charles music, but I think he was aiming at something new like Frank Sinatra's "Duets". Here he sings with various other popular and diverse artists such as Elton John, Natalie Cole, James Taylor, Diana Krall, Bonnie Raittt and Norah Jones. The only song I'm not crazy about is the one with Willie Nelson called "It Was A Very Good Year"....more info
- AWESOME musical experience
if you even remotely like ray charles - you will love love love this mix of him singing with an array of other artists from multiple eras and musical styles. this is more than a joy to listen to over and over....more info
- I thought it said genious loves company...not what a fool!!!
I bought this CD all excited hoping to hear a duet with Ray Charles and Hillary Duff, Lindsay Lohan, Spice Girls, Hanson, and the legendary Aqua. I was SOOOOOO disappointed because this ray charles guy didn't sing pop music first of all....ugh.....and then he did duets with worthless people. I honestly think that a duet with Ray Charles and Hillary Duff would sell millions of records PERIOD! So to warn you before you buy this CD, it may look like your typical pop album, but it's not...bummer!...more info
Ray Charles is without a doubt the greatest popular piano player of all time. This compilation of duets further emphasizes that he is most assuredly the man....more info
- A perfect name for this CD
I love Ray Charles. He has spoken to millions over the last few years and his honoray cd is no different.
He has a soul about him that reminds me of several people.
It reminds me of Billie Holiday. It reminds me of Eva Cassidy. It even reminds me of Melody Gardot. (funny this CD reminds me of women).
BUt I think he is amazing.
His voice soars.
He sould penetrates deep into our hearts.
He is a man of great power through music.
And I am going to pick up extra copies of this one for sure!...more info
- Genius loves company a hit with us
Both of us love this Ray Charles CD. We enjoy all the tracks! Each track is a duet with a different performer, and they're all great!...more info
- What a last time!!!!.
This is an amazing cd. Ray's voice and style were amazing and considering that he sings with other amazing singers such as Norah Jones, Elton John and Natalie Cole. Just make the cd a must have. I really love listening to it while writing or being around the house because it makes a lot of company, just relaxes me.
This cd made a big impact with multi-million selling status and a bunch of Grammy awards.
It's really difficult to make a review from this album beacuse there's not much new to say because we all know about Ray. The last thing that I can say is that the album is very good and you could give it a try at least listening to the samples so you can make a decision whether you add it to your collection or not....more info
- Genius Hates Company
The cover on this album should of given you a dead give away clue alreay.
There is a reason Ray Charles has that retarded smile, he is dead, and yet he is still cashing in on a gullible and other wise mindless public with this abberation of plastic and aliminum.
The movie about him came out last October, which has caused a sudden interest in his music.How timely was it that this was released to coincide with the sudden public interest in Ray Charles in order to cash in.Yes my freinds, good ol Ray is laughing at you all now,just look at the picture on this cd cover. Why do i hate this? because it is a brainless attempt at cash from record companies, Ray is laughing at the people who bought this. This is basically an album of cover songs with random contrived celebrity artists and singers preforming with Ray. If i want to listen to Ray, i will buy one of his original albums instead of this piece of crap. They literally butcher the classics, Ray was in an ailing state when he did this so i don't blame him at all, the other artists on the other hand.....
God, this is just (...) horrible! get one of Ray's original albums.If it weren't for the movie, people wouldn't even be interested in him, it is a classic example of flavor of the month and the publics stupidity. Ray was a good musician but by no means a god like every one makes him out to be.I like to think that i have pretty diverse musical tastes,i like every thing from John Cougar Mellencamp to Slayer,but i can't see what makes this guy so great or legendary at all.This whole CD is basically a Ray Charles @ss kissing fest, just read the liner notes and see it with your own eyes.
It's another record companies dream come true. A poor album that sells by musicians names rather then the qaulity of the music it self.There is no technical reason for this to even exist....more info
- pure genius
What can I say about this? I had a copy of this and it became damaged. I had to replace it because I loved it so much. Ray Charles was one of the greatest of all times, and these duets are priceless. Love it!!...more info
- Beautiful Send-Off
A mixed presentation of various musical genres and styles, this album is an appropriate last offering for the genius who influenced, popularized, and outright changed American music forever.
Although Ray is clearly not at his vocal best here, the emotion of his voice--which defined his career and ultimately never left him--is clearly evident here.
Ray, who knew this was to be his last recording, breezes through lighter fare, as well as getting down to his heart-wrenching best.
Goodbye, Ray--we'll never forget you.
I'm sorry this is the last of this master's legacy. Much of it is schmaltzy stuff. Seems like it was conceived to cash in on the commercial appeal of these duets than for the artistry of it. Get "Ray Charles and Betty Carter/Dedicated to You" instead, an enduring classic....more info
- Really Nice...
This album is great. I don't think that I've ever liked jazz so much before, seriously. Ray's genious really shows in this album as he plays some really good songs, none of them my favorite Ray Charles material, but still, really good stuff. This album changed my perspective on life, the music is timeless. I would highly recommend this album to anyone who enjoys good music....more info
- Loving the Legacy
this album is a classic. the songs are moving and you can feel the soul in ray's voice. i love the fact that each song has a guest apperance from a notable artist. with respect to ray charles i believe that this is one of his better albums. my favorite songs are number seven with willie nelson and number six with bonnie raitt. this is def. a collectors piece for all ray charles fans, young and old....more info
- Ray Charles; what a loss
This album has a collection of the blues' genius with other great talents; and lovely performances with Norah Jones, James Taylor, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, Van Morrison. My favorites are: "sorry seems to be the hardest word" with Elton John, and" Do I ever cross your mind" with Bonnie Raitt.
A great album that can only be enhanced by listening to another wonderful collection: Ray Charles & friends
- A Sad Farewell To the Genius
Since the early 1950's, Ray Charles has always made history with his music; meanwhile, changing the lives of millions of listeners. His music always gained rave reviews. He released several hit singles that continually reach listeners today including "Georgia On My Mind", "Hit the Road Jack", "A Song For You", and many others. Occassionally, he tried different music genres at a time when it was still taboo. Regardless if he was singing R&B, gospel, country, rock & roll, or pop, the quality of his work never fell below the top. His performances through his vocals and his piano remained soulful. Before and throughout his career, he fought through many life struggles (blindness, racism, controversy, heroin addiction) to grow into the artist as what millions know him.
Then, in 2004, a lot happened in Ray Charles history. He collaborated with twelve influencial musicians to record what would be his last album. "Genius Loves Company", released a month after his death, beautifully closes his career and his life. He later garnered five Grammys (Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Pop Album, Best Pop Collaboration, and Best Gospel Recording), and three others were rewarded to other album participants. Though his illness was continually worsening throughout the recording, hense the frayed voice, he maintained his hardworkmanship. Aside from the critically acclaimed film "Ray" based on his life and the Oscar winning performance from Jamie Foxx, this album is truly one of the best of 2004.
The varity of music genres express on this album sum his career. Yet, everything blends wonderfully. This again proves his musical range. Some are covers from the other artists, and some are songs he previously recorded years ago. All live up to their originals. Regardless of theme and partner's vocal texture, every duet contained the special chemistry. Ray Charles changes his own vocal texture to blend with the partner's. Despite, he never loses the spark that launched his career in the 1950's. The music is rearranged to successfully fulfill this overall theme. Duets include Elton John, Diana Krall, Bonnie Raitt, and Willie Nelson. This album opens with the Grammy winning "Here We Go Again" recorded with Norah Jones. This beautiful ballad, originally released by Charles in 1968, shares the overall intentions of this album. It readies the remaining songs on the album.
The passionate performances from everybody catch hearts of its listeners. All prove that there'll be nobody like Ray Charles in a long time. Therefore, his legend will continue to live. Such musical quality makes "Genius Loves Company" an essential album, leaving "with a bang". This album will never be forgotten by its listeners....more info
- Awesome Music
This is a wonderful selection of timeless music and a great addition to any collection! i love Ray Charles and the duets on this CD are absolutly spectacular! there is MPEG included on the CD that is a great tribute and remeberence of the late Ray Charles, I have listened to it numerous times since i recieved it in the mail....more info
- This things earned 8 grammies?
What a joke. They shoulda awarded those grammies to talented musical genuses like 50 cent and Jessica Simpson. Ray Charles was a great singer, no doubt but compare him to 50 cent? dont even go there. Buy The Massacre instead....more info
- Genius Loves Company
The only song that was pathetic was Will Nelson and Charles attempting to do " It was a very good year" Really bad....more info
- What a way for Ray to go out!
This is a wonderful CD. The combination of some of the best vocalists in the industry with "the genius" worked to a tee. We love it!
- great album!
I definitly do not regret this purchase..... it is a great album....more info
From the choice of songs to the artists that interpret them you can't get better than this. ...more info
- In the December of His Life
When I was a kid, I was privileged to grow up with great music always playing in the house. From my grandfather I inherited a love for classical, and for country when it was still "country and western." From my dad, though, I inherited my appreciation for Ray Charles.
At the time, I was listening to a lot of soul, like Smokey Robinson and Otis Redding, and rock, like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. After hearing a record of "What'd I Say" and "Hit the Road Jack," I asked my father what kind of music that was. "That's Ray Charles," he told me. I told him I wanted to know what kind of music he was playing. He gave me the same answer.
It took me a while to understand what he was getting at. Charles's music was beyond category; it was his own invention, completely and utterly sui generis.
Take, for instance, his now-classic arrangement of "America the Beautiful." My grade school music teacher actually thought I was unpatriotic because I couldn't stand the standard version of the song. But it wasn't the words I had a problem with--only the juvenile, sing-song meter: I thought the song wasn't fit to be representing my country. Years later, after I left the Army, I saw Charles on television performing "America the Beautiful" before a baseball game. Using a gospel rhythm on his piano and singing off the backbeat, he transformed it into something so magnificently inspired that he made it all his own--and one of my all-time favorites. I guess that's why he's called, not "a genius," but "The Genius."
Charles died in 2004 at the age of seventy-three. His last work, Genius Loves Company, an album of duets, was a labor of love by an incomparable artist who knew his days were numbered. It was in the tradition of other famous duet releases, beginning in 1991 with Natalie Cole's Unforgettable: With Love--the remarkable album featuring studio-engineered duets with her deceased father, Nat King Cole--and followed by star-studded duet albums from Frank Sinatra (1993) and Tony Bennett (Playin' with My Friends, 2001).
Genius Loves Company opens strong, with Charles's country/blues hit from the 1960s, "Here We Go Again"--this time a collaboration with Grammy-winning newcomer Norah Jones. There's a cover with Diana Krall of Eddy Arnold's country classic "You Don't Know Me," which Charles also recorded in 1962. On this take, the lyrics are parsed at just the right points, letting Krall's satiny vocals work off Charles's gravelly blues. For a duet with Willie Nelson on the Sinatra classic "It Was a Very Good Year," the two old-timers barely sing, but rather narrate the lyrics, much like Jimmy Durante, or Walter Huston in his performance of "September Song." On "Sinner's Prayer" B.B. King is along for the ride with his beloved Lucille. With King's scorching guitar work a perfect counterpoint to the staccato rhythms of Ray's chords, and Billy Preston backing up on the Hammond organ, this is the album's strongest cut. A finger-snapping rendition of "Fever" with Natalie Cole and an a cappella gospel take on "Crazy Love" with Van Morrison round out this solid effort.
Although Charles passed away before Genius Loves Company was released, he must have known that he was going out on top. While recording the album, he worked with director Taylor Hackford and actor Jamie Foxx on the biopic of his life story, Ray. At the 2005 Grammy awards Genius Loves Company walked off with all the important trophies, and Foxx took home the best actor Academy Award for his uncanny portrayal of the legendary musician.
Okay, it's a clich¨¦, but it's still true: Ray Charles may be gone, but his music will be with us forever.
- Review of "Genius Loves Company," by Ray Charles
This is an excellent album. Ray chose some of the world's most outstanding artists to sing with him - artists with varied styles, from country to pop to R&B. I especially enjoyed the duets with Willie Nelson, Gladys Knight, Johnny Mathis and Norah Jones....more info
- Well named
I love music, but I'm not a "word guy". Words and voice must be musical in addition to their meaning. Too many singers don't understand this as well as they should. Most of the singers on this album seem to understand that their voice is not just for recitation of the lyrics but is an instrument - and they excel at it. This is truly a wonderful album to listen to and I just never tire of it.
Ray has obviously mastered his craft and it shows in this album. You can clearly hear him mentoring Norah Jones in "Here We Go Again" and hear the pride in his voice when she rises to his standards. And Billy Preston and his Hammond B3 is so important there that it's almost a trio rather than a duet.
You can hear the give and take as he nudges Elton John out of his usual style and the delight when it works. The synergy with BB King is that of two old friends in a tight game of rummy - each with his own style and each knowing the others so well that neither wins or loses and both are happier for it. Bonnie Raitt seems to carry "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind?" with Ray just along for a ride, but it works perfectly.
There is so much music here and so much pride and so much joy. I'd give it 6 stars if I could. ...more info
- 3 1/2- 4 stars- Pretty Good
Ray Charles was a first-rate musician. He could make music! But this CD, in general, is not a joy to hear. First (through no fault of his own--he was very sick, after all), Charles' voice sounds very weak and strained here. One can still hear evidence of his outstanding talent, but it is very diminished. Second, most of the song selections were not well-advised. I love James Taylor, for example, but not that song, and certainly not in duet with Ray Charles. Similar comment can be made about many of the other songs and singers. Two or three of the tracks are excellent, however, particularly Charles' respective duets with Bonnie Raitt, Van Morrison, and Johnny Mathis. In my opinion, those three tracks alone are worth the purchase price (while most of the others I probably will skip in future). Also (for you audiophiles), the recording-quality varies from track to track; sometimes it is very good, but mostly it is merely adequate.
- Genius Album
Ray Charles by himself is genius, but to pair up with some of musics most distinguished artists and provide listeners with a variety of soulful and beautiful music is simply fantastic. The opening track is a great start with Norah Jones. Though I am not much of a country fan the Willie Nelson Duet gives me shivers from its great color and depth. I love all of the tracks and often will grab my partner and dance to the tracks because it is so great!
This is actually my second time purchasing this CD because I had to give it to someone who I new would love the music....more info
- For Fans
If you just want to get everything Ray ever did, add this to your collection. If you're looking for something, don't look here. What happened to the time when performers brought their best when thay had a chance to sing with a legend. Like Aretha an Ray, or, Gladys and Ray. Even Billy Joel and Ray, Baby Grand was an exquisite song....more info
- It's Genius!
This CD is fantastic and I love the duets of old favorites being given a
new "flavor" by Ray Charles and friends. It's soothing music, and yet it
- super genius!
great disc, different style than ray usually churns out. interesting combos - ray and willie nelson on "a very good year"; ray and johnny mathis on "somewhere over the rainbow". you can tell a good time was had by all making this cd, it shows through the sounds created!...more info
- A good shot at greatness
Ray Charles was indeed an American Treasure. However over time even the best voice will fade. That is the case here. Ironically all of the guest vocalists where better than Ray. This is especially prevalent with Natalie Cole. As I listened to this CD I smiled as I heard the voice of the century. But, it was not the voice of 10 years ago. I enjoyed the nostalgia, but the power of Ray's voice was not there. As long as you understand this, you will enjoy the CD....more info
- A little full of himself don't you think?
Wow! Ray Charles calls himself a "Genius" on his new album? Um...show me the papers that say it. Your IQ is above genius level?
I worked hard to be called a genius. I had to compete in the Genius Olympics held every year in Boca Raton, Florida. I won gold in 6 events and set the world record in the "How high can you count?".
This album is ok, but Genius? Come on Raymond! I've never trusted people with 2 first names anyway...this just goes to prove my point even more. I say skip this album and get that Twista CD with Ray Charles on it....more info
- Everyone Gathering Around Shining Ray
Ray Charles always had the talent to put a sparkle in the eye of anyone who listened to his music, even if they weren't necessarily fans. While this album never really sets the hairs on end, Charles's album branches across multiple genres to bring the world a loving tribute to the late blues guitarist.
What is most surprising is the vacancy of blues from this album. Only "Sinner's Pray", "Heaven Help Us All", and "Crazy Love" really give any resemblance to the traditional Ray Charles, if any guitarist such as him can be considered conventional. Getting together with Willie Nelson, Michael McDonald, Diana Krall, and others may not be a reach for him, but it creates some interesting surprises, such as his dip into musical theater music with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". It works sometimes, and at others, it wreaks of a cheap lounge singer.
In the end, it will put a smile on the face of fans and non-fans alike, reminding us of what Ray did, and what he would be capable of if he was still alive.
Highs: Classic fusion of blues and gospel, while presenting new experiments with smooth jazz, motown, musical theater, and conventional pop singers.
Lows: Sappier than afternoon soaps at times, nothing oustanding here.
The Score: B-, Genius? No. But it will draw company....more info
- Lost & Found
I used to own this CD even before it won 8 awards including the Album of the Year in 2005 Grammys. Unfortunately lost it in a rental car from a trip, which is not uncommon I guess. Now I am thrilled to have it back again in my car. ...more info
- Ray Raves
This is one of my favorite CD's and made wonderful stocking stuffers last year. It's ageless and classic. The teaming of Nora Jones was genius! I only take away from a 5 star review because of the one with Elton John, didn't enjoy that one. ...more info
- GENIUS LOVES COMPANY ! (and we love you, Ray)
Genius Loves Company (2004) was Ray Charles' last album, a collaborative affair with various musicians and singers handpicked by Ray himself. Liver cancer would end Ray's life before the album was released to great commercial success and won eight Grammy Awards. The album's Grammy Awards were in part sentimental, and I must admit that my five star rating is, too. Sentimentality is what Genius Loves Company is really all about. It's by no means Ray Charles at his peak as a performer. In fact, he's not in good health, way past his best days and just doing the best he can to keep up with everyone else. And that's just fine with me. The singers here all feel incredibly honored to be chosen by Ray to participate in this special project, and each one knows that in his prime Ray Charles could outperform all of them put together. The atmosphere is almost like a celebration or a party to honor the beloved legend. It's schmaltzy and sentimental, and everyone is celebrating and complimenting (in quotes in the liner notes) the great Ray Charles.
I really went into Genius Loves Company determined that I was going to like it, no matter what. And even though Ray's worn and tired vocal performance produced a few shakey moments, by the time I got to the end of the album, I did like it. I also had a tear in my eye, and a new level of love and respect for who Ray Charles actually was, the legend that he is, and how he overcame the odds like he did.
Here We Go Again (w/Norah Jones) opens the album and sounds wonderful (it won a Grammy for Record Of The Year). It's followed by the fun of Sweet Potato Pie (w/James Taylor) and the uneasy blues of You Don't Know Me (w/Diana Krall). The haunting Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word (w/Elton John) is a favorite of mine here, and the orchestrated arrangement highlights the song perfectly. The funky and jazzy Fever (w/Natalie Cole) and the country meets jazz Do I Ever Cross Your Mind (w/Bonnie Raitt) are both winners, and Ray's soulful, but subdued singing is still a joy to listen to as the old spark returns here and there. Ray's old and close friend Willie Nelson joins him on the heavily orchestrated It Was A Very Good Year. The song is perfect here and is sort of a turning point for the album. Knowing what good friends these two were for so many years makes it even more special. Of course, Willie didn't come to the party empty handed. He brought Trigger (his trademark and beat up old guitar) with him and you can hear it in the arrangement. B.B. King brought Lucille (his famous guitar) with him, too, and joins Ray for what's probably the best song on the album, Sinner's Prayer. With Billy Preston providing the organ and B.B. playing his guitar, Ray and B.B. belt out the blues, and Ray sounds better and more comfortable in this setting than he does anywhere on the album. Heaven Help Us All (w/Gladys Knight) is a gospel flavored highlight and quite an emotional and beautiful piece of music. Hey Girl (w/Michael McDonald) and Somewhere Over The Rainbow (w/Johnny Mathis) both work well and fit comfortably with the album's reflective spirit. There's also a good live version of Crazy Love (w/Van Morrison) from the night Ray inducted Van (by Van's request) into The Songwriters Hall Of Fame.
Genius Loves Company will pain some who don't want to be bothered with hearing a legend way past his prime sing his songs anymore, but I quite enjoy hearing this man giving it another shot, holding his own with some of the world's greatest singers. Ray Charles deserved this album, he more than earned it, I'm glad I own it and it makes me proud to listen to it. Thank you, Ray Charles.
- The Legacy Lives On.......
In the heart of many worldwide, of the great genius that Ray was.
When he faded into sickness and then finally passed it meant the passing of a legend, an end of an era.
Because for over 40 years Ray Charles had been at the forefront of RnB music. He showed off many styles and is remembered for his classic originality and spirit.
The album will make you cry, laugh and groove, really every emotion and that is what Ray does well.
"Here We Go Again" features the amazing Norah Jones, another genius. The effortless vocals, the superb melody harnesses the listener and entrances with superiority.
The song is amazing as it decieves the listener at times, however it is a great song.
"Sweet Potato Pie" is a nice breezy song that is so lovely to listen to the way they utilise each others voice to create an amazing harmony. James Taylor is the guest on this track.
A singer who I have always really been fond of, without being much of a fan is Diana Krall. Krall guests on the next track.
"You Don't Know Me" is a very exquisite track and very calming.
With nurturing melodies and Diana's voice it is an immediate favourite.
"Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word" is another classic that has re-surfaced for this recording and the original singer, Elton John joins Ray for one monster duet. How much bigger could a duet get. The vocals are raw and the instruments are superb.
"Fever" features the saucy Natalie Cole and is one steamy song. What a ripper! The beat is so catchy and the use of the bass line is phenomenal. "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind" is a very twangy country ballad that is a bit grindy and slow but once you get past that it is very enjoyable. Features Bonnie Raitt.
"It Was A Very Good Year" is an epic ballad with a lovely swooping string section. This song could well be used in a remake of -The Wizard Of Oz-. Willie Nelson guests.
"Hey Girl" is a nice song and features the wonderful Michael McDonald who along with Charles create a formidable duo.
"Sinner's Prayer" ft. B.B King is a fulfilling song that will deeply move some people.
"Heaven Help Us All" is a great RnB/Gospel song that feature the wonderful, Gladys Knight. I love the vocals and the choir which just adds so much to the song.
"Over The Rainbow" is another classic and has a wonderful overall feel to it, I love it and I'm sure you will love it too.
This track features Johnny Mathis.
The album closer/end is amazing and it is recorded live which is always a bonus.
"Crazy Love" has and unforgettable and memorable chorus and features the mastermind of Van Morrison.
"Genius Loves Company" is a superb reminder of what we lost in Ray and what legacy he has left behind, what a memorable man.
The days of relaxing to "Georgia On My Mind" may be over but at least you album to listen to, equally as good.
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