Results for Ray Charles

interviews

Van Hunt

Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Van Hunt grew up in funk-soaked Dayton, Ohio. Today he counts Frank Zappa and Ray Charles - not to mention Bach - among his influences. That musical adventurousness is just one reason Jim and Greg were drawn to his latest album, 2011's What Were You Hoping For? Van dropped by the studio to perform tracks from the record, and he let Jim and Greg in on the story behind his first independent release. Van got his start in the music biz a decade ago producing R&B and hip-hop tracks for the likes of Dionne Farris in Atlanta. When he went solo in 2004, it was on a major label. But the higher ups at Capitol weren't so thrilled when Van shunned the standard R&B format for a freewheeling mix of sounds that recalled the soul and funk of Sly Stone as much as it did the glam of David Bowie. In 2008, they shelved his third record Popular. Now that he's on his own, Van's free to indulge his genre-blending impulses.

Go to episode 344

Booker T. Jones

When Jim and Greg were at SXSW, they were invited to interview soul legend Booker T. Jones in front of a live audience. This week, you'll get to hear some highlights of that interview. Jim and Greg start the interview by asking Booker how he became such a musical prodigy. The multi-instrumentalist, who has played tuba, piano, saxophone, guitar, oboe, and of course, most notably, organ, credits his musical family with steering him on that path. This path took him to Stax Records where he, Steve Cropper, Al Jackson, Jr., and Lewie Steinberg (later replaced by Duck Dunn) formed Booker T. and the MGs. While Booker was still in high school, the group recorded "Green Onions," which went on to become one of their most well-known hits.

Jim asks how Booker feels about being relegated to the role of“side man,”in music history, but the musician explains that he feels nothing but pride about being“best supporting musician.”In fact, Booker explains that being a side man elevated him as a musician and allowed him to do so much more than he would have been able to solo. Some of the people our guest has recorded with over the years include Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Ray Charles, and even Barbra Streisand.

Booker T. and the MG's not only played with an impressive cast in the studio, but on the road as well. Jim and Greg highlight his 1967 European tour with other Stax artists, and ask Booker what everyone must have been on to get that powerful, lighting fast tempos. Booker attributes that kind of energy and enthusiasm to people like Otis Redding and Al Jackson, describing them as“possessed people.”The Monterey International Pop Music Festival followed in the summer of 1967, and Booker describes this experience as one of the most eye-opening of his life. With everyone (including the Hell's Angels) collectively joining in to ensure its success, this concert was an affirmation of the values of peace and love everyone there believed in. The MGs went on to perform with Neil Young and with many artists at the Bob Dylan tribute in 1992 including George Harrison and Eric Clapton, who he dishes on later in the interview.

Performing at Monterey eventually led Booker to leave his steady stream of jobs at Stax and venture out to California. As a solo performer and producer Booker challenged himself with a number of new projects including a collection of standards for his neighbor, Willie Nelson. He also worked in the studio with Stephen Stills, Rita Coolidge, Bill Withers and Neil Young.

Go to episode 72
reviews
Pure Genius: The Complete Atlantic Recordings (1952-1959) [Remastered]Pure Genius: The Complete Atlantic Recordings (1952-1959) available on iTunes

Ray Charles Pure Genius: The Complete Atlantic Recordings (1952-1959)

Ray Charles is another deceased musician who has recently been brought back to life in the media. Last year, Charles was profiled in his own biopic, Ray, and this year his music was featured in a song that was number one for most of 2005Kanye West's "Gold Digger." Pure Genius: The Complete Atlantic Recordings (1952-1959) is a six-disc overview of Charles' early period. Charles was signed to Atlantic Records by Ahmet Ertegun in the 1950s, and according to Greg, these Atlantic recordings came to be what we now know as R&B music. The music, originally produced by Jerry Wexler, will appeal to the soul aficionado, but neither Jim nor Greg can recommend this set as a Buy It for a casual listener. Both say it's a Burn It. The song Greg chooses is Charles' original 1954 performance of "I've Got a Woman," as opposed to Jamie Foxx's rendition you hear on "Gold Digger."

JimGreg
Go to episode 3
HollyHolly available on iTunes

Nick Waterhouse Holly

Neo-soul singer and guitarist Nick Waterhouse made a big impression on Greg during a performance at SXSW in 2012, but unlike a lot of acts that passed through the annual music conference, Waterhouse had staying power. On his second album, Holly, the retro-rivalist deftly channels the likes of Ray Charles and pianist Mose Allison. Jim finds the occasional grittiness of the album appealing, but mostly it's too sterile and formulaic to warrant anything more than a Try It. Greg disagrees, saying Holly nails the snap-and-swing feel of old R&B records while tossing a Raymond Chandler, L.A. noir vibe into the mix. Waterhouse's first album was good, but Greg says Holly is even better: Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 434
lists

Revolver covers

To show the range of influence Revolver has had on the music industry, Jim and Greg commissioned this montage of Beatles covers from this album. Here's a list of the songs you hear:

  • "Taxman" by Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • "Eleanor Rigby" by Ray Charles
  • "I'm Only Sleeping" by Rosanne Cash
  • "Love You To" by Bongwater
  • "Here, There and Everywhere" by Emmylou Harris
  • "Yellow Submarine" by Arthur Fiedler & the Boston Pops
  • "She Said, She Said," by Gov't Mule
  • "Good Day Sunshine," by Jimmy James & the Vagabonds
  • "And Your Bird Can Sing" by Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs
  • "For No One" by Rickie Lee Jones
  • "Doctor Robert" by Bozo Allegro
  • "I Want to Tell You" by Ted Nugent
  • "Got To Get You Into My Life" by Earth, Wind & Fire
  • "Tomorrow Never Knows" by Brian Eno
Go to episode 117

Revolver covers

To show the range of influence Revolver has had on the music industry, Jim and Greg commissioned this montage of covers from The Beatles' album:

  1. "Taxman" by Stevie Ray Vaughan
  2. "Eleanor Rigby" by Ray Charles
  3. "I'm Only Sleeping" by Rosanne Cash
  4. "Love You To" by Bongwater
  5. "Here, There and Everywhere" by Emmylou Harris
  6. "Yellow Submarine" by Arthur Fiedler & the Boston Pops
  7. "She Said, She Said," by Gov't Mule
  8. "Good Day Sunshine," by Jimmy James & the Vagabonds
  9. "And Your Bird Can Sing" by Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs
  10. "For No One" by Rickie Lee Jones
  11. "Doctor Robert" by Bozo Allegro
  12. "I Want to Tell You" by Ted Nugent
  13. "Got To Get You Into My Life" by Earth, Wind & Fire
  14. "Tomorrow Never Knows" by Brian Eno
Go to episode 25
news

Music News

Jim and Greg have resisted talking about American Idol for quite a while, but this week this pop culture phenomenon couldn‘t be ignored. While these critics still don’t care about the musical impact of the show, they can't deny its significance in the industry. An average of 25 million people tuned in each week to see who would be declared the American Idol, commanding advertising rates that are only exceeded by the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards. For the music industry, this means major sales. Past contestants like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Clay Aiken have sold 33 million records, and songs that appear on the show in any form immediately take off on the charts. Labels have taken note, sending aging artists like Rod Stewart, Queen and Barry Manilow, as well as fresher faces like Shakira, Mary J. Blige and Prince, to appear on the show. As much as both our hosts hope that audiences will decide to turn the dial toward something of better musical quality, Greg predicts that hipper acts in need of promotion will soon be calling up Fox. And until then, fans can look forward to much of the same.

Fans who purchased Sony CDs by artists like The Foo Fighters, The Coral, Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra can rest easy. While those CDs may have infected your computer with a virus-like anti-piracy software called MediaMax, a judge has ordered Sony to make up for it. Every customer infected with the software will receive a cash payment of $7.50 and one free album download or three free song downloads. Whoever claims that the record industry doesn'y care about the consumer obviously missed this news.

Rumor has it that Sri Lanka-born, England-based rapper M.I.A. is being denied a visa to come to the United States. M.I.A., or Maya Arulpragasam, has plans to record with producer Timbaland, but may have to postpone them. Whether or not the denial is related to the fact that she is the daughter of a Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger rebel, or the fact that many of her song lyrics are overtly political, is not known. What is known, however, is what a raw deal this is. While M.I.A., who has received masses of critical acclaim and was up for the prestigious Mercury Prize in 2005, will not be gracing Americans with her presence, our own Snoop Dogg has recently been barred from the U.K. Sound Opinions is willing to enter into diplomatic negotiations to work this out.

Go to episode 26

Music News

First up in the news is a discussion of the legacy of R&B singer Ruth Brown. She passed away earlier this week at the age of 78. One of the original divas, Brown helped establish Atlantic Records and the R&B sound as we know it today. In fact, Greg explains that Brown even predates the great Ray Charles. She also won a Tony Award for her part in Black and Blue, and starred as“Motormouth Maybelle”in Hairspray. The singer was an activist in the music industry and pushed Atlantic to start the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, which worked toward royalty reform and distributed millions of dollars directly to musicians in need.

Go to episode 52