Ray Charles

Ray Charles

Ray Charles

Genius: The Ulitmate Collection

Concord Music Group

Much has been written about the career of Ray Charles and most of it by better writers than I. So rather than attempt to recap the man’s six decade career as singer and cultural icon, I’ll focus on the new collection of his music, Genius: The Ultimate Collection.

Inclusions and exclusions are one of the best guides for a greatest hits collection. There is little to quibble with on the twenty-one tracks on Genius. All of Ray Charles’ major hits are here including “Georgia on My Mind”, “Unchain My Heart”, and “Crying Time”. These are all the original tracks, no late-career re-records or dubious live tracks. They are the songs we’ve all grown up with and they sounds amazing. On the exclusion side there are two major exclusions from this disc. First is the happy exclusion of the stunningly over-rated cover of “Eleanor Rigby.” It is a must-skip on numerous other Ray Charles collection and is not missed here. On the other side is the inexcusable omission of “What’d I Say (Part 2)” Part one is on the disc, and without part two it just feels off. But apart from that fairly aggravating quibble, Genius: The Ultimate Collection is a great retrospective of one of music’s most original voices.

Concord Music Group: www.concordmusicgroup.com

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