• Ray Sings Basie Swings
  • Ray Sings Basie Swings

Ray Sings Basie Swings

Regular price $35.98 Unit price  per 

The pairing of Ray Charles and Count Basie never actually happened… At least, not physically. It is a dream realized. A mash-up made in heaven.

In 2005, than Concord Records head John Burk (producer of Charles’ 2004 Grammy-winning Genius Loves Company) found a reel of tape simply labeled “Ray/Basie.” What Burk heard, though, wasn’t Basie and Ray playing together, but rather separate sets during concerts performed in Germany and England.

It was thought that this potentially momentous discovery would be unusable. Until Burk had the brilliant idea to bring the contemporary Count Basie Orchestra (whose leader died in 1984) into the studio to lay newly recorded instrumental tracks behind Charles vocals. Burk and his co-producers decided on a single goal: to make the date sound like a genuine heart-to-heart collaboration. To create the impression that it was actually performed together, the editing process took four months. The end result is a compelling and real collaboration, even if it didn’t happen in real time.

Charles is in fine form vocally on this mix of remakes of his early ABC-Paramount-era hits and then-recent material. The consecutive reworkings of "Busted," "Cryin' Time," and "I Can't Stop Loving You," three of his defining Top Ten hits of the early '60s, are given brassy, bluesy treatments here, and standards ranging from Oscar Hammerstein II’s "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" to The Beatles’ "The Long and Winding Road" are transformed in Charles’ hands. The set-closing "Georgia on My Mind," as close to a signature song as Charles had, is given a tender, minimalist reading, but the track preceding it, "Look What They've Done to My Song, Ma," picked up from the folk-pop singer Melanie, is quite possibly the album's highlight.

Double Vinyl LP.