In an age where musicians labor for weeks over a single phrase—eventually a tiny part of a multi-track recording—it’s astounding to consider that the original 12 tracks on this album were recorded in two long sessions over two days. And when the artist in question has to learn music and lyrics by memory, and collaborate for the first time with an in-house producer, it’s even more incredible that the results would be so sublime.
As a transitional record, The Genius Hits the Road built upon the success of the landmark album The Genius of Ray Charles (hence the modified title) and was a Top 10 hit, charting for 50 weeks. Having left Atlantic Records when offered a lucrative financial opportunity and creative freedom, Brother Ray immediately paid dividends at his new home, ABC/Dunhill.
Not only would his relationship with that in-house producer (Sid Feller) turn out to be the start of a longtime partnership, but one of the songs cut on the second day would blow Ray Charles’ career wide open…
(continue reading this review at PopMatters)
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