The Best of Ray Charles: The Atlantic Years
Ray Charles’ eight-year partnership with Atlantic Records stands as one of music’s most fertile collaborations. It produced a string of albums that are remarkable not only for their consistency, but for their unifying force. The 20 tracks on The Best of Ray Charles demonstrate the diversity of styles in which Charles worked: from the moody blues of “Blackjack” and “Lonely Avenue” to the skeletal and poignant ballads “What Would I Do With You” and “Drown In My Own Tears;” from the raw R&B rave-up of “What’d I Say, Pts. 1 & 2” to the elegant orchestral sweep of “Just For A Thrill.” Listening to The Best Of Ray Charles one is struck not just by his flexibility and openness when it came to tackling different songs, but by his ability to tie it all together with his inimitable voice. No matter his surroundings, Ray is always recognizable as Ray. He always defined his material and never let his material define him. Such is the mark of the true stylist, and such is the reason the 20 songs included here will hang together and endure for generations to come.