“Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music” by Ray Charles - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1962Album Chart of the Decade: 1960s1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die external-link.png

TJR says

Released in April, 1962 and widely regarded as a landmark release in Ray’s story. Here are the highlights from Wikipedia’s “war and peace” entry: “When Charles announced that he wanted to work on an album of country music in 1961, during a period of racial segregation and tension in the United States, he received generally negative commentary and feedback from his peers, including fellow R&B musicians and ABC-Paramount executives. The country album concept, however, meant more to Charles as a test of his record label’s faith and respect to his artistic freedom rather than a test of social tolerance among listeners amid racial distinctions of country and R&B. While Modern Sounds features mostly covers of country and western music standards, its sound and musical style are marked by the heavy rhythm and blues influence of Charles’s playing. A considerable amount of the material’s melancholy lyrics and words are backed by piano and orchestral arrangements that are rooted in jazz, as well as West Coast and Charles’s style of piano blues. Following the album’s release, Charles quickly earned an influx of white listeners and audiences at concert venues, without experiencing any fall-out from his predominantly black audience. It’s widely acknowledged that the musical integration of soul and country into popular format by Charles changed and revolutionized racial boundaries and restraints in music, and contributed to the historical Civil Rights Movement.” Ok, fair enough. Well done Ray. Respect is due. Putting America’s long standing racism aside for a moment – is it any good? There are 11 country covers from the likes of The Everly Brothers, Eddy Arnold and Hank Williams plus Ray’s own “Careless Love”, ensuring a slice of the royalty action. I submit to the emotive resonance of “I Can’t Stop Loving You” (Don Gibson, 1957), “Worried Mind” (Ted Daffan’s Texans, 1940) is a decent, if lesser, cut from the same cloth, and the stylish swagger of “Half As Much” (Curley Williams and The Georgia Peach Pickers, 1951) is deserving of pass marks. Taken as a whole, “Modern Sounds In Country And Western” is boring, could be challenged in court for a breach of trade descriptions, and is typical period middle-of-the-road fare for the ever-tasteless American middle class…

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:14] 4.2.png Ray Charles - Bye Bye Love (Boudleaux Bryant, Felice Bryant) Big Band / Jive / Swing
A2 [03:15] 4.9.png Ray Charles - You Don’t Know Me (Eddy Arnold, Cindy Walker) Crooner / Cabaret
A3 [03:27] 5.6.png Ray Charles - Half As Much (Curley Williams) Crooner / Cabaret
A4 [03:35] 3.5.png Ray Charles - I Love You So Much It Hurts (Floyd Tillman) Crooner / Cabaret
A5 [03:29] 4.0.png Ray Charles - Just A Little Lovin’ (Will Go A Long Way) (Eddy Arnold, Zeke Clements) Big Band / Jive / Swing
A6 [03:15] 3.4.png Ray Charles - Born To Lose (Ted Daffan) Crooner / Cabaret
B1 [02:55] 6.0.png Ray Charles - Worried Mind (Ted Daffan, Jimmie Davis) Crooner / Cabaret
B2 [03:34] 4.5.png Ray Charles - It Makes No Difference Now (Floyd Tillman) Crooner / Cabaret
B3 [03:31] 4.8.png Ray Charles - You Win Again (Hank Williams) Country
B4 [04:00] 5.2.png Ray Charles - Careless Love (Ray Charles Robinson) Pop Ballad
B5 [04:13] 8.9.png Ray Charles - I Can’t Stop Loving You (Don Gibson) Country
B6 [02:13] 4.3.png Ray Charles - Hey, Good Lookin’ (Hank Williams Sr.) Big Band / Jive / Swing

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