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Ray Charles - Genius & Friends (2005)

Posted By: Supa Man
Another classic album of Ray Charles songs with many awesome guests. It has a definite POP flavor, but there are some gems. ;-) Enjoy!



Track Listings
1. ALL I WANT TO DO – with Angie Stone
2. YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE – with Chris Isaak
3. IT ALL GOES BY SO FAST – with Mary J. Blige
4. YOU WERE THERE – with Gladys Knight
5. IMAGINE – with Ruben Studdard & The Harlem Gospel Singers
6. COMPARED TO WHAT – with Leela James
7. BIG BAD LOVE – with Diana Ross
8. I WILL BE THERE – with Idina Menzel
9. BLAME IT ON THE SUN – with George Michael
10. TOUCH – with John Legend
11. SHOUT – with Patti LaBelle & The Andrae Crouch Singers
12. SURRENDER TO LOVE – with Laura Pausini
13. BUSTED (Live) – with Willie Nelson
14. AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL – with Alicia Keys

Editorial Reviews
It doesn't take a lot of marquee names to sell a Ray Charles record, but the Genius proved long before 2004's Genius Loves Company that he was a master collaborator as well as a very natural one. On Genius & Friends, Rhino Records smartly capitalizes on Charles's gift for investing any duet with both backbone and bluesy, velvety soul by rounding up recordings he made in 1997 and 1998 and swelling them with the sounds of artists he inspired. The result is both brilliant and frustrating: brilliant because artists like Mary J. Blige, Gladys Knight, and Patti LaBelle so reliably tread their tracks with care and affection, reining in all that raw vocal power where a song requires it; and frustrating because it would have been incredible to hear each of the very different artists gathered here trading verses with Brother Ray in real time--producer Phil Ramone fused these songs together. (In two cases, we do get the pleasure: "Big Bad Love", recorded in 1994 with Diana Ross for the film The Favor, and "Busted," recorded live in 1991 with Willie Nelson.) To the producers' credit (add Ahmet Ertegun and Quincy Jones to Ramone) the audio wizardry required to make this disc does not once interfere with the sense it conveys that the chosen artists really were Ray Charles's friends. Hear it especially on the Idina Menzel heartwarmer "I Will Be There" and Blige's "It All Goes By So Fast," as silkily convincing as it is bittersweet. --Tammy La Gorce

Links:
part 1
part 2

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