Picks and Pans Review: The Best of Ray Charles: the Atlantic Years
This terrific collection features the Charles masterworks recorded between 1954 and 1960 with his raucous, rhythmically infectious band, which included saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman, drummer Connie Kay and trombonist Bob Brookmeyer. Charles himself demonstrates that, like Nat King Cole, he is not only a unique singer but has always been an inventive, unfailingly musical piano player too. Though classics like "Georgia on My Mind" and "Hit the Road Jack" are missing—they were recorded when he was with another label—this album is full of riches. Among its 20 tracks are such landmarks as "I've Got a Woman," "Hallelujah I Love Her So," "Just for a Thrill" and "What'd I Say (Part I)." Unlike many recent greatest-hits packages, this one includes no new "supplemental" tracks. But then this quality pop music needs no padding. (Rhino/Atlantic)
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