Ray Charles Video Museum

Mediagraphy - Discography - Trackography - Videography - Gigography - Biography - Chronology

15 September 2017

Ray Charles In Manchester (1996) - Fragments

In June 1996 Van Morrison and Ray Charles joined forces on a UK tour that brought them to the Wembley Arena in London, on 15 and 19 June, the Nynex Arena in Manchester (June 21), the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham (23) and the Arena in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (24).

A Van Morrison fan* shot a few parts of Ray's Manchester concert from an audience perspective. Here you can listen to parts of Busted, Georgia On My Mind, I Can't Stop Loving You, and What'd I Say:

Reconstructed line-up:
Musicians: Steve Elliott, Al Jackson, Al Waters, Rudy Johnson, and Jim Farnsworth - saxophone; Ted Murdock, Chuck Parrish, John Bailey, Kenny Scharf - trumpet; Steve Sigmund, Michael Guerrier, Sarah Morrow, Jason Jackson - trombone; Kenny Carr - guitar; Curtis Ohlson - bass; Ernest Vantrease - Hammond organ; Peter Turre - drums. Raelettes: Estella Yarbrough, Karen Evans, Cathy Mackey, ?Katrina Harper-Cooke?, Tonette McKinney.

* Woolhall, a Van Morrison/Bob Dylan  archivist, runs this entertaining channel on YouTube.

09 September 2017

Take-Off For Ray Charles Big Band's First Europe Tour

The complete Ray Charles troupe on October 17th or 18th, 1961, departing from Idlewild for their first European tour. From Cashbox, Nov. 4, 1961.

31 July 2017

Ray Charles Guesting In Venezuelan TV Show

Ray Charles and Renny Ottolina, c. 1970.
Renny Ottolina was a Venezuelan variety TV superstar. In the 70's his major success was Renny Presenta, produced for VTV, where he brought international guests like Charles Aznavour, Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles to the studio. In the clip below, Renny can be seen... disturbing a jazz piano solo by Ray Charles.
In the photo at the right Brother Ray sports another suit jacket than in the YouTube video. Is it from another show?

Who recognizes the tune? Who knows if more footage has survived?

Renny Ottolino, while campaigning for the presidency, died "in a strange air incident" in 1976.

21 July 2017

Ray Charles Promoting 音楽マイ・ラブ

In 1991 (or was it 1990?) Ray Charles helped the the tv show 音楽マイ・ラブ (Music My Love) to promote themselves.

23 June 2017

Ray Charles Live In Roanoke

Someone in the audience made a (mediocre) recording of Ray Charles' concert at the Grandin Theatre in Roanoke (VA) on September 1, 1984. The setlist went like:

  1. Intro + Metamorphosis
  2. Let The Good Times Roll (start missing)
  3. Georgia On My Mind
  4. Then We'll Be Home (Sadies Tune)
  5. I've Got News For You
  6. Some Enchanted Evening
  7. If You Wouldn't Be My Lady
  8. Crying Time
  9. Eleanor Rigby
  10. I Can't Stop Loving You
  11. Knock On Wood
  12. Baby Please Don't Go
  13. What'd I Say
  14. Outro

27 May 2017

Ray Charles Ft In Le Spectacle Noir

Le Spectacle Noir was a 45 minute ORTF documentary directed by Armand Ridel, first broadcast by RTF 1 on August 30, 1972. It presented an impressionistic, kaleidoscopic mix of existing films and documentaries with contemporary street scenes, concert footage and interviews with jazz and r&b stars.
With a.o. Ray Charles (contributing a good, but truncated, version of I've Got A Woman, from a concert in circa 1972), Count Basie, Tina Turner, Louis Armstrong, Cecil Taylor, Miriam Makeba, and Jimmy Hendrix (from the Woodstock movie).
The film has been archived by INA, ID: CPF86653022.

18 May 2017

The Schiffman Index Cards On Ray Charles At The Apollo, 1957 - 1971

The Schiffmans, owners of the Apollo Theater, kept concise and hugely interesting notes on all acts he booked and re-booked. Each index card tracked the acts through the years, listing the dates of the opening nights (many gigs were for one week), the amounts paid out, and - above all - the Schiffman family's brutally honest comments on the act's quality and cash box success.
Up till now the notes were only known from the Frank Schiffman Apollo Theatre Collection in the Archives Center of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, but recently a few additional cards on the Apollo's top artists (Ray Charles, but e.g. also James Brown and Aretha Franklin) have popped up on Ebay.

04 May 2017

How To Raycharlesify A Tune

Ray Charles' studio version from 1964 of A Tear Fell (single: ABC-45-10571; album: ABCS-480-4), as arranged by Sid Feller, was nice enough.
But only in this live version at the Pleyel Room in Paris, in a concert on October 8, 1968, the Genius could share what he really heard in the song, showing how beautiful it really was.
The original tune was written in 1955 by Dorian Burton and Eugene Randolph. Two of their grandchildren recently met in the comments section on YouTube:

03 May 2017

We're Gonna Make It (The Raelettes)

Until now* I've confused the description of this Raelettes live-song, which was on the band's repertoire between 1978 and 1984, with the We're Gonna Make It-track from the Renaissance album.

This actual tune was written by Billy Preston. Rene Hall penned the arrangement for the band.

'78 LC Antibes
'84 LC Viareggio
'84 LC Warsaw - Released**
'86 LC Toyohashi

*Thank you, Steve Sigmund. **Search for Ray, then page-search for Warsaw, then go to ~39:20.

11 April 2017

Ray Charles Authoring Jack Sheldon Album's Cover Notes (1961)

Ray Charles' notes to Jack Sheldon's album.
In 1961 Ray Charles was at the pinnacle of his fame. It was also the year that he was first recognized and honored with a tribute album, by the soulful trumpeteer Jack Sheldon: A Jazz Profile Of Ray Charles (released by Frank Sinatra's Reprise Records, R-2004, July 1961).
Sheldon recorded the 12 tracks over two days in May (spanning a selection from five Ray Charles albums issued between 1957 and 1961) with his trio: Marty Paich on piano and organ, Joe Mondragon on bass and John Markham on drums. The elpee came out in July 1961, with a testimonial by Ray Charles, praising Sheldon, and adding some humble remarks regarding himself.

I assume that Paich - who was Ray's favorite arranger in his early ABC-Paramount years - was the linking pin between Charles and Sheldon. Highly remarkable was his organ playing, sounding almost exactly as awkward as Ray's Hammond wizardry on Genius + Soul = Jazz  (Impulse 2, February 1961), "[...] making it seem as if the instrument is being operated by a bellows", as Marc Meyers remarked in this excellent Jazz Wax article about this album.

Meyers made 3 of the tunes available online (I wish someone would send me a copy of the complete album;-): When Your Lover Has GoneMoonlight in Vermont, and One Mint Julep.