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How to Start a Ray Charles Music Collection

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Concert film of Ray Charles

Ray Charles, one of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century, had an amazing career that spanned five decades. He was one of the early innovators of soul music, based on rhythm and blues, jazz, gospel and country genres. If your entertainment could more soul, upgrade it with the sounds of the man known by his peers as "Genius" and the "Father of Soul."

Building a Ray Charles Collection:

  1. Start with a greatest hits album: Introduce yourself or a young music lover in your life to this iconic artist with "Ray Charles - Genius! The Ultimate Ray Charles Collection." This collection contains digitally re-mastered versions of 21 original recordings. Released in 2009, it is considered to be one of the best compilations assembled since Mr. Charles' death in 2004.

  2. Follow him through his musical growth: You'll want "Ray Charles - The Genius Sings the Blues" in your collection. This album from 1961 covers Ray Charles' years at Atlantic records and showcases his development as a jazz and rhythm & blues artist.

  3. See how he experimented with different genres: Ray Charles surprised many fans by releasing a country music album in 1962, but "Ray Charles - Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Vols. 1 and 2" topped the Billboard charts for 14 weeks and proved Charles' mastery of country blended with soul.

  4. Watch the performance of a lifetime: A good concert film captures the excitement of a live performance, and jazz fans won't want to miss this performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival. "Ray Charles - Live at Montreux 1997" features Charles in his last appearance at one of the world's great music celebrations.

  5. Give your own concert: Try the songs on your own piano with the "The Ray Charles 80th Anniversary Sheet Music Collection." You'll gain a deeper appreciation of a legendary musician. Released in September 2010 to commemorate what would have been Mr. Charles' 80th birthday, this book of sheet music features music and lyrics for 28 songs, including "Georgia on My Mind" and "Hit the Road Jack."

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