The Genius of Ray Charles
With 1959’s The Genius of Ray Charles, the maestro produced a cinematic expansion of his rollicking, heartrending R&B. In the first half, big-band arrangements transform “’Deed I Do” and “Let the Good Times Roll” from beat-up pickup trucks into shiny, new Cadillacs. In the second half, a string orchestra elevates ballads like “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying” and “Am I Blue” into luxurious expressions of loss and loneliness. Through it all, Ray’s voice channels the rough-hewn emotion that was often lacking in an era of candy-flavored crooners.