Picks and Pans Review: Thanks for Bringing Love Around Again
Ray Charles is such a national treasure he deserves to have his own state, let alone his own record label. He may be his label's only artist so far, but that just means his talent roster is all wheat, no chaff. Crossover Records' initial release is also Charles's first studio album in six years, and at 71, he is still ineffably soulful, passionate and musical. The CD includes 11 new tunes plus a version of Charles's 1959 hit "What I'd Say" that is so dramatically rearranged—around the funky keyboard bass of Randy Kerber—that it seems to be a new song. While terrific R&B singer Brenda Lee Eager chimes in for a duet and France's Ginie Line adds some vocal gloss to the stately "Ensemble," Charles's inimitably bluesy singing and inventive piano and organ work will keep bringing you around to this disc.
Bottom Line: Charles in charge