Ray Charles – Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music (1962)
There seems to be a recurring theme in Chatty April: context, context, context.
For many of these records, what was a big deal at the time seems almost like a non-event today.
These days, Darius Rucker (also of Hootie & The Blowfish) is one of the biggest names in country music. Thankfully, this is no longer a big deal.
51 years ago however, Ray Charles releasing this landmark recording was anything but a non-event.
Billy Joel’s apt description of what Ray Charles was up to in 1962: “here is a black man giving you the whitest possible music in the blackest possible way, while all hell is breaking loose with the Civil Rights movement.”
Much like The Genius of Ray Charles, I enjoy his mix of musical styles and despite not writing any of the tracks, each sounds like a Ray Charles song.
This specific recording was likely included on the 1001 list for its major impact on popular musical boundaries. It may or may not be superior to the rest of his extensive catalogue, my exposure is admittedly limited thus far.
Considering his stamp on the standards here is definitely audible, Ray’s fans will find plenty to like here, even if the country & western genre is not their typical scene.