Ray Charles – Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music, Vols 1 & 2 (Remastered) (2009/2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:14:06 minutes | 1,46 GB | Genre: R&B
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Concord Records
Ray Charles’s Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Volumes 1 & 2 are major landmarks in American culture. Charles demonstrated that great songs with signature performances work in all genres. “I Can’t Stop Loving You” was a standard in country, soul and R&B, as he proved. Modern Sounds also brought America together during the Sixties’ civil rights movement. Charles became one of the first recording artists to have ownership and complete control of the masters. Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music has been listed among the greatest albums of all time, along with the Beatles, Dylan, Motown, Springsteen, Hendrix and the Beach Boys.
These groundbreaking albums, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Vols. 1 & 2 are being reissued on digital and CD on February 22nd, 2019 via Concord Records, also becoming available for the first time on streaming platforms. Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Vol. 1 will be re-released on vinyl for the first time since 2012, with a deluxe edition version containing both Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 on high-fidelity, 180g vinyl. Pre-order the album here, and watch “Take These Chains From My Heart” from 1963 here.
This past fall, Ray was honored by the Grand Ole Opry with An Opry Salute to Ray Charles, with performances celebrating the iconic Modern Sounds tracks and his contributions to country music. In addition, Charles was inducted into both the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame, a program on which he performed multiple times, and the DownBeat Jazz Hall of Fame.
“Ray Charles was one of the most important artists in the history of American popular music,” says Concord Records President John Burk, “and his Modern Sounds albums were some of his most impactful works. In addition to massive commercial success, these incredible recordings had a huge social and cultural impact, breaking down long established genre and racial barriers.”
“We are excited about this eventful release, an opportunity for longtime fans to enjoy this music and to introduce new generations,” says Valerie Ervin, President of the Ray Charles Foundation.
Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Vol.1 became an instant classic when it was first released in 1962. The album spawned four chart-topping singles: “Born to Lose,” “Careless Love,” “You Don’t Know Me,” and “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” the latter (and the album itself) being RIAA-certified Gold in only one month.
The success led to the recording of Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Vol. 2. Focusing more on balladry, one side featured performances by the Ray Charles Big Band with the Raelettes, and the other with a string section and the Jack Halloran Singers. Like its predecessor, it was released to both critical and commercial acclaim. In 1999, Vol. 1 was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame for “historical significance,” as was the lead single, “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” in 2001.
Many musicians possess elements of genius, but only one—the great Ray Charles—so completely embodied the term that it was bestowed upon him as a nickname. His staggering achievements over a 58-year career include 17 GRAMMY Awards, induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a Lifetime Achievement and the President’s Merit Award, the Presidential Medal for the Arts, France’s Legion of Honor, the Kennedy Center Honors, a NAACP Image Awards’ “Hall of Fame Award,” and numerous other music Halls of Fame, including those for Jazz and Rhythm & Blues, a testament to his enormous influence.
Charles successfully mastered (and forever changed) the blues, jazz, gospel, rock, pop, and country music landscapes, continually airing his soulful heart. He teamed up with the best of the best in each stylistic genre, including B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Lou Rawls, Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, Stevie Wonder, and countless others. As he describes. “I’m not a country singer. I’m a singer who sings country songs. I’m not a blues singer, but I can sing the blues. I’m not really a crooner, but I can sing love songs. I’m not a specialist, but I’m a pretty good utility man. I can play first base, second base, shortstop. I can catch and maybe even pitch a little.” “Genius” doesn’t begin to describe it.
“When Ray Charles made Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music in 1962, he was operating from a position of power. Two years into his contract with ABC-Paramount, he had already become a fixture in the Top Ten with both his singles and his albums, winning a Grammy for his 1960 single “Georgia on My Mind.” Charles had freedom to do whatever he wanted, and he chose to record interpretations of 12 country songs, drawing almost equally from recent hits and older standards. The sly virtuosity within Charles’ approach was to treat these tunes as a a songbook to be reinvented, not as songs that were tied to their rural roots. Later, Charles explained that he saw little difference between a country tune and a blues song – they draw from the same emotions and musical traditions – but the striking thing about his interpretations on Modern Sounds in Country and Western is that he’s not concentrating on the earthier elements of either genre. He’s fully focused on playing these songs as he’d play any other, grounding them in jazz and soul, then dressing them in arrangements designed to snag a crossover audience. To latter-day generations, those arrangements – thick with strings and backing vocals – may sound slightly schlocky, yet even in 1962 they were a sign of how Charles was as intent on appealing to a mainstream easy listening demographic as he was to his soul and jazz audience. That’s the brilliance of the project: it is thoroughly American pop music, blending seemingly disparate elements in a fashion that seems simultaneously universal and idiosyncratic.
Audiences quickly embraced Modern Sounds in Country Music, which lead Charles and producer Sid Feller to record a sequel immediately, rushing it onto the marketplace of October 1962, just six months after the first hit the stars. Time has eroded the differences between the two LPs, and perhaps inevitably so: the two share the same sensibility and arrangers, with the difference being the second volume separates the big band tunes on one side, with the strings and choirs on the other. It’s a notable distinction, but the main difference between the two albums is that the first volume retains a sense of discovery, whereas the second is made with the confidence that this particular formula works. In either case, the two albums – whether heard individually or as a pair, as they so often are – aren’t so much complements but of a piece, music that changed the course of popular music and remains a testament to the genius of Ray Charles.” (Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AMG)
1. Bye Bye Love 02:12
2. You Don’t Know Me 03:17
3. Half As Much 03:26
4. I Love You So Much It Hurts 03:36
5. Just A Little Lovin’ (Will Go A Long Way) 03:30
6. Born To Lose 03:16
7. Worried Mind 02:56
8. It Makes No Difference Now 03:36
9. You Win Again 03:32
10. Careless Love 04:02
11. I Can’t Stop Loving You 04:17
12. Hey, Good Lookin’ 02:13
13. You Are My Sunshine 03:00
14. No Letter Today 03:02
15. Someday (You’ll Want Me To Want You) 02:41
16. Don’t Tell Me Your Troubles 02:08
17. Midnight 03:18
18. Oh, Lonesome Me 02:11
19. Take These Chains From My Heart 02:57
20. Your Cheatin’ Heart 03:37
21. I’ll Never Stand In Your Way 02:20
22. Making Believe 02:53
23. Teardrops In My Heart 03:03
24. Hang Your Head In Shame 03:16